Bringing up the rear (fnarr) here is Orlok with his review of 1879.
For the briefest second I thought this was the return of Mick Austin. He was fond of Dreddheads with a zany background. Anyway, it turns out to be by Phil Winslade and though it is functional in its old-school vibe, it really does nothing for me. The colour and shade are nice but the background sucks monkey balls. I just didn’t feel the love, but suspect that is just me rather than him.
The gun’s pretty cool and I like the eagle logo above the grip.
Speaking of logos, the iconic one is partially covered here. What is the fucking point of having two logos is you are constantly going to cover one? Just keep one of the fuckers, use the extra space up intelligently and preserve your brand. That’s marketing 101.
Inside, Paedo Tharg grins as Max Clifford is sent down.
Dredd investigates a mass killing but a hunch tells him something isn’t quite right.
The art by McCrea is lovely stuff and he expands on the skills utilised fully in the recent IDW series to bring a unique and intelligent layout to us (the semi overhead of Presley trudging through the snow, the view of him through the holosign, the warped panel as seen through the fishtank, etc). I loved the reflection of the city in Dredd’s visor. I never get tired of that shot and it is amazing when an artist puts their interpretation forward and carries it off.
The splash of the interior was magnificent, not least for a huge fucking gorilla playing the drums. This splash has some great perspective work as we see the throng of writhing bodies from the door to the mosh pit. All the more perfect for Presley’s murder spree.
The expressions are well done, especially the blankness about Presley’s expression. This is a kid detached from all human compassion in carrying out his slaughter and righting perceived wrongs, even when he finally gets the recognition he craved.
There was a very smart fourth panel on page 3. Here we see the gun, blazing away with seemingly nothing behind it. It is almost as if all humanity has been removed from the weapon use and it doesn’t matter who is pulling the trigger. The gun is the problem, not the person using it.
That’s also a powerful panel of Presley being put down too. No warning, no mercy.
My one criticism is that Dredd’s Lawgiver does not look like a Lawgiver. I could forgive that in the IDW stuff, but not here.
As for the subject matter. I’m sure that with such a sensitive issue, there will be questions from people who think this should not be in the comic. That’s weird. Toothy (and Dredd in particular) has always been about satire and holding a mirror up to society and it has been nothing if not brave and forthright in this regard. Mass shootings are sadly a part of the society in which we live, and though the causes and enablers are too numerous to go into here, I have always felt that like in humour, no subject is untouchable. If it works and makes a point that makes you think, it is permissible and you deal with the justification later. Perhaps Wagner has a point to make here about ready access to weaponry capable of mass slaughter and the processes that lead to such horrors. If so, this was intelligently done.
The perp here was killed without mercy and the impacts on his family and the families of the 48 victims was shown. The pain carries on in these cases and does not end when the last shot is fired.
The recent tragic stabbing of a teacher in Leeds means the timing could not have been better (for want of a more sensitive word) as this horror is fresh in the head.
We’re also left with just enough of a police procedural as Dredd wonders why Presley was a day early with his spree. He’s seen enough of these in his time to know something isn’t right with this one. That is in itself a frightening thought and a warning to what we could become as a society.
We flashback to Carcer losing his people to the Hurde and then in the present he is bested by Caul who uses him to track down his quarry. Ramona makes her power play for the Hurde tech.
The art is improved slightly once again but Richardson needs to have a chat with McCrea about panel layouts as these are again predictably bland. I find it quite…stilted.
I did really like the red wash at the start for the red alert and it was refreshing to see the two hunters have been fossilised in disco poses from 1978.
The crocodile tears from Ramona were really weird in that they just appear and vanish. You don’t get any sense of how she put them on at all. It just seems like a step too far for the mesh of art and script since we don’t know anything about her emotional connection to Arlo and there was no lead into her “getting emotional” through anything in the script.
Also, convenience strides into the plot and takes over from here. Ramona just so happens to have a fortress where everyone will be protected, she also just so happens to have a person who can dress like Caul and off a rival, Carcer just so happens to have Wolverine’s healing ability, Caul just so happens to be able to use a spider bug which also just so happens to be able to cling to the skin of a ship in space while he does a Boba Fett.
The use of “close your eyes…” is heard again so we are once more getting a connection between Caul and Carcer.
Ramona’s briefing of the Jedi Council (lucky they weren’t all asleep or having a shit) before inviting them to her impregnable facility (built for just such a crisis) to make a stand together was just dreadful. However it did seem that there was a vote taken on whether they should have rescued Caul, Jess and Nameless Dude when the Hurde turned up. They went with the majority decision and fucked off so have to live with the consequences, just like those people who voted Lib Dem.
Of course, Ramona has a plan to use Caul to decrypt the Hurde tech. Isn’t it really lucky he showed up?
It’s a dumb as fuck 80s story isn’t it? You ask too many questions and it makes no sense so switch off your brain and enjoy it while it lasts.
I’ll read it but I’m not really arsed if it is there or not.
Steven Ross nailed this in the podcast review in that we’ll all struggle to remember it in two years. Fuck, I read it two hours ago and already it is slipping away.
Sinead gets all fishy so Slaine has to dump her in the drink before she stinks the place up. Stumbling across her map he decides it is time to get his chopper wet.
Mills seems to be taking a back seat here and letting the art take over the storytelling and that is no bad thing, cos it’s remarkable. Slaine finally gets a reason to kick off and it is well delivered for once.
At the end of this we’re left with a nice bit of Mill script as Slaine knows he is headed for the Monadh and states “I will satisfy my animosity there…”
Though I have a slight niggle that the double splash is getting a bit overused, the art here is still stunning. Little touches here and there abound (the panel of Slaine angrily kicking at the surf, the red eyes of the bullock and eight (count em!) nipples on the scary mermaids) but the strength of the composition and expressions are the real highlight. I’ve not been overly fond of his work on other projects but this is a case of the right artist telling the right story. That changes everything, quite frankly.
Ends. Thank Xenu.
The sentries get picked off and Atalia suddenly remembers what her father once told her about cunning prey. Grigoru gets very chatty for a monster.
So, this wraps up very quickly and after about a half dozen panels, Grigoru lies dead in a pool of his own cranial fluids. As a parting gesture he reveals that Atalia too has the taint and may warp the fuck out at any point.
I was puzzled by a few things.
First, Grigoru leaps to the atmocraft and knocks out the brick shithouse (naturally) and then gives a speech of how he wanted to kill his children and spare them from this blight. Ok, so why wasn’t he doing that very important thing? Why leap to the craft unless he has seen Rennie’s script and knows exactly how it ends?
Second, Heize puts a round in the Strigoi, so presumably could have done this at any time it was visible. In that case, why all the piss-balling about and the chatting about old times?
Third, a big show was made last week of the Filth Columnist saying she was ready with her potions and was prepared to pull a Magda Goebbels on the kids. And this week her contribution was…zilch. In fact, her contribution to the entire story has been to look moody and emo.
After a promising start, this has degenerated into a checklist of tropes and that is sad to see. The next tales will presumably be a monster of the week to hunt down some of whom may be (gasp) former comrades. If so, it risks being another echo of the “Hit” series that spelled the end for Rogue Trooper.
Rennie can do far better than this and with the heavy line about battles, regiments and taints this feels like a rejected and retooled 40K tale from his brief stint with Games Workshop.
The art is the one saving grace here, with the reds and oranges of the atmocraft interior contrasting beautifully with the stark grey/black of the night sky.
The panel of Atalia tearfully executing her former lover is brilliant.
In short, Coleby has saved this story from being a skipped tale.
Dredd was a good old fashioned grim tale from the Big Meg, where there are no real happy endings.