All this backwards and forwards between houses is a frigging nightmare. Still, it gave Orlok a chance to read the latest Meg…
I didn’t really like this when I first saw it but, like Karen Gillan’s ass cheeks, this looked really good once in my hands.
Cameron Stewart presents us with a beautiful use of perspective and posing as Anderson does her best Charles Xavier while Dredd settles for a Bruce Forsythe. Seriously that is one fucking chin.
The grips on the gloves are an unusual step but apart from that this was thing of beauty.
Dredd gets a new helmet and outfoxes Hard H with his intimate knowledge of Alligatoridae.
Hard H is despatched to Monkey Hell simply because he cannot stand still and Dredd’s massively risky gambit here was unnecessary since he could have just plunged the simian into the rad pit and then watched him die. It all had to come down to a pre-scripted confrontation where Dredd shows how cool he is in a crisis instead of coldly executing a Judge killer.
The panel where Fryer punches a mutant through his throat was clearly intended as a cheesy “Fist of Dredd” tribute but came across as just as forced and desperate as any of the Millar/McKenzie stuff from the mid 90s. Those fucksticks thought they could replicate the work of greater writers in ways such as this and it didn’t work then so won’t now.
Dredd also seems to be full of life once he gets a new helmet so it’s getting like Linus’s blanket for him these days. Never mind the head injury and horrific beating he took, the world looks better when you have a brand new chapeau and your best gal by your side. Oh, and some adrenaline. Yes, we also get the old adrenaline shtick which my paramedic mate grinds her teeth at when we see that on the TV.
For the life of me I cannot understand what the fuck Smiley is there for other than to give Hershey someone to bounce her “When Dredd finally goes” worries off while he makes a steaming cup of his own piss. Really, Hershey? You have Rico and other clones in the pipeline and that’s what you are worried about? You could pull a Kraken on the cits and nobody would know for ages. Oh, except that cockwaffle Smiley, who was, you know, HIDING IN YOUR WALL FOR DECADES.
And I’m a sucker for movie homages as much as the next man, but the “Badges” quote lifted so directly just made me grimace. It was done far, far better in the Oz storyline with the “Budgies” quote.
The art is beautiful but there are a couple of misfires for me. First the H-Wagon crashes into the floor and sends mutants upwards into the wreckage. Ok, the one poor bastard getting sucked into the engine I’ll buy but the one on the tail? How the shit will that happen? At this point the wagon hasn’t penetrated the ground but the mutants have jumped in the air to meet it.
Second Fryer gets a pierced leg from a crash injury while Ridley takes a piece of metal to the side. In the following panels, both injuries appear to have vanished altogether.
Overall this was a very weak story that was saved only by the art.
TALES FROM MEGA CITY ONE:
The first Two Ton man falls on hard times and informs on some crims to earn the creds.
The tale was overlong (at a whopping nine pages) and didn’t really deliver much that couldn’t have been done in five.
The naming of the grandkids (“Celebrity” and “Chutzpah”) was a really nice touch of the Big Meg humour which thanks to the fucktard baby names of the 21st Century doesn’t seem that far removed.
I was puzzled by one aspect that perhaps points to the strip being pared down further. On page 3 Tony goes to see Lance who reveals that the Block Crime Boss is called “El Fantasmo”. Tony then calls up Judge Pal revealing that El Fantasmo is called “Len Guantanamo”. Where the fuck did this name come from? Did Tony pull it out of his capacious dirtchute?
The art is lovely and Coveney really suits the black and white layouts.
THE MAN FROM THE MINISTRY:
Morningside makes a dirty phone call while Britton is interviewed about his re-appearance.
I still really like this tale which has just the right mix of Dan Dare/Hammer Horror to keep me going. Another nod to the National Rocketry Forum occurs this issue and the “Quatermain” nod was cool, as was the sight of Winston C setting the Newton on its mission during his second term at Number 10.
The Lovecraftian Slithoks showing up means that other parties are interested here and that takes this strip in an Earth defence direction, rather than just a mystery of a returning spacecraft.
We’re getting the info delivered in sweet, bite sized chunks which works very well with Rennie’s writing style. He seems to have it in for the civil servants, though, which is a bit prejudiced and intolerant of him.
The art has some weird panels (that is so clearly bad CGI in the big panel of page 3) and maybe that is the point to give a cheap as chips Quatermass And The Pit vibe about the thing. The same also goes for the spaceship resembling a Milton Bradley Simon on the last page. It’s refreshingly old school design work.
The opener, though, of the Spitfires besting the Bf-109s was gorgeous and I only spotted one fuck up with Morningside’s revolver ejecting shell casings. You have to crack the bastard open to unload and reload. Burdis will be grinding his teeth at this point…
Anderson faces off with Algol while Dredd gets to use a ricochet and a bootknife in the same strip.
This has been the best Anderson strip in a long time. The whole shebang comes down to a battle of wits between the damaged and hateful Algol and the almost burned out but determined Cass.
At the end Anderson opts for a change of scenery and it remains to be seen if she will come into contact with Rico and maybe soften him a little the way she has with Joe.
There was some bollocks in there as a “holistic psi power” as the workaround for having the brain burned out and the ending was perhaps a little predictable, but I’m giving it a pass for the quality use of the ricochet.
Dowling’s art has been magnificent throughout this and his portrayal of Anderson as a mature woman rather than the perpetually young dolly bird we have seen before is refreshing. There’s a palpable sense of vulnerability about her these days but you also know she will shoot you in the face should you try to give her a hug.
And just look at that cityscape on page 2 coupled with the panels of Dredd racing to Anderson’s rescue. Both are clear examples of Dowling’s ability to balance simple beauty shots with kineticism.
It really looks like Dredd and Anderson are holding hands in that last panel, or at least touching fingers. He’s old enough to be her father for Grud’s sake…
There were some insightful interviews (especially the one with Nick Percival) and the Karyn floppy was skimmed through as I had read these stories fairly recently and was unimpressed by any of them. Adrian Salmon’s art was pretty nice, especially the Peter Cushing cameo, but repeated exposure to it was a bit much.
I have to give this to Anderson since the script was tight and the art was fucking amazing.