Last up this week, Orlok whose opinion on Simping Detective has surprised me. Not that I disagree, I just thought I was on my own on this one.
As always a big thanks to this weeks reviewers and if anyone else fancies having a shot then by all means give us a shout. Same for if anyone wants to do a retro review of an older issue.
For some reason I never ever considered Jack Point as having Joker hair.
Nice bit of framing in this one that has a very Noirish appeal with Jack facing the reader as if to either offer a shot of one thing or another. It is always a joy to see Cliff Robinson’s art in the prog, and ably supported here by the superb Dylan Teague he pulls off a good though not outstanding cover.
A quality glow from the lamp, good detail on the old school shooter and nice use of the smoke are all plus points.
There is even a tiny hint of the city behind the glass at the back with a Big Meg take on light coming in through some film noir blinds.
Inside the cover Zombie Tharg does his best to look like Betty White and we are promised the return of the great Dandridge. There are some stories that are meant to be in Toothy. Dandridge is one of them.
Year ago I used to pick up White Dwarf every so often and the strip in that called Travellers (based loosely on the RPG) was drawn by Mark Harrison. At first I thought the art was scrappy and then one day the penny dropped and I saw it for what it was. I finally saw the density of it with panels that had more going on that you get at first glance. And that is the beauty of Mark Harrison’s work. You look at it again and again for the extra detail, from expressions to sound effects to background characters.
He draws a very Blade Runner city and drops in some beautifully rendered CGI backgrounds. The first page features a truly superb mirror that gives you an honest opinion and a nice nod to Mr Dick’s We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. Nice use of the wayward Angela actually running off the last panel too.
That is a stupendous harderthanhardhat on page 2, and that first panel of page 3….fucking gorgeous. As is the third panel which apart from the light could be lifted straight out of the city sprawl of Blade Runner.
The i-saw on page 4 was utterly brilliant and the switch from a brutal mugging to execution of scrotes was deftly handled.
The last page has some truly inspired use of holograms for the Judge cordon and the evidence markers.
My only artistic quibble is Joe himself who doesn’t look quite like the craggy old bastard we have come to expect and the Cadet is wearing a Rookie uniform (Street Judge gear and white helmet).
Storywise, we open with Erik dreaming of smashing fuck out of a Judge in what could be a flashback (note the old school Lawgiver) and then waking to get on with his mundane life. Apparently a head injury has rendered his sleeper status null and void and now another bash has re-activated him.
We have gone down the rogue sleeper agent/construction worker route before with a malfunctioning badass android in Our Man In Hondo but hopefully there will be divergence from that plot. It is probably another nod to the Phillip K. Dick story as Total Recall had Doug Quaid as a construction worker who was a sleeper.
It is a quibble that Dredd can deduce this is the work of a rogue agent of Orlok (no relation) level simply by looking at some smashed up creeps and cameras. It could easily have been a highly trained member of the Space Corps (Nate Slaughterhouse), or a rogue Judge (Manners) or a vigilante dispensing justice and covering their tracks. Unlike Grey Area, this will move the story on apace, though, so we won’t face two weeks of standing around doing nothing.
It remains to be seen what city this agent is from. Is it one of the Sovs who missed Day of Chaos because of the injury? Or is another city behind this?
All in all, loved this.
So, we get a change of pace and a monk getting a peek down Wren’s top on page 1 before we are dropped into the truly head wrecking nature of the Brass Sun solar system for the first time.
Free of the Orthodoxy’s suppression of telescopes and lenses, Wren gets to see the orrery in all its glory. It seems odd that the supporting spars of other worlds, especially the broken moon, cannot be seen from the Cog using the naked eye but I’ll grant that for the sheer amazement.
Who the fuck is that at the end, though? I’d be shitting myself if that rocked up unannounced.
Artwise? Nice bruising on Wren’s arm from her injuries, superb use of colour, perspective and expressions and that is a nice robot body. It isn’t perfect but it is bloody good.
I had every intention of trying to be nice about this.
The art is superb stuff again and in particular I liked the “expressions” on the robots as they came under attack. There are subtle differences between the metal faces of the ABCs and Langley is able to build on this to convey some measure of surprise. There is also a nice “oh, shit…” look on that soldier’s face. A face that shortly has the jaw smashed off it in spectacular style.
I like the look of Howard Quartz too, even down to his codpiece and the word “eccentric” doesn’t even come close to describing that suit.
The last panel of the “immobilised” ABCs at the monument is excellent. The best thing is the slightly out of focus backgrounds to give perspective within the B&W artwork..
The sticking point is the dialogue which is painful. Has nobody got the balls to tell Pat Mills that this shit doesn’t work anymore and makes his powerful storytelling a joke? I have no problem with him imparting his political or religious arguments. In fact, I applaud him for having the bravery and commitment to doing so. It is just that it is done so clunkily that it belittles the message he is trying to send.
So what goes wrong? Well…
1. Hammerstein gives a running commentary of the weapons deployed against the robots (though the grenade seems a bit of a waste as the blast area is about 12 inches).
2. The robots have a massive conversation about military ethics in the middle of a firefight (that should have taken seconds to be over).
3. The robots about to be demobbed now suddenly believe Hammerstein instead of carrying on with the opinion that he is a traitor and smashing him into junk.
4. One of the robots that is about to be retired apparently knows about an escape route to the Underground Railroad. Apart from the convenience issue, how would a loyal robot even entertain such info as it is the work of traitors and liars?
5. Hammerstein has thrusters. Couldn’t he have used these to slow or control his landing?
6. The UN Secretary General is seeing the plan go wrong. How are they aware of Hammerstein’s every movement?
In summary, not good at all.
I really don’t care about this strip. It bores the living piss out of me.
The one dimensional Janzen is dead, having bled out in the Ambassador’s quarters and Ben Affleck is being questioned about the incident as well as “Daredevil”, “Armageddon” and “Gigli”. Please let them hang him.
I found it odd that Uuveth got so physical and when he had Affleck cold he just decided to stop and call for transport, conveniently giving Mr Jennifer Garner the chance to grab his weapon. He had mortally wounded one ETC officer at that point so killing or maiming another made no difference. It made no sense for him to stop.
Stupid story logic aside, that wasn’t a self-defence kill and so Ben is either lying because..
A- He got Janzen killed and thought the Ambassador might get away with it (which is what we see) or
B- He really is a xenophobe and this infiltration of the xeno-fascists has been an intricate double bluff from day one. In this scenario, Affleck engineered this whole thing by winding up the Ambassador (or even framing him which is a stretch) and when he and Janzen went over there he bopped Janzen on the noggin, shot Uuveth in the face, smashed the place up a bit and then opened Janzen’s guts. He then made up his self-defence bullshit before the dudes taking the gardener away rushed back in. The grand plan? Close Earth up to the aliens by causing a diplomatic incident. It’s the Nick Griffin way.
Knowing Abnett he will tread the safe ground of option A, though.
The dialogue doesn’t flow very naturally and it sounds (for want of a better word) scripted. The “Arrest me” line worked far better when it was used in The Untouchables where a reluctant Eliot Ness hauls Frank Nitti to the roof, knowing full well that his connections will see him go free.
The story ends with a sense of uncertainty that things are not going to go well in future. We are no closer to understanding Uuveth’s motivations for the double homicide either which makes this sloppy.
Like ABC Warriors before it, the art is the best thing about this by a long way.
The Simping Detective
I don’t like The Simping Detective. It is like the Kardashians in that it is a one off joke concept that has been thought up over a drunken lunch, taken on a life of its own and gone on far too long.
The whole fit with the Big Meg does not work in the way that Low Life does. Sure, an undercover Judge can smoke and drink to get into character but the whole idea of an Undercover officer posing as a detective with a fucking Raptaur in tow is just shockingly shite and the Department would have shut that sown in seconds. The whole thing has just been a procession of unbelievable concepts shoehorned into the Big Meg setting to make it printable and the over reliance on bad puns (Miss Anne Thrope, etc) has been done to the point of insult.
As Spurrier might himself say…Point. As in “you have laboured the fucking…”
Spurrier is a good writer and this just isn’t anywhere near his best.
This wasn’t a bad installment of the strip but as a friend of mine recently said, “Sometimes a kick in the balls wears off quicker than usual. That doesn’t make the experience pleasurable or desirable”.
The switch in artist has worked brilliantly (Sorry Frazer) and Coleby is a great choice to carry this off. There are some nice uses of colour (gold for the badge, red for the claret and blue for the secretions of Cliq) here and the smiley face on the Wally Squad letter was cool.
The Gross Alien Teats (Incorp Tentackle Girl) was pretty funny as was the cover of Sleuthers Digest which featured a re-rendered still from Out Of The Past (that’s Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer I think) on the front.
Next week though we’ll have this and Dirty Frank in the same prog which seems excessive to me.
Dredd. Decent concept and superb art.