Review By Seth
It’s that time again isn’t it? The prog’ starts to sag a tad just prior to the re launch issue. Behind a fab’ cover by Alex Ronald complete with speech bubbles (woefully underused IMHO).
Michael Carroll and Paul Marshal’s intriguing “Judge Dredd” tale “Cascade” kicks things off. A long missing space explorer returns to a nuclear devastated Earth, and doesn’t like what she sees. Alongside one of Carroll’s recurring protagonists, Gideon Dallas, they invite an alien race, last seen 13 years ago to take over the running of MC1. Obviously, Old Stoney face isn’t going to take this lying down, but it’s not looking good for him by the end of the episode. We’re lucky in that Dredd doesn’t have a bad writer, and Carroll is a great Dredd writer. He focuses more on the political and emotional aspects of the strip. He does delve deep into the past for this, addressing an ancient plot thread set up by Wagner, interesting though. Marshall is as reliable as ever, lovely clear work – an unsung hero of the prog’.
“Aquila : Carnifex” builds to it’s no doubt bloody conclusion. Nero needs only a few more heads to complete the ritual to turn him into a god, and one of those is our titular hero. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to get into this run. The idea is good, I like the strip, but this sequence it just not grabbing me, I think it lost me somewhere along the way. Gallagher on the other hand, is god. I still prefer his black and white work, but he is a master of all that is gory and spooky.
“Brass Sun : Floating Worlds” marches on relentlessly. I really, really, want to like this. Perhaps I need