COVER: A Sylvia Plath platter of Walter, Mrs G and Dredd in a Happy days ‘the gangs all here’ schmaltzy greeting card. Macneil pulls together a nice tight group shot, heavy lines and pleasant bright colours. With Walter on the Death swally, what’s not to like?
DREDD: A night in Sylvia Plath
A respectful and wonderful return of THE Dredd logo in memory of it’s designer, Jan Shepheard, looms above this weeks Wagner and Macneil, giving us a reminder of the good ol’ days. I’ve heard of a groundswell of opinion who would like to see it’s return permanently. Sadly I’ve also heard of the ‘technicalities’ for the reasons why it won’t be staying. 2000AD have arsed about with some shocking font styles in the past on Dredd and we are no longer using UHU and plastic scissors in the studio, so make it happen Tharg. Back to the strip, and we have a rogue Walter running amok in the booze isle (love the Cy-DUR, complete with the CUD band udder) until Dredd confronts his former droid, who is now a ‘fwee robot’, the very mention of which stirs the Lawman to such an extent that we don’t see very often, if at all. The art fits the story perfectly and Macneil shows us the versatility with his styles in his ‘bold line’ phase. The same can’t really be said of the colours unfortunately, as they are strangely muted, entrenched in brown and grey tones at odds with the cover palate, almost as if Chris Blythe had only been given 3 crayons to play with. Wagner is the old hand here, well versed in the history (he wrote it) and is having fun with his creations as the soap opera plays out much to our amusement, showing how the Dredd ‘funny’ should be done. The bed sock/dreadlocks gag doesn’t get any better and I feel I’m back in the mid 80’s reading my prog as the Don serves up this welcome slice of nostalgia.
SINISTER DEXTER: Congo
Dan dan daaaan! Crikey, what a cliffhanger, I mean what could possibly happen in the next episode? Well me for one, hopes it opens with Tracy Weld having gotten as bored as we all have, waking up from a VERY bad dream (yep the past 10 years!), realising that Piper is in the Shower (who she erm… maybe thought was dead like). Cut to a copy of the days paper on the bed showing Sinister and Dexter very dead, shot in the bollocks or something and with a twist that NO ONE saw coming, the two bints deciding to take a trip to Lesbos to celebrate. No? I mean come on, ‘Ted fucking Behr’… shoot me now.
I’ve not been across this strip yet in my musings and I have to say I’m still quite undecided in how I feel about the main character and how he connects within the 2000AD universe. The premise of Aquila isn’t wholly original and thereby we are constrained in many ways on how the development of the centurion is fleshed (literally) out. Saying all that, I’m really enjoying the story and the script is tight, pithy and accessible in it’s delivery giving a nice rhythm to proceedings. The art is absolutely glorious as Gallagher dances to the beat, giving life to all and sundry in the streets of Rome, including an almighty fuck off Golem/Momster of Rock type thing, which you can’t fail to be astonished by. The furtive, distrusting faces in the shadows are captured in the distinctive style we have grown to admire, with the movement in the panels perfectly paced between stealth and animation. As a big fan of Dylan Teague, I am often left feeling that he is somewhat wasted on colouring detail, yet he gets the night scenes absolutely spot on. Great stuff all round.
BRASS SUN: Floating Worlds
An ‘explanation’ episode from the blind watchmaker, or Colonel Sanders, Sean Connery and the one with the moustache out of Hall and Oates if you like. I’m with a few of the other reviewers on here, in that while I don’t dislike Brass Sun, I wish that it would get a bit of a move on. I have found myself on more than one occasion, flicking back to see if I really have read all five pages and after re-reading the first series back to back, can confirm it works much better in this way. The art whilst simplified and panel filling, is none the less a refreshing change of scenery from the usual fayre and it reminds me a little of the Hernandez brothers work in ‘Love and Rockets’. All in all, nice ‘Journey into the mind of Wren’ interlude which fills in some of the blanks on the way. Where too I’m still unsure, but hoping it’s going to be a little quicker, although I’ve got a feeling that it will be via some more ‘near misses with big monsters’ cliffhangers en route… and yes I am ‘aware’ that I’m using too many ‘quotation’ marks, bloody ‘Sinister Dexter’…
“This week, I am mostly come to spill Troll Blood!”… ah, now I used them as speech marks there, and what a speech. Almost as insightful as “By Odin’s Beard!”… now where have I heard that cucumber before by der gotts, etc. To be fair, Black Shuck wasn’t ever going to stand up well against the other historical piece in the prog. Yeowell’s art is, ahem, improved let’s say and we have much more detail in the panels than we have seen in previous adventure stories by his pens. The chopping, burning, monster/beast scenes are pretty damn good and Steve does a nice boat, drinking horn and helmet. However I can’t help but feel that I’ve read all this somewhere/time/place else and it’s not really floating my boat, filling my horn or polishing my errrm, boots. The scripting could do with a little more light relief than it’s current dour demeanour, almost taking itself too seriously in trying to be authentic. A great chance missed could have been the line “…troll gold, yellow as Dutchman’s piss”… ‘Speech marks’ there again – ooops and last ones now, promise…
TOP THRILL: ‘Dooom Dooom DOOOM!’ …The Thriller that’s Aquila.