He’s moved to an island and is drinking at 11.15am so here is Orlok with his comeback review for the Prog…
A nice perspective piece from Karl Richardson doing what he does best…drawing a muscular behemoth looking mean and moody. The blood on the (possibly factually incorrect) segmented armour and the fact that Aquila’s scarred form is on fire merely adds to the scene of slaughter and menace.
Being a freak I did notice that the blade was placed in a very phallic manner with there being an almost homoerotic subtext to it all. A more insane man might compare the bloodied gladius to a penis that has just drawn virgin blood with a thrust. Fortunately that man is at home and tearing up a specially purchased copy of “Closet” in protest.
All of the colours employed are eye catching and vibrant and, as an added bonus, the logo coverage is minimal. Guess they got the memo and the headless rat corpse I sent.
Inside, Paedo Tharg greets us with his 500 meter (by restraining order) kiddystare, informing us that we should expect carnage on a Biblical scale. Since the Almighty is the biggest genocidal madman of them all, that should be a challenge.
We also have an ad for a forthcoming Dredd tale by Wagner and The Squirrel. Looks epic.
Dredd investigates the disappearance of a mutant student.
Artwise we have the enormously talented Boo Cook showing off his paintbox and massive Dredd chin. Like Ian Gibson before him, Cook has a unique style that lends itself effortlessly to the weird and wonderful Big Meg. Cook also populates the background with some beautiful detail (the poster map on page 1 of “What’s Left Of The World”, the teacher on his prosthetic Segway, Starfucks, the picture of McTick with flies around him, etc).
The last splash page of the unfortunate stranded mutant features some great detail with crucifixions, murder, some marauders and a dude in a bath. At the centre of it all is a crying McTick. I guess the abandoned areas of the city have fallen prey to the lawless.
The one thing that did rankle slightly was the sight of open air trees and grass as these have previously been described as rarities in the Big Meg except in The Park or the Fitzheimer residence.
Given that this is a lighter tale, I think Cook suits it well as heavy stuff isn’t really his thing. Unlike John Higgins and Carlos Ezquerra who adapt their style to suit, Cook is very much a consummate comedy strip artist. And his panel layouts were excellent, particularly on page 4.
Storywise this is ok. Dredd’s interrogation style seemed a bit off, when he adopted the Columbo method rather than just hauling the punk out of his seat and putting the fear of the Law into the class. The students recounting their two faced interactions with McTick were excellent, though as was the revelation that one of the subjects taught was “Applied Welfare”. That’s classic Wagner right there.
The Final Destination style vehicle in the face for the fleeing Rathbone was a well-deserved punishment, his broken and severed corpse bleeding out on the slab with a surprised look. Because he seems to be alive there may be a twist coming here.
The anti-mutant tendencies of the students were a nice take and that could easily have been an allegory for the prejudice faced by black students in the 1960s.
Our foursome continue their long and drawn out road trip in order to finance Dan Abnett’s new kitchen.
The art in this was very nice and Lynch is emerging as a good new talent but even his skills cannot save this turd of a strip. On page 3 panel 5 he appears to have turned Ray into a lumpy headed Klingon. It didn’t help.
With Finny infiltrating Congo (Amazon…Congo…hahahhahahahahhahahhahahhahazzzzzzzzz) it is down to the other three to provide the laughs until he returns. Fortunately he returns in rapid order and invents a new word “bejastard” to regale us with.
Considering the script used the word “bastard” earlier and then intersperses this with funts, scuzzpucks and the like, it’s really getting laboured to the point of insult. Even the “telegraphing the punch” joke has been around the block more times than Sookie Stackhouse.
As this strip plods ever on I am finding it harder to review as I think I have run out of ways to adequately state the simple fact that it has run its course and should be ended. I’m actually paying money for this, so I have to ask myself why. Maybe there should be an opt out scheme for the digital edition. I’d actually pay more NOT to see it.
Our fleeing heroes head into the jungle to lose their tail.
I’ve been very tolerant of this strip over the years. Read as one volume this will doubtless be an epic tale told beautifully, but in instalments it flows slower than treacle in the Antarctic and when you are serialising a strip, you have to do better than that as a service to the reader’s engagement. The thrill of a Stardust style life of sky piracy has given way to a slow plod of a chase into a beautiful but dangerous forest.
Pursuing our merry band are what appear to be a couple of UKIP candidates with their “Anything even looks at us queer, blow it out of the sky” policy. It’s no wonder only absolute cunts vote UKIP.
Artwise it is still beautiful and the colours, particularly the red interiors of the airship giving way to the gorgeous splash page of the forest, are well done. That was also a fine pair of inflatable baby dinners on page 1, panel 1.
The jackanapes look nice too.
Another head falls to Aquila in his service to Nero.
Leigh/Lay Gallagher’s art is a thing of beauty and it is brilliantly brought to life by Dylan Teague’s palette. The action is carried off with aplomb and the posing and expressions are dynamite throughout. These two work very well together as evidenced in that beautiful last panel.
Rennie’s tale picks up with Aquila gatecrashing an orgy killing absolutely everything before him, hunting down his quarry with the aid of the Praetorians. Doing so brings him face to face with Attis, a goat headed god/giant that Aquila quickly tears asunder. We’re possibly going down the “Hit” route from Rogue Trooper. I hope not.
The exposition heavy stuff between the diviner and his long suffering servant was an info dump I felt the story did not need. There are certain writers who can drop this in to a story in a way that flows well with the action, but Rennie (for his many skills) is not one of them. Here it comes across as laboured and detracting from the meat of the tale.
We do get the foreshadowing that a new God will rise in Rome, presumably the one who needs 1 million likes on Facebook to cure someone’s cancer.
In a fittingly creepy end, a dude with elbow length marigolds purples creates a chain of minds for his own purposes.
Great work from Guy Adams but I felt that it was a little overlong and could have been condensed as a Future Shock. There were no actual revelations this week that we hadn’t guessed last week. Parasites- check, evil leader- check, fleeing victim- check.
The art and colours are lovely and somewhat old school but I did feel that the bad guy must have a terrible time scratching his arse with those spikes on his fingertips.
I absolutely love the little kiss blown to Wesley before the mind wipe took place, forever erasing the personality.
Has to be Dredd this week. Great art, nice script for the win.