Finally getting his mitts on a hardcopy of Toothy to read on the toilet, here’s Orlok with his take on the Free Comic Book Day edition…
So, I went to my local comic shop (Heroes For Sale in Grey Lynn) and queued outside with the requisite amount of Jedi, kids in Iron Man jim jams and a man dressed as a superhero unknown to me. As I puzzled over his multi-coloured and gender bending outfit it was pointed out by a more erudite member of the queue that he was in fact a transvestite from the nearby gay district who had been breakfasting after a Friday night on the tiles and had wandered over to see if we were queuing for anything of note. With the store offering no freebies such as having his cock and balls sheared off and replaced by a Vinyl Pop Darryl Dixon he turned tail and returned from whence he came.
Anyway, the doors open and being late to the party the 40 or so people ahead of me steamed in, making for the goodies. I waited my turn patiently, scanning the piles of comics for the other freebie I would be taking away and giving to an impressionable child. As I kept one beady eye on the Toothy pile the number steadfastly remained the same. Internally regarding my fellows as cretins, I scooped up my Toothy, snatched a Guardians of the Galaxy from the grubby paw of an under ten and made for the exit. Apparently there were still some 2000ads left at the close of the day. I think this is bad.
But, I got mine, so fuck ‘em.
Ah, the old Spiderman homage.
Flint pulls off another tour de force here with a gorgeous city and sky as a scantily clad Dredd bins his bloodied regs and walks off to live a life free of the Law.
Dredd’s boxers are simply brilliant but I am surprised the old bastard still has black hair.
The logo stands out perfectly here too. Why can’t it always be that way?
Inside, Mesmer Tharg has been drafted in again, so as not to scare off any children.
A sobering tale from Tharg himself as Dredd helps out a newly qualified helmet through a particularly difficult Graveyard Shift.
The Graveyard Shift continues to be the ultimate test of any Judge as the city loses its shit on a nightly basis and it was great to see that revisited. Oh…Blobs too! And those pricks have filed off their indelible dye ID numbers, though this still leads to confusion when it comes to telling who is who.
We see Hartnell (nice name) fresh faced only 6 minutes into the shift but roll on five hours and things are very different. With Judges thin on the ground, Cadets are being fast tracked through for a sink or swim career. This seems extraordinarily dangerous but it’s the only way apart from Mechanismo Units.
Dredd lays out the tactics matter of factly and let’s Hartnell know that even though he has graduated, he is still to prove he has the right stuff and the crack about the firepower falling into the wrong hands is a belter. Dredd wants proof that Hartnell is fit to wear the badge and carry the kit. This life threatening stuff is merely “character building” in Dredd’s eyes. Despite everything that happens, the bullet peppered, uncertain Hartnell is a character to watch and I hope Smith gets to write more tales with him in.
Love the art from Burnham here, ably assisted by some great colours. You can tell the dude has a gift for the layouts, too. Some of these are highly intelligent and he isn’t afraid to mix it up.
The background on the first page has the city looking more like a munted forest than a city of the future, so the effects of DOC are well felt with these broken blocks. And loved the pillar that Hartnell is cowering behind being rapidly turned into dust as the Blobs pour round after round into it.
The panel on page 3 of Dredd riding alongside a Mek Quake like rogue droid was just brilliant, as was the terrified face on the beetle driver as he is about to get squished on page 4.
There was also an amazing panel of Dredd destroying the droid on page 5 and the close up on the bottom of page 6 was that of a gnarly old bastard. Some artists seems to forget that Dredd is an old man, so it’s great when we see a newbie pick up on it.
The exchange of fire between Hartnell and the Blobs lets you feel every impact. Clever shit.
The only quibble is that the Lawgiver seems to be an old model. Are newbies being given the old Mk I shooters?
Slaine goes into a never ending warp spasm. Ukko heads to the pub.
Not a bad one and done to whet the appetite for the TPB this reprint comes from, but the artwork was perhaps a little dark. It’s hard not to see the strains of Bisley in there and as far as I am aware, this was the only Garres work that graced the pages of the Galaxy’s Greatest.
That’s a shame as there were some cracking panels in here and I’d like to have seen more.
Rogue has a bad flashback dream and takes his anger out on his biochip buddies and some unfortunate Norts.
In this reprinted tale, the Souther Genetic abomination known as “Rogue” comes across as an arsey cunt. All of this is down to Finley-Day’s weak script.
Rogue fucks up his weapons drill and lazily decides to take a kip (due to “stress”) without first doing any security sweep or setting a guard in the form of his kit.
