It feels weird reading a Sci Fi Special in a Mordor winter but we’re here now and we have to deal with it, much like Orlok’s review…
Jesus. That’s pretty awful. I can see what was being attempted here and I can appreciate the effort but the finished product was a failure and should not have been published as is. I don’t know a thing about the artist and whether the Mondo style is his forte or not. There’s just too much shading going on and I have no idea if it is supposed to look stained or if he spilt a cup of coffee on it at some stage and thought “fuck it, no one will notice”.
Personally for the return of the iconic Sci-Fi Special I’d have had a big name doing this one, perhaps even Bolland himself. Imagine how evocative that would have been?
Inside Raging Tharg greats the loyal Squaxx with all the passion of a 70s icon currently not sitting in the dock and contemplating a future filled with uncomfortable showers.
Dredd has to deal with a cursed Necros artefact.
Let’s get to the art first. I liked this. There was something a bit small press about it and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I simply mean that there was some real passion going on here and this brought out a cracking city perspective and some very smart panel and angle work. I loved the last panel of page 3 of the artefact in the foreground and the dishevelled and one booted Dredd at the end was also nice too.
The signage on the Psi Div facility reminds me a lot of the great Cam Kennedy’s work and the disclaimer on the teleporter about getting there instantly 8 times out of 10 was great.
One fuck up from the colourist in that the belt pouches change colour from green to gold on page 2 and continue on that way.
This reminded me a lot of the Sorry Case from Strontium Dog where Johnny has to transport a bad luck magnet back to the Doghouse and gives up when the shuttle he is on is in danger of crashing. I was a bit perplexed as to why the Department would want this artefact and hasn’t given it back previously. It isn’t the Elgin Marbles, after all.
How did it get to Earth is it is such a harbinger of doom, anyway?
The characterisation of Dredd and at least one citizen is a bit off. On the first page the perp that Dredd is facing is wrongly referred to as “citizen”. That is something Dredd would not do. The moment a citizen crosses the line into crime it is “creep”, “doughball” or some other epithet from then on.
The citizen on page 4 says to Dredd “What are you going to do about it?” Are you fucking kidding me? Citizens fear the very mention of Dredd’s name, so that’s pretty far from the mark and seems to be a lazy effort to get someone else to suffer the curse.
Dredd also seems remarkably thick here because if the curse is passed on when the object is given over then why, when the satellite flattened the citizen, does Dredd then retrieve it? Why doesn’t he cordon off the area and have Psi Div come down and sort it out?
There were some gems in here though. The Hover Bus droid giving Dredd a fine and noting that he can qualify for a Senior Citizen discount was simply brilliant.
The reference to Lara Croft (and presumably her own artefact issues) was a cool thing, too.
Bottom line, this was ok stuff marred by poor characterisation and plot holes. Beeby is very much a writer in development and hopefully she can do much better.
Sam is stuck in a furniture store before the whole thing goes AT-AT on him.
This was brilliant stuff and a real revelation from Worley who captures the nuances of the characters. Sadly, BODJ is not the funniest reference to the furniture store I have ever seen, that is reserved for Grand Theft Auto’s “KLÜNT”, but as a straight man who has visited IKEA many times I know full well the soul destroying horror that dwells within the blue and yellow prison.
The Allen key reference made me chuckle as I must have about thirty of the bastards in my toolbox.
The whole thing was sufficiently madcap and evocative of what has gone before and no, not the strip from that KLUNT Mark Millar.
The end was nice and left me wanting more, which is a really good sign. Can we get this in the Prog, please?
The greyscale art was superb and the opening page had some great nods to the creators (E.N. Gibson and the two headed T.B Grow-vr). The whole thing was in pose and composition straight out of the Gibson playbook.
The ABBA-esque villains were also pretty cool and the sight of a skinned robo hunter who had gone before and was converted into a rug was gigglesome.
The Gemediheloutavir escape pod was clever and adequately groan inducing but the best thing was the sight of the mobile store taking a dump just as the villains were talking about “bringing dignity”.
A new breed of robots are investigated.
This was Ok. The opening panels reminded me of the metal bastards from I, Robot where the fuckers are even walking dogs. That’s not what Jesus intended.
My only quibble is why, if the reporter is simply a brain in a jar, does she need to have her eyes bobbing about? That’s just cruel.
The art was good and I liked especially the top panel of page 2 as the television screen lights up the room and essentially defining the panel.
Red “helps” a rookie fellow bounty hunter.
The story was very bland and appears to take place some time after Red throws away her SD badge. Red is once more shown to be ruthless and cunning, divorcing her from the Alan Grant version who was largely chaotic but with a semblance of honour.
The art was ok but suffered as the backgrounds were as weak and uniform as those on Scooby Doo. Red also appears to be wearing spurs for some ungodly reason and also is able to move at quite a clip having covered a vast distance between the volleys of shots taken at the youngster. Look how far away she is for the first few.
That said the panels were intelligently laid out, especially on page 3, and an effort was made to make Red look genuinely hideous when she removes her fangs, as if revealing the monster within.
Orlok (no relation) takes a warm-up job in Brit Cit.
The art is gorgeous and perfect for the subject matter of espionage and double cross. The Tri D panels in the background could be lifted straight from the Bolland originals and they are superbly employed.
One of the best pieces of art in the whole shebang.
Wyatt has proved to be a revelation here in that he can write something that isn’t safe and bland. The fact that Orlok hates the Brits more than the Big Meggers is a clever twist and he is obviously bearing a grudge against decadent establishments.
The use of compromising photos was a nice touch, especially given that the salacious material involved mutie (rather than child) porn.
I’m still none the wiser as to who set the trap up, though and I’m doubtful there is more mileage in the Orlok storybook.
Rogue encounters a new Nort weapon that raises the dead.
Let’s start with the art, which is fucking amazing. It had me hooked right from the glow of the eyes and the reflection of the atmocraft in the scope of the rifle to the panel of the rounds flying towards their targets with the zombie faces reflected in their hot surfaces.
Douglas gets everything right here even down to the way Rogue holds his weapon on page 3 panel 4 and the same shooter handling from the zombies on the last page. In short, they hold their weapons like soldiers, not posers. Even Burdis should be happy with that.
The entire thing had echoes of Will Simpson and Dave Gibbons about it but also struck out with a style and passion all its own.
The story had a real old school Rogue Trooper feel to it and there were a few smart plot points such as the reference to “Rogue Matter” and the duality of both the Norts and Rogue harvesting the dead for what they have. We’re also left with an ominous ending which I really liked.
I definitely want to see more of this from Adams and new readers will pick up the gist of it while the hardcore faithful will appreciate the stroll down memory lane.
My only quibble is the death of Helm which I am fairly sure was in a coastal engagement and not on the dry land as portrayed.
The Star Scan by Fay Dalton had a few issues (the helmet is too big, the boots look wrong and the gauntlets seem less for Judicial use than for welding) but the composition and content here was fucking phenomenal even down to the rain and glint of the metal. Give Dalton a regular strip, this instant. She’s an amazing talent.
I see Cass has blood over the front of her Lawmaster. Women drivers…tch.
The Star Scan by Willsher seemed to be more Conan than Slaine (where’s the tattoos, lad?) but the blood red colour and steely eyed glint in his eye tells you heaps about the character. Willsher is a really stretching himself and I like that.
Tough call with Robo Hunter being stunningly good, but Rogue had the perfect script and art combo.