Fresh from seeing Garbage (so more pleasant than usual) here is Orlok…
Another eye-catching piece with the overhead angle being almost unique and allowing for a surreal nice shot of the fucked up city. I know little of the artist except what I read inside the cover but I can’t say I immediately take to the style. Dredd’s forearm seems disproportionately long and his torso seems massive compared to the rest of him (though this could be the angle). The colours are fantastic though and it is just a pity the logo has been obscured once again.
Inside the prog Begging Tharg asks for forgiveness for offering us a chance to win Resident Evil: Retribution, an entry in the movie adapted video game franchise so lame that even Uwe Boll refuses to take its call.
The Damage Report gives the idea of a Dredd sequel another shoeing but insultingly plays down the “Dredd is Gay” debacle even though they were the ones who started the fucking thing by releasing the image to the media with the intentions of generating publicity.
Joe, what the fuck is going on with your face?
I’ll start on the art as Herren is a new one on me. The colours are beautiful in this, with particular standouts being page 2 panels 4-6. Herren pulls a unique gun blur on page 4 panel 3 as Dredd swings his Lawgiver into action. I’ve never seen that feathered edge effect used before so it caught my eye. My big issue is with Dredd’s mouth and the fact that he seems to have a massive torso and little legs in some panels. I was just reminded of this…
Aside from that this wasn’t a bad effort from a first timer on the strip (I have seen worse debuts) and I’d like to see him have another shot as he definitely has talent.
The script is reasonable enough though a couple of things do remain a puzzle/point of contestation.
Firstly, we have the gamble that Dredd thinks the fall will kill Salas milliseconds before him, releasing him from the nightmare. Now if both bodies are falling at the same time while making contact with the floor of the lift they would both succumb to sudden deceleration at the instant of impact with their brains being smashed against their skulls and internal organs likewise rupturing on bone. What affects one affects all regardless of how high up they are in the lift or if Dredd had his boot on Salas’s head. Also, even if this were not the case, in that millisecond, Dredd could sustain all sorts of crush injuries and we know that injuries picked up there cross over to the real world (Dredd’s bloody nose for example).
So, that doesn’t really work for me and I don’t see why Dredd didn’t just shoot Salas in the face once he knew that Salas was under the control of the dead and powerless to resist their string pulling.
Second, we again have the point hammered home that Chaos Day is Dredd’s fault which really it isn’t. Borsenko is squarely to blame for that one. Yeah, yeah, you can argue that Dredd nuked East Meg One but only after that city first invaded (using Block Mania to weaken the population) and when the throat of the Big Meg was beneath the jackboot of the Sovs. And you can also argue that plans had been drawn up for taking out the Sov threat beforehand which is what allegedly prompted East Meg One to act first and send the naughty Mr Orlok (no relation) in to do his thing. However, Bulgarin and co had already tried it on by nuking Sector 403 so really, they started the fight at every turn and Dredd just finished it in the only way open to him. So, because of this and the fact that Dredd has saved the city countless times over (Necropolis, Judgement Day, numerous Dark Judge shenanigans) you’d think the Judges and people would be a bit more grateful for actually having a city left at all.
That said I can understand that decision to kill nearly half a billion people having ongoing repercussions for Dredd apart from any internal angst. It has been played offhand in the past (see Regime Change) so maybe this does need to change.
Right, so the sniper (who was in the blockhouse) somehow escaped when the blockhouse was stormed and managed to set himself up somewhere else. How/when did that happen? Wasn’t the place essentially being watched by Bill and his compatriots the whole time? Mind you they do seem like a bunch of incompetents so anything is possible. This of course leads to the groan inducing “getting me out of my pram” dialogue.
As predicted the flaw in the Hammersteins comes home to roost so if an idiot like me can spot this in the development stage then I really don’t know what sort of R&D people Quartz has at his disposal. Presumably they don’t possess much more than a brainstem and are probably recruited from the same gene pool as Savage’s redshirts/bullet magnets. That nuclear hand grenade can only be weeks away from production.
How did the Hammersteins end up in Virginia Water though? I know they were coming up the M4 but that is a bit of a detour. Wouldn’t they have just levelled Slough before moving into West London and securing Heathrow? And what about the rest of the Hammersteins? Have they too stumbled onto high value property and had the “Kirstie Allsopp Directive” take over?
I’m also not sure why they surrender. If they can’t destroy a target and they are programmed to never retreat won’t they just find another target that they can destroy? Honestly the fucking Tin Man and C-3PO would make better front line troops than these bozos.
We also get the nice line or two that the Yanks won’t have a lefty running the country and that in the eyes of Savage Uncle Sam is just another invader who sees Britain as an aircraft carrier. Welcome to the 51st state, bitches.