The premise of why the GIs are deployed fails to make sense. They are there to stop more Norts piling through the nearby black hole and taking Nu Earth. How is this accomplished? Are they used at the black hole entrance as fighter squadron or boarding parties for ship to ship combat? No, they are dropped to Nu Earth where they wait until more Norts show up top fight, failing immediately to stop more coming through (their remit) in ships where they can be safe until deployed at the whim of their masters. If I were the Norts, I’d nuke the planet into glass and shoot what is left.
As the script says it is lucky GIs were never engineered to cry. Or think “what the fuck am I doing here?”
Rogue also takes his time in the middle of a massacre when the Norts are gunning down everything that is blue. He takes up to sixty seconds to remove Gunnar’s chip and then stands around chewing the fat while his mates are getting exxed. Here’s a tip, drop what you are doing, shoot fuck out of the Norts and maybe your mates will actually survive the fight.
He then smashes his own rifle instead of grabbing both his and Gunnar’s and handing out two gun justice with hot lead to match.
These are the actions of an idiot.
In the present, Rogue reveals himself to be an even bigger douche by failing to stop a tightly packed cluster of Norts until they are on right on top of him. If only he had some timed explosives to throw at them, perhaps ones that could fit in the hand and were, say, attached to the straps of his backpack. If only…
Finally he gives Gunnar some shit for doing what he failed to do in the first place.
Yeah, I get you’re the last GI, I get you feel angry and possibly more than a little guilty that you stood by while your buddies got shot to death, but try getting a horny itch you can’t scratch for Venus Bluegenes because you’re a biochip. Then you can fucking complain, you cock.
The art is a thing of beauty from Dave Gibbons.
Cass takes on a psychically gifted juve who creates a Jewish monster. No, not a child killing zombie, but a golem. Come to think of it, Frankenstein sounds quite Jewish, too…
Reprinted from one of the annuals, this one, and I remember not being particularly enthusiastic about it at the time. That hasn’t changed.
The art suffers from poor colouring and the boots, belt and pads are all the same hue of yellow. The girls and Cass are virtually identical in facial features and only by clothing difference and speech bubbles can you tell them apart at times. Steve Yeowell may have learned from Romero.
Good panel layout, though.
The script is a bit meh, and Anderson was well into her bleeding heart mentality here.
A man with a face like Sid James’ left testicle reluctantly gets a new squad member.
The best thing Rennie has ever done in my opinion with jaw droopingly beautiful art by Tiernan Trevallion. If you haven’t already devoured this, pick it up immediately.
Red and Vince Scampi take on some pirates in a flying medical phallus.
Co-written by Leah Moore and drawn by Jan Duursema, who are female. Let’s shout that from the rooftops like it actually matters, why don’t we? Oh, because to do so will mean we are condescending, double standard pricks in that we actually point out their different sex instead of just accepting it on the strength of it? Oh, fair enough.
The script is tight and funny where it needs to be but nothing that gives it a wow factor.
The art was excellent and Duursema clearly has a gift for jaunty angles and smart layouts.
The look of the pirate crew was also a revelation. Where a lesser artist might go for subtlety or samey aliens, here we have a Captain replete with a hook, eyepatch and one eyed robo-parrot. His crew are also a mixed bunch of different aliens and mutants with one unfortunate cur having his brain in a jar.
Cool laser effects too.
The effort was able assisted by Teague who certainly knows his way around a palette.
Weirdly it does look like Red is about to break into song on the last panel of page 5. However, I can’t criticize too much because of , well, bewbs.
A galactic glutton gets his comeuppance.
So, with Flint channelling Jack Kirby and giving us a Galactus rip off called Gluetanic (sounds like a medicine to treat coeliacs) we’re left with a short one and done that was sadly marred by a poor delivery. If the reveal was done on a page turn that would have been better but the twist was something that Helen Keller could have seen coming in a power cut. It’s a tale that has been done before and done better.
The only saving grace is the art.
Loved the procession of what looks like Dr Who monsters on page 2 and the aliens on page 3 made my reminiscing complete for the day. I spotted the Robot Monster, two dudes wearing Zardoz heads and red nappies and the Kelvin from the Roger Corman shitfest Battle Beyond The Stars.
DAILY STAR DREDD:
For the second time in the prog, we get asked “What’s a chicken?”. Hopefully this isn’t subliminal programming from Tharg. However, these are comedy gold from the combo of Wagner, Grant and Smith.
An invasion fleet is thwarted by a golden shower.
Again this feels familiar territory but is worth it for the look of the thing. I fucking loved “Bear in Mind”, that’s just brilliant.
The final reveal was robbed a bit by the scale of the thing and the realisation that the ship would be about the same size as the toilet drain and the alien could have walked the length of the piss pot in less than a day. Apart from that, not too bad.
Dredd snatches it only by the drag factor of Absalom being a reprint.