The problem with the cover is that it isn’t very inspiring, being a fairly mundane portrait of a fairly mundane villain. The colour and electrical sparking was great but that’s about it, sadly.
Dredd comes up against yet another seemingly unstoppable monster/mutant for him to defeat.
The art is beautiful to look at and the colours are amazing throughout. There’s just so much going on in the panels that it is a pleasure to take your time reading.
There’s a lot to like here; the scarred face of Fryer, the amazing chin on Dredd, the city still being rebuilt in the background, Lorne’s brutally murdered corpse, the holo-display of Lorne’s last reading, the myriad weird citizenry (including Hard H and a Blob!), Phantom and Chopper graffiti. All of it immerses you in the city and environment.
Cook does a nice bike too and the cool helmet on the Tek Judge on page 3 was reminiscent of the McCarthy era designs.
My only issue is the scale because sometimes Hard H can look huge or simply large depending on the panel. Dredd too looks massive compared to Fryer on page 2 though not in later panels.
The Bizarro Burlesque featuring Elboobs made me audibly snort, though, and that’s always a good sign.
The last panels of Dredd getting a fucking hiding are amazing.
Storywise this is a sequel of sorts to a Tale of the Cursed Earth from a while back and we have the added bonus of one of the victims having saved Fryer on Day of Chaos adding a personal sense of loss when he is greased. Sadly that loss never gets further than a few lines of dialogue.
The characterisations seem a bit off with Hershey being reduced to a sarky mum and Dredd storming out of her office like a sulking teenager who has been banned from Xbox.
Our perp is committing the acts of murder against the law in order to bring Dredd into his sights for reasons yet to be determined. Judges are dismembered, defenestrated, de-mandibled and penetrated and it is Fryer rather than Dredd who pieces together the clues.
Not a great start but the art is lush.
Demarco enlists Judicial help to go after the Whisper.
Demarco goes back to basics and tries to analyse who would benefit from the vanishings, which is something that should have happened earlier in this story. This leads to the revelation that the creature is sentient and a transaction is the order of the day; victims are selected, disposed of and then their goods and chattels are seized by the benefitting party.
In order to determine this, Demarco (a private citizen) viciously assaults Walden Connors, blowing off his leg in front of Judges. Instead of doing time she is simply allowed to continue and the Jays actually seem fine with it.
I had to blink and check who was writing this because…what the actual fuck?
Once they know the location of the Whisper they are able to track it, apparently on radar. Er, couldn’t they have been able to do that from the start then and maybe track the fucker down?
On the plus side, the WWJDD wristband was quite a good gimmick and at the end of this Demarco has an immortal replacement for her dead monkey. It remains to be seen how his mutant looks will go down in the big city, though.
The art? The art is standard Yeowell fare, sadly. The whisper looks about as scary as a Teletubbie clutching puppies. On page 4 where Demarco blows off the dude’s leg it looks like a tiny cock and balls has been detached. I’m assuming this is blood but I had to pick up later that his leg was gone. That’s poor work.
I half expected the Whisper to be hiding in an abandoned amusement park as it seemed Yeowell was channelling a Scooby Doo episode for this.
Bottom line, the story was not great and suffered from some drawn out sections and some outright nonsense. However, the greatest drawback here was the artist. Yeowell can draw but he has limitations and sometimes you need an artist to carry a thin script forward with detail and clarity. That art then fleshes it out and grows the story in ways where it needs it. Yeowell was not the right artist here and even colour would not have helped. It was a bad editorial decision to go forward with this and I hope this is the only blip on Carroll’s writing career.
TALES FROM MEGA CITY ONE:
The Irrational Lottery plays forfeits on participants, culminating in a criminal act. It also features a man saying “I’m going to Luna City. As a woman!”
There were some nice insights into the craziness of the Big Meg here and it felt like an old school crazy city story from the 80s but the entire thing was somewhat marred by inconsistency.
Take for example that the mum was very proud of the family’s unemployed status with the family shunning work under that ethic. Despite this the dad was out every day trying to get a job and this was common knowledge. How does that shunning work thing happen exactly?
Also, the game show is illegal. Now, we have seen Illegal shows before with Judges cracking down on viewers and broadcasters alike to nip that shit in the bud. So, when a fuck ton of losers show up at the Grand Hall on the basis of that illegal game show, why are they not immediately arrested for watching the illegal broadcasts and acting on the orders of the broadcasting perps? Why does the Judge here just appear remarkably casual about it all with Dredd?
The Judges are also puzzled in that they need a lead to take them to the perp. Well, here’s a thought why don’t you start with how the tickets are actually being sold or by how the winners are informed and paraded on Tri-D? You could even monitor the citizens buying the tickets, since this story is all set in pre DOC and PSU is still available for just such a crackdown.
The art is a vast improvement over JDH’s Age Of The Wolf work. Lovely colours, too.
There are a few things I was puzzled by. The speech balloons appear to be the wrong way around on page 6, panel 3 and in that panel our heroine is tying something around her neck and has her hands in an impossible position for this. Her right hand is on the left side of her body in a way that cannot be accomplished without dismemberment. I thought it was her friend pulling her at first but the friend has a totally different coloured sleeve.
On page 5, some of the losers are still wearing top hats from their earlier forfeit. Er…why? This is a new forfeit, isn’t it?
The simp outfits were not very simp either. Certainly nothing approaching what we have seen before so I wonder if the artist familiarised himself with the simps of years gone by.
Cass finally figures out who the bad guy is but not before more innocents die.
The art is once again a thing of extraordinary beauty. Once more we see the city as thinly populated and the panels of Loran rounding up the cits and executing them in a 20mm symphony is brutally carried off by Dowling’s skill and intelligence. It’s shocking but gorgeous at the same time.
The panel of Dredd booting in the door is also great and brings to mind the smart kinetics of the 2012 film scene featuring the same.
We also get a great close up of Dredd looking uncannily like a wrinkled nutsack.
Algol Rey has been pronounced harmless and released, immediately taking revenge on Psi Div. If you haven’t read the Cadet Anderson stuff this will be a “who?” moment.
I figured that the only reason he didn’t make Cass do a rampage is that she was too strong for that and only the suicide thing would work seeing as she was already pretty low in her general attitude.
Cass decides to play dead to see what she can work out but that doesn’t prove to be a worthwhile tactic as it seems since Rey is systematically trying to discredit the Psis. In the end she decides to let Rey know she is alive as Dredd says he can use her as bait.
Loran rounding up the citizens is horrifying as you see how easy it is for a Judge to carry this out as they are feared and obeyed even now. His gunning down of men, women and children is truly horrific as is the taking of a hi-ex round to his head.
The helmet cams are a great idea but like so many of these ideas it will be forgotten or ignored by other writers otherwise stories such as investigations into corrupt officers will not exist while there is live feed of their activity.
The interview with Dowling was very nice indeed.
The Godzilla piece just left me wondering why it was here. It has nothing to do with 2000AD or the Meg and was a waste of pages.
One Way Ticket is a fairly decent text story by Jonathan Green. I liked this and look forward to the conclusion.
The floppy is another shitfest in the form of Janus Psi Div and I’d have been happier to have had this in hardcopy format so I could burn it in the manner it truly deserves.
Anderson is still firing on all cylinders.