Orlok really hates Leigh Gallagher and is masking it under an outpouring of praise…
Not quite cover of the year material, but still good. The logo colour looks a bit off though and seems like a baby has vomited on it.
I can’t decide here if Dredd’s stance is that of a broken man or is just because he just looks more pissed off than usual.
The fucked up city behind him is but a small snapshot of the carnage that has resulted and if this is anything to go by, the Judges will be cleaning up for a long, long time. The good news is that citizen employment should be 100% to make this shit happen.
In the background we have a few cits picking through the rubble for…something. Rats probably.
We also have the appearance of some massive boots and a rare showing of the strap that keeps the shoulder pad in place. That must chafe like a fucker.
Inside, Paedo Tharg has gone the extra mile and allowed a competition to win Lego. Seriously, Tharg? No Bratz giveaways planned?
On a brighter note, Kingdom will be returning with the groan inducing punned title of “Aux Drift”, which is a homage to a homage.
I’m not totally sold on the art yet but I deffo didn’t hate it. In fact, I’d offer a 73% approval rating so that is high for me and Taylor is one to watch, I reckon.
Taylor, who also colours, draws a washed out, almost melted, city. It is a decaying and devastated mess with the exception being the under repair Valentino block which is nicely detailed and sticks out like a person on Jeremy Kyle with more teeth than eyes. There are also some great perspective shots in here, especially the view out from the reddish security area and the final panel as Dredd draws a bead on the punks. His vibrancy of life against the grey backdrop of death is well realised. There are also, of course, still bodies littering the streets and there will be for ages.
I also like his citizenry. Each one is unique in look and dress. I especially liked the one with the pink light tipped conical hat, pink (balding) hair and pink demi-gloves. That is attention to detail and I love that shit.
And, skysurfers are always cool in the strip.
Other plus points include the old school Lawbike with a cool eagle on the fuel tank and a couple more on the ends of the handlebars. I also liked the scanning of the ID on the bike screen. That was pretty nice.
What I don’t like is his Beeny as she seems a bit different from panel to panel. She also has a forehead like Helen Hunt with a very bad case of hydrocephaly. Seriously, you could project IMAX onto that.
On the plus side, her skin tone seems to be more or less stable these days so you take your victories where you get them.
I am also not very keen on the design of the robots. They look almost too weedy compared to the brick shithouse mechs we have seen before.
Apart from that, though…nice.
Scriptwise this is a slow burn and Wagner is certainly very good at that shit.
The brilliantly monikered Onan Starbux (Wagner has a lot to say about the development of coffee shop wankers there) wants to turn a tidy cred profit by buying up Valentino for two bill below the asking price. Rather than do this through legitimate business speculation, negotiation and preferential contracts he sends the expendable Wilson to the viewing during a not at all coincidental attack by some skysurfing scrotes. Wilson receives a smack on the noggin while one of the other viewers is given the long drop. This will hopefully (for Starbux) see the price drop as security cannot be guaranteed.
Unfortunately he has reckoned without Dredd leading a chin first retaliation and I am guessing this is merely the taster for the story that will follow.
Beeny showing up was good and we see that not only does she take to command but that she still has her doubts and isn’t afraid to disobey the Chief Judge as a consequence.
We also have a very interesting use of the word sanitising here as Beeny and her team are conducting a clean-up which involves one of the robots shooting a guy in the face. There must be a great deal of this unpleasantness going on as Judges go block to block and sector to sector to try and claw back what they can. It is intimated that the man is the father of the children (though this is never expressly stated) and they can be salvaged, which makes you wonder about those that cannot. Just how many more citizens are dying daily in the Big Meg and how long can this death rate be maintained without catastrophic repercussions?
So, Titus gets a sort of hand job from his missus when she tries to take a bite out of him. Fortunately she gets the glove and ends up back down the hole where her bitey ways can be avoided.
At this juncture, the neighbour pops across to smugly tell a dazed and confused Titus that his mate Jack went mental when the comet appeared, killed the family and dropped them down the well. None of the neighbours bothered to help because they knew Titus used to be a Leveller and had played a part in the starvation of women and children in Colchester. Ergo, Titus’ family suffer for his crimes (a karmic balance that is later picked up in his attitude towards their present predicament at the Tower). Fortunately this universal law of karma plays out as the neighbour who did fuck all to prevent the deaths of a woman and her children is munched on and disembowelled by them. Payback’s a bitch, eh, fatty?
Of course at this point, Titus has no choice and goes all Lizzie Borden on the wife and kids, sending Annie, Bob and Bridget to zombie heaven. In lots and lots of pieces. Unsurprisingly he wakes screaming from this nightmare and we are back to the present with him steeling himself for the inevitable assault. He imparts a few bon mots to the troops before heading upstairs to do some more killing. Not a lot happens but we do get character depth and an insight into Defoe’s attitude.
I like Titus and thanks to Pat Mills we have a character here, like Savage, who is very much a study in duality.
Savage was a good man turned into a monster by the occupation that cost him his family.
Titus was a sort of monster to begin with being a willing participant in past crimes but is now reformed into a family man. Sadly his Nuremburg defence has repercussions that have cost him his family too.
In that regard we have sympathy for the man, but also a knowledge that he has wrought this destiny himself.
And the art? Everything about this artwork screams love for the craft, especially the third page when it all kicks off.
When reviewing stuff I try to be completely fair about why stuff does and doesn’t work for me and one of the things that does work for me is passion. You can tell that Gallagher is passionate about what he does and that makes his work all the more joyous to look at.
His attention to detail is stunning and it is sometimes the little things that make me raise my usual misanthropic eyebrows and go “holy fuck, that is good”. For example, on page 2 we get a great shot of Titus and the bellend neighbour through the upstairs window panes. Such a simple thing but delivered in a way that a lesser artist would not even think of.
