Well, he seems to be getting back into the swing of things so here is Orlok with his take on the latest Meg…
Bolland applies his loveliness to Dredd’s friends and foes. My only criticism is that I had to scratch my head at who the lady in red was and it eventually came to me that it might be Inga.
Still good shit, though.
The dream team of Wagner and Flint bring us a grim tale of human depravity.
Flint is on fire here with a more polished and less rushed rendition with some absolutely fantastic colours to match. The sight and layout of the burial pits is amazing and that splash gives you a sense of scale that makes me wonder what would happen if another Sabbat showed up.
Wagner’s mind plumbs new creative depths with a grim tale of body mines in the burial pits of the Cursed Earth. There’s a double whammy here in the fact that a tragedy has been turned into a money spinner and that the human greed is such that even the dead can be plundered.
For the first point I am sure there are some modern day parallels (the 9/11 gift shop has spawned such controversy) where tributes are available for a price and an opportunity to cash in is not wasted. Personally I have seen the latter at Auschwitz, when I was shocked to discover that it had a café inside the visitor centre. In a place of solemn dignity and utter horror, you can really just stop feeding your fat face for a few hours, and if you need water then it should be free at the end. I swear to Jebus there was even a hotdog stand outside. It infuriated the incandescent fuck out of me.
Meanwhile, in the Big Meg, Dredd is gritting is teeth at this travesty and knows that the finances are so shit that they have to consider this as a revenue stream. I didn’t get that, though. Since the money that citizens use comes from the city (most of it welfare) then isn’t this money in the system already? Wouldn’t the tourist cred be the way to go?
For the second point it seems that corruption occurs in the memorial with the body mining business being intricately linked with the expenses of those running the place. When accountant McPhee spots the discrepancies he is slotted, prompting an investigation by Dredd.
Clever writing by Wagner ensures that we have all the info we need to assess the situation Dredd finds himself in as well as giving flesh to the bones of the villains who run the mines and the stark conditions of the wretches who work for them. He also gives us an (unspoken) unpleasant background for Belle.
Some five years after the Zhind/Mega City One war, a Marshal comes to the town of Badrock and immediately is not what everyone expects.
The art from Winslade is fucking gorgeous. The black and white is used to great strength in order to highlight intricate details of the environment and also give a scratchy western feel to the proceedings. He doesn’t overdo this either and it is just perfectly balanced as a result. The panel of Jaroo entering the bar on page 5 is amazing, as is the framing of the whole shebang.
Scriptwise this works ok but has two flaws from the off. First it carries on the bullshit expanded universe nonsense from Insurrection so immediately places a wall between it and the events of the Big Meg. It may as well be set in the same universe as the Dredd movie.
The second is the Joss Whedon style witty banter back and forth. This is not an episode of Buffy The Perp Slayer. Stick to telling the story and lay off the clever ripostes.
I did like many aspects to this though…
The play on words with the name of the uplift “Kill A Man Jaroo” (groan) and the insane demeanour of Lawson’s Psi Judge predecessor (who refers to himself a s Psi Cop????) possibly guessing that Lawson is not who she seems to be were cleverly done. Lawson going to the saloon to see the real side of bedrock was a nice touch too as was the revelation that the natives seem to be hooked on the sauce. We also have the underlying comment that Munce Inc are there to make the creds one way or another and worker/native welfare is not even on the agenda as far as that goes. Could that be why Lawson is there or where the story will go in the coming months? Lawson being the only person on the flight also speaks volumes about how this is the arsehole of the world that nobody wants to visit voluntarily. The self-referential verbal obscenity stuff was quite good, especially considering that the writer’s overstaying Sinister Dexter is a prime offender. The semi casual F-bomb may be a bit much for some of the readers though.
THE MAN FROM THE MINISTRY:
Britton reveals his true self and we’re set for a face-off with the bad guys.
It was great to see the Lightning again and the cool, smooth lines of this classic plane being pimped up for space travel gave me a little tingle. Hopgood pulls off some of the same goodness with a great use of silhouette and shadow in the scenes were Britton goes apeshit on the interviewers.
Rennie is putting just the right amount of tongue into cheek here, even though this episode is almost all exposition as a set up for the next week’s showdown. Britton was declared dead back in ’53 and a state funeral pretty much saw Quatermain sent into exile and vilified for killing a national hero.
It is revealed that the aliens were more or less stopped in the late 1970s and the Ministry was underfunded in favour of the Royal Wedding and a colonial war in the South Atlantic (Rennie showing a blatant bit of political naivety and ignorance of the conflict there).
Britton not getting tired by the interview was nicely revealed and the subsequent superhuman rage with which he breaks free was pretty cool. Meanwhile, the Slithoks are revealed to be on his tail.
It was jarring to see Flint not doing this but fuck, Davidson’s art is great. The opening splash of a very different Mega City One to the one we know says it all and he continues onwards here with some truly excellent scene setting. The facial expressions and characteristics are all marvellous and the use of reflections in the helmets, the vibrant explosions and sense of scale are all massive plus points in his favour. Definitely cool to see the Justice Department drones again!
In a depressingly familiar move we’re re-introduced to Dredd in the same way we were in the movie (bike vs van, van crashes) so Wyatt lacks the originality of that once again. The fact that this seems to be Sector 301B and is called The Spit (not The Pit) also smacks of plundering but we’ll let it go for now. (I’m) Walter is referenced in the form of the roboservant at Oeming Tower and there is a nice name check for Domhall Gleeson too.
Also plundered is the bad parking scene from the risible Judge Dredd movie but here the hi-exing of a vehicle has dire consequences for Rookie Conti when she fails her assessment and starts a riot.
The story is about The Spit getting narked that out of sector money has been used to build a new tower for the 1% right on their doorstep. With dissent already in the air, the car of a local hero is blown up lighting the tinderbox for all hell to break loose. This a world where Dredd is not the well-known and universally feared legend we know and love…at least not yet.
The person we see at the start (presumably Wallace) seems to have intimate knowledge of the Judges having come across only a few who were not corrupt. Hopefully we’ll get some background on him next issue.
The Trevor Hairsine interview was really good as was the Kev Hopgood one. I never realised he did War Machine and he seems naturally perfect for that as his tech is marvellous.
I speed read the Leah Moore and John Reppion interview as it bored me rigid.
The Harke and Burr floppy was good to see for the early Ormston work but the stories are really not that great. Some things should just be left in the past.
Wagner and Flint on Dredd. Nuff said .