It’s catch up Wednesday here in Mordor and Orlok has been drinking on the ferry…
Jake Lynch pulls off a nice cover that reminds me a little of the style of Dermot Power. Here Dredd is bearing down on us on his Lawmaster and covering up the logo as he does so.
I do like this even though it’s not going to be on the list of top covers at year end. Not with Alex Ronald around anyway.
The one sour thing for me is the use of red and yellow on the strapline. That just looked out of place.
The handlebars threw me at first looking quite stunted but this seems to be merely perspective.
Inside we get an ad for Meg 351 brought to us by Mesmer Tharg.
Elsewhere is an ad for some truly gorgeous prints.
Knight gets all anti-Judicial and her own television show.
Marshall’s art is definitely growing on me and the shadows and sunset on page 2 were sublime.
Quibbles? Well, Dredd again looks too young here which always irks me.
I also didn’t like the design of the Forensic Judge. I know every artist puts their own stamp on the designs of the Judges and it’s a matter of personal taste. In this case I thought it looked weak in comparison to his other design work.
Carroll’s script is tight and has a few nice lines such as Dredd’s response to Knight’s question of how the Department operates at all levels of the Government. “Efficiently”.
It doesn’t quite ring true though that Knight wasn’t fully briefed on this before her return. This would be basic stuff along with what the currency is and where to pick up like minded individuals for some watersports.
The Pantone 19-3040 gag was brilliant though and the sight of robot presenters and pets made me grin.
It was also funny to see the Fox-like “Earth Centric Network” and their xenophobic non-human offworld scum epithets.
I’m eager to see where this goes though I know in my heart it won’t be world changing as Carroll doesn’t have the keys to the kingdom just yet.
Aquila does battle with another guardian while elsewhere the Wolfmother is taken out.
The art is once again the best thing about this. The opening of a severed head being thrown at the statue as a goad was excellent as was the appearance of the Electric Gladiator.
The zombie cherubs were some of the creepiest things I’ve seen in a while and Gallagher clearly applies his Defoe skills to their design and menace.
Again we have a guardian easily taken out by Aquila who just seems to be playing the game with all of the cheat codes activated. He’s invulnerable and unbeatable so where is the challenge here?
The death of the great wolf was a surprise but I’m not really emotionally invested in anyone in the strip to care what the implications may be.
My other quibble is the way the fight scenes go in Aquila. The urgency and drama is taken away by cutting to chatty people and then crossing back. Maybe Rennie sees these as a trope and wants to dispense with them, I dunno. It just seems a waste for the artist who can really pull this off and give the strip some extra shine.
Ariel and the gang power up a shuttle and head off in pursuit of the gaseous clay.
Lovely art but it’s as drawn out as the script and could easily have been done in 10-12 panels. That seems harsh because the thing is beautiful to look at but sometimes less is more.
Ok, we get some background to Ariel’s near death experience and learn that the presence of escape shuttles means nobody is (or was) actually stranded.
That makes the drama here somewhat less perilous.
The clay has magical properties and serves to preserve Ramkin’s life until they can get to the Nominal Charge. I guess it is the midichlorians in it.
We also get the gigantic sabrefin mentioned again meaning this will be the Chekov’s Gun to undo the bad guys and probably swallow their ship whole.
More flashbacks reveal the bear creature first encountered to have been Grendel. Shuck and his mate steal a disabled woman’s boat. The Daily Heil would love that.
Shuck and his dad continue to argue about the family curse with Shuck wanting to get cracking on troll slaughter as destroying Overdal is the way forward.
Cliché Bingo is won by Shuck’s dad who actually utters the line “Truly you are a man of action, Black Prince”. I haven’t seen this used successfully outside of a 1950s historical flick and a scud film I once saw in Amsterdam.
The beast they torched being Grendel was a turn up for the books but the flashbacks are probably hamstringing the speed and pace of this tale now. It seems like the story has been in the Prog for three or four months.
It was also cool to see stone troll parts repurposed as ammo and this gives a whole new meaning to throwing the head in.
The art is still nice though I was confused as to whether Grendel’s mum actually saw her boat thieves or not.
Atalia pursues some creeps to a Chem Bar and gets a shoeing.
Well, that’s the end of Jaegir. Quite unexpected really for her to be killed in this way. What? She’s not dead? But there is no reason for her to still be alive…I don’t get it.
Ok, there are some nice bits here such as Atalia giving the cadets bound for Nu-Earth the benefit of her drug taking experience and the appearance of the chem bar. This was a great idea and just the kind of thing you would expect vets to get involved in to acclimatise to a turn on civvy street and still keep their war brains intact.
Why would they actually use the real deal chemicals though? Wouldn’t that be excessively dangerous to both staff and the public? They could just use laughing gas or something because the suits would be sealed and the punters would never know the difference until there were accidents.
When Klaur is wounded he goes off into a huge and painful speech that is absolutely pointless since Atalia would have heard perhaps three words before she was out of earshot.
I’m really struggling with this at the moment and I’m in it only for the art.
Speaking of which, this is just stunningly good with the gunfire in the alley looking particularly brutal and the effects in the chem bar being fabulously trippy.
I’m tempted to say Jaegir for the art and Dredd for the script.