I’ll save my biggest ire for Rusty though. Coming from a family home where domestic brutality was handed over in regular doses, I am dead against violence towards women. However in the case of Rusty, I’d willingly make an exception and hastily arrange her kidnapping and brutal beating with golf clubs.
I hated her with all the intensity I can muster and maybe that was the idea. Maybe Pat wanted to paint her as an leftist, spouse abusing dimwit. In which case, score one for the Millster.
Anyway she and her cohorts automatically assume that Savage will betray them (for some reason) and promise retribution if they get a sniff of this/imagine this to be the case. You can see where this is going.
Artwise this is still brilliant and it was nice to see Dirty Frank in the crowd on page 1 and a superb shot of the T-90s at the end. Oh, and Mek Quake is always good value.
Extra points for the replication of the badges on the hat of the annoying bitch.
AMPNEY CRUCIS INVESTIGATES:
Some big revelations this episode. We get the first big clue that we are in Stickleback’s world when a Prince lookalike reveals his dual heritage.
It turns out that Calliope is working for this individual and he seems to know an awful lot of secrets suggesting that he may be the third party that Ampers hints at.
The assassination of the Martian was all very out in the open indicating that it was definitely a public show to bring attention to the Babbagists and in turn have the Government move against them. The captured Electric Dead is then booby trapped to take out Gog and Magog leaving the Government blind to the future and dead set against the Babbagist threat. Though this third player remains a mystery to Ampers it seems that Stickleback Jr is the prime candidate hence his phone call with Calliope at the time the Babbagist attacked.
The art is again on the up for me with the view of opium dens of Limehouse being a particular highlight. The sight of a dishevelled, bruised and burned Ampney meeting the PM is quite cool too. Almost comedic, in fact. I hope this is from the explosion at Bletchley and not because he and Cromwell got into some “rough stuff” again.
My one issue is the blackface on the top of page 3. The suit is visible but not the face so it makes it look like someone has got out the burned cork and is attempting to sing “Old Man River” before they disappear under a hail of shoes.
THE RED SEAS:
I’d rather be stuck in a lift playing an Enya song on a loop for a solid eight hours.
Again this just fails to ignite. All the components are more or less there but this just isn’t doing it for me. Maybe it is because it is taking so long to get anywhere and I am having trouble seeing a point to the story which has more relevance or “oomph” than the story it retcons. There is cheeky talk of a “final solution” to the mutant problem in this too.
So, the mutants bitch and grumble for a bit about giving Alpha up, in spite of the fact that he exposed their plight, saved their lives and is Johnny Fucking Alpha. The one with bird head is pissing and moaning about some “think of the children” cobblers so Johnny should have spear tackled him and rained blows down on his beak until he saw sense. But, it seems this was not required as three minutes later, after a speech from a passing biker, they are all (beakface included) chanting Johnny’s name like he is the second coming. Which of course he is.
That’s just really bad and cheesy writing.
We get a bit of racism on both sides here with the “you norms are all the same” and the reactions of the viewers to the confession of Sir Pelham. Sterilising mutants is a bit much but keeping them in ghettos is absolutely fine. Yep, got it.
There is some astonishing good luck/contrivance with the reporter being discovered and able to transmit out uncensored. Alpha uses this to good effect to not only broadcast the confession but to also use media blackmail to ensure safe passage for the non-combatants. Alpha’s warning is stark and somewhat extreme saying there will be no reparations for what has been done. So what does he want? Every norm dead? How are they “going to pay” for what has transpired? Not all mutants have been sterilised and not all norms are responsible for the act so this seems disproportionate.
Unlike Robert Wagner, Johnny is surprisingly open about the murder he committed and though this has been done as an execution it is still suspect and divisive if the Government’s coercion line is believed.
The Government response is quick and smacks entirely of a delaying tactic but it surprises me that the PM knows that Alpha was buried underground for a decade. Wasn’t the “official line” that he died in the alt dimension and somehow returned and that only a handful of his mates know what truly (cough-cough) went down? There is no sign of the voice in Alpha’s head this week so it comes and goes only when the story needs it.
Artwise this is really good shit. The stark change in the last two panels as it all kicks off again is great stuff. Carlos does firefights really, really well.
The only downside, as one of my learned fellow reviewers has already pointed out, is that the first panel on page 4 looks a bit off. I was out in the Pride Parade in Auckland last week and there were gay men dressed in similar bodysuits to this (even down to the codpiece) carrying inflatable penises. In this panel, with his hand camply resting on his hip, Alpha looks very much the gay man simulating chugging on his ex-partner’s happy stick.
Ampney Crucis is really good at the moment.