Nice effort this from Neil Roberts. It isn’t quite as effective as the Ulysses Sweet one and I think that cover effectively stole the thunder from this piece.
It still leaps off the shelves though.
The Blue Remembered Kills tagline is apparently homage to a poem but being a barely educated gorilla I just know it from the Dennis Potter teleplay starring a number of adults playing child roles.
Inside, Mesmer Tharg tries to get us to purchase Fiefdom. I have read a couple of reviews for this so far and none have been glowing, sadly.
Dredd is assigned to guard a returning space hero.
The art is good stuff from Paul Marshall and his style has sharpened to my eyes.
The news headline about the wallaby issue snub was pure genius so I wonder if that was him or Carroll.
The awestruck citizens as Knight explained the complexity of relativistic speeds giving way to mundane pop culture questions was superbly done.
I spotted only two quibbles.
First we see a block on fire at the start, even though we are well past DOC and that should all have ceased long ago.
Second the assassin’s gun changes hands in the “penultiloop” panel, right in the middle of a punch.
As for the script, there is a touch of the old Buck Rodgers about this one with Knight returning to an Earth unfamiliar to her eyes and being met with changes both subtle and gross. Her being made an honorary cit is a logical step as is Hershey using her as a PR piece. When this all falls flat, Hershey is rightly miffed.
Cleverly, Carroll looks to the dumbing down of the population in comparison to the brightest and best that Knight represents.
It’s also worth mentioning that Knight is Earth’s first hero. That should be mentioned at every opportunity.
With the mention of Gideon Dallas it looks like Carroll is going to tie this in to the Undercity story he did. I also get the feeling disenchantment will set in with Knight even though she should have been reoriented on the trip home.
So far it’s OK and Carroll hasn’t gone too far of the mark in the past.
Peter is nailed up/down in a vision by the Diviner and in the sewers, Nero’s witch searches for a monster.
There are two main issues here.
First, Aquila is a dull character unless interacting with others. Because we don’t have the benefit of years of nuanced behaviours, like Dredd, we are short on fleshing out the man underneath the killing machine exterior.
Second, Aquila has shown himself to be indestructible, unable to be restrained and unstoppable. That’s very dull and unless we get kryptonite or an adversary that can kill him then we are destined to repeat the “find monster, kill monster, find next monster” cycle.
I’m hoping Rennie has a sucker punch to deliver here and can apply the skills we know he has to make this a good end.
It’s excessively talky though and some of the word balloons are fit to bursting.
The art is bloody gorgeous and Gallagher can make even the horror of crucifixion seem a joy to behold.
Especially good is the background at the top of page 3 with Aquila’s exploits drawn in the blood of his enemies.
Our heroes collect the gaseous clay and are jumped before being left for dead.
Well, that escalated quickly.
This was not a good instalment and featured story logic of the kind used in the Oscar Pistorius trial.
The bad guys want the clay so instead of shooting Wren and co dead before gathering the clay they let our valiant heroes collect it.
Once collected they fail again by not shooting Wren and co in their faces, instead engaging them in pre-mortem banter like a bad Bond villain.
They fail a third time as despite being armed with better weapons and training they fall victim to the stormtrooper curse and shoot wide. Only a lucky shot clips one of the heroes while Ariel lets off a few rounds and getting what looks like two headshots. I suppose heroes have +5 Guns Of Accuracy.
There are great ideas here but I do feel that Edgington is not giving this the wow factor required for shorter instalment sizes. A twelve page run and shift to the Meg would work wonders.
The art on the other hand is still gorgeous to look at and it’s good to see some kineticism in the action scenes which are played out as a series of snapshots. Beautifully lit, the flashes of red against the blues are a great contrast and the blood at the end was plentiful and vibrant clearly outlining the serious nature of the injury.
More flashbacks show Shuck winning his freedom, sort of. The nature of the curse is revealed.
Not a lot happens. Again.
OK the treasure can’t be removed for fear of the curse and we get to see Shuck break his chains Morpheus style.
If he could do that then why didn’t he do it sooner and fuck off?
I’m also finding the dialogue more forced and the idea of naming kids after Odin’s ravens had me facepalming.
So, the flashback storytelling is locked in now and we’re stuck with it. I think this is hobbling the flow personally but there you go.
I’m still liking the art but Steve Yeowell’s werebears look like some furries that have hooked up in the woods for some bruin bum action only to be killed by a local UKIP candidate out to raise the standard of public morality.
He does use some beautiful reflection work here though with the blade and breastplate. The action here coming on the heels of Brass Sun does look slightly more static so that doesn’t help matters.
Mabuse explains the blight affecting his people and enlists Atalia to hunt down his enemy in exchange for him providing a witness for a case.
More talky talky talk talk exposition which is a tough slog and would be a lot harder were it not for the artist.
The basic premise here is that Atalia must explore the Nort underworld because the story demands it.
So, a powerful figure like Mabuse (who can procure enough top secret and hard to come by GI bodies to knit himself a onesie) can’t eliminate the drug dealer causing his worries. However a mid-level strigoi hunter can and luckily he has something to bargain her down with.
Though Rennie is a good writer this is highly contrived and you have to suspend a lot of disbelief in order for the story to flow. An arsehole may pitch in and say “It’s scifi! ” but that’s the setting and not the plot. This a shame as Rennie can deliver when he is on his game.
The background story is of a potential strigoi contamination being ruthlessly put to bed. That’s pretty grim but I’m not sure what the point of it is.
Coleby is stunningly good here showing some lovely angles and intelligently posed characters.
The final panel is a belter, rich in detail about the Nort civvy life from the statue to the off duty sailor. That also looks like a downtrodden alien in there forced to wear a yellow star which is nice parallel to what happened in Axis controlled Europe.
I’ve changed my mind on this a few times but Dredd’s script wins out so far.