And that last panel of the shit-ton of reeks before the Tower? Stunning.
This story trudges on and is summed up quite nicely by the first words “It’s hopeless”.
Anderson picks up on something the late Calvi said, a connection is made and once again the Cadets go out unsupervised and boss around some citizens, even though they have no right to do so since they are, as one diner points out, “baby judges”.
They then make an arrest of some perps with Cadet (insert name here) using (insert unique power here) before the denouement.
Apparently the meat restaurant “Carnivore” run by Zombini has been serving up human flesh for the diners (Zombini- eating human flesh, subtle). If you go, have the Korean meatballs there as they really are the dog’s owner’s bollocks.
Of course, this also means that despite producing herds of bisoon (“Tarantula”- Judge Dredd Annual 1985) in the Cursed Earth for fuck knows how long real meat is hard to come by in the Big Meg.
So, not liking this at all and Carlos seems a bit wasted on it if I am honest. I want to see his work on something I enjoy reading.
The script seems almost lazy in places. For example, Hauser stays behind with the perp they arrest outside so she can surprise him with her invisibility. Why? There was no reason for this other than to just entrap him into an attempted escape (for story padding). What should have happened is that he should have been cuffed to a nearby holding post with Hauser going inside to help out. But no, the script demanded another show of her powers.
Vin uses his ability to smash Zombini in the face with a door. Again…seems lazy and contrived.
By now, you probably know my view on this strip and if I wasn’t doing this review I would not read it. It just adds no value for me and is a tale well past its best.
This strip was basically an extended homage to the cool hitman duo from Pulp Fiction and debuted in 1996, some 2 years after the film. It drew a knowing wink at the time but soon became formulaic and eventually reached a natural conclusion. There it should have ended and gone out with some dignity. For reasons best known to Zombie Jesus and Dan Abnett’s accountant it didn’t.
Last week saw a better effort, but without wishing to insult Abnett, it was merely a section of the trough that wasn’t quite as low as the rest. I have always thought of Dan Abnett as the Bobby DeNiro of the Prog. Again, that is not an insult as he will produce amazing gems like Insurrection/Ronin from time to time but you can’t but help but remember him for Sinister Dexter/Little Fockers and wonder where it all went wrong. I know the guy is talented and I know I like his work when he is on form (his 40k stuff is amazingly good and you can tell his heart is really in it) but I simply cannot become an apologist for that which I don’t enjoy. I always hope to see another classic in the works but just know he is waiting for the call from Tharg/Ben Stiller to trot out more stuff that I am going to avoid or groan at. He is far better than this, quite frankly and I want to see him do something with real impact again.
So where do we stand on this strip this week? Well, Sinister is still talking to himself/the reader/the camera as a plot explanation device and not as genuine mental illness. I think the latter would make a better story as Sinister descends into hallucinations, paranoid delusions and outright cray cray. Abnett could explore brave and virgin territory here as Sinister’s blood soaked and conscience devoid past finally catches up with him and he goes into full breakdown mode, including a thirty three issue arc where he becomes convinced he has been hopping into other dimensions, fighting doppelgangers and trying to stop a race of evangelical alien lizard people living inside his sock drawer from taking over the world. We could almost feel sympathy for the odious little cuntbubble as the enormity of the murders he has committed catch up with him now that he has time to think on it and he tries in vain to burn all his socks to stop the voices in his brainpan. However, this is not to be.
There are some nice moments (“the Greasy Pole”, “flavoured and/or textured condoms”) but Sinister having to conduct a number of hits to earn a free passage was called by me last week. I am a card carrying imbecile so if I can spot that plot a week off then it must be obvious and pedestrian.
This brings in two main problems. Firstly, he will not by lying low so will soon become visible to the Marshals unless the script decides that he mustn’t be caught in spite of all logic. Secondly, we are back to the tired old routine with this story and the only difference is that Sinister is conducting hits in a different city.
If Dexter appears in the list of hit targets I am never reading this strip again, reviews or not.
Speaking of Dexter, I wonder how he is faring without that nimrod at his side. He is probably getting balls deep every night and relishes being away from the idiot.
The art is still great to look at though again totally incongruous for Sinister Dexter. The strip club is populated with some fine and curvy pieces of ass, thigh and breast but does look like Regan and Carter are going to bust in at any moment and seek out their next case of gonorrhoea. It is by far the most 1970s club I have ever seen. Some nice expressions going on, though.
FUTURE SHOCKS: TIME IS THE ONLY ENEMY:
Quite a bit meta this one. The self-referentials were turned up to 11 and there were some nice nods to the writer’s prolific creativity when it comes to sci-fi.
What I didn’t get is that if this story has already been written in 2000ad, how the aliens didn’t spot it, unless it was written so they would conquer (rather than be thwarted) in which case Baillie is the biggest traitor to his race since that little fucknut Elliot in E.T. let the alien shitdog escape and return to bum rape hillbillies in the name of science. I’ve played X-Com and I know what they are like.
The story gets you thinking anyway.
Loved the art by Graham Neil Reid and I spotted the ubiquitous dragon straight off and wondered what the shit was going on with it, so it was quite cleverly underplayed.
There was a nice use of the Hewligan’s Haircut t-shirt and it is interesting to see that the Megazine had set photos from Dredd 2 even though in our universe Tharg has pessimistically put the kybosh on it (if the Damage Reports are anything to go by).
The comics themselves even looked realistic, which is a nice touch and the aliens had a very Outer Limits feel to them which I really liked.
Dredd and Defoe were neck and neck again but this week Defoe romps home.