Back with another review, here is Jacqusie with his take on prog 1879
COVER: Dredd; his arm, gun and scowl. A wonderful retro piece from Phil Winslade that doesn’t need to be more than it both suggests and represents. The colours are striking and I love the way Dredds black uniform is shaded from the purple background, with the royal blue highlights shining through. It reminds me of Mick Austins cover, way back in 1989 on prog 629, again just Dredd; his arm, gun and scowl. I’ll not spoil the mood by mentioning the logo…
A very warm welcome back to John McCrea, how nice to see him back in the prog and under the pen of John Wagner too. Shooters night, we read, is a tale of another dispiriting and frequent aspect of life in MC1, all in all just another typical hate filled screw ball of a Juve with a gun, who never gets invited to the party.
I initially looked for clues to why Dredd has an itchy arse in this case, and promptly gave up to just enjoy it, as per the cover, for what it is. Sometimes to appreciate a piece of work, it doesn’t need analysing to bits. The simple structures in this, makes for an appreciation of both the subtle and the blatant, savouring such gems as the gorilla on the drums and the lovely use of the tropical fish tanks, until you remember you are witnessing a massacre.
2000AD has never shyed away from such topics as this, even when juxtaposed sadly, with real life occurrences and it makes you feel uncomfortable to be enjoying this so. I don’t often read strips more than once these days, but this one deserved more than a once over, as did the last Wagner story, such is my gratitude to the quality on offer here.
From the sublime to the mundane. Something about this strip from the start smacked of mediocre, with the two-dimensional characterisation and static pacing, the inertia of the story is conspicuously all too clear. There is an obvious back story running alongside the main ‘action’ (I use the term loosely) which I can’t help but feel would have been better fleshed out in a prequel, rather than given such intermittent air time which helps it’s cause none.
The exchange between Ramona Farson and the rest of Caul’s targets, is overtly banal. True, it leads to plot threads which open up the story for further progression, but rather than searching for a structured critique, I really don’t give a rats arse about this story, where we have been and where it is heading.
I’m hoping this is just a one off pile of dog poo, unwittingly stepped in, that can be wiped off me shitty shoes in the lush, green grass of faded memories.
“She’s not annoying much is she?” said the buffalo-type thing with a knowing look. I’ve worked with people like her, all mouth and err… no legs. That’s me talking now, not the buffalo, although you have to love his helmet and he does get a couple of cameos for a chance to fart in the general direction of the ratty-arsed bint. In fact, by the look of Slaines face on page 3, I wouldn’t bet against the beast unleashing his revolt in all it’s foul glory. Stewed tussocks, broiled hedgerow, gaseous grasses, these words are pleasing to me.
Anyway back to the story. Davis’ glorious art does the job of moving things on, with the characters speech pretty redundant in this episode, such is the beautifully painted storytelling. Here we witness Sinead having a rather large hormonal, before being launched to the cool looking vampire sirens that drag the whiny cow down, presumably to the under water city of Lesbian Vampire Sirens. Get the handy andy’s ready lads.
More importantly however, hows-about about a spin off for the flatulent Buffalo-type thing? I like his style.
I’m not going into this. I don’t feel the need, to narrate on the shared experience, of a ball gag being forced into ones mouth, coupled with a rather large, sharp stabbing pain in the rectum, with more than a little jiggery if not a little pokery… fire in yer hole indeed…
I must admit that I felt a sense of anticlimactic unease as I read this. That is not to say that the finale was spurious or found wanting, far from it. Moreover I was enjoying Jaegir as a promising new character that drew me into her world and I didn’t want it over too soon. As has already been commented on, it’s hard not to compare the plot with that of Outlier, with a similar hunter/hunted premise, interspersed with flashback scenes.
Yet the two are poles apart in their ability to engage and take account of in equal measure. Simon Coleby’s panels are filled to the brim with absorbing nuances and a simple beauty. The huge moon which appears to back-light the mountains and the forest, becomes the light source for the midway action, before the morning-glow of Grigori’s execution. For this, my cap is doffed in respect at Mr O’Grady. In an almost gestalt way, there is an obvious synergy between these two and Rennie, as the latter punches out a tightly packed pulp-horror story with the ubiquitous love interest to perceive the ‘imaginary’ circle as it were.
Such was the disparity between this narrative, it’s characters and setting and that of Nu Earth, at times I completely forgot the ‘Nort-centric’ nature of the strip, which to me can only mean that I was engrossed enough neither to care nor worry what else was occurring or how it would all wrap up.
You won’t then be surprised, that I am delighted to see that Atalia Jaegir will be returning in June.
Jaegir, what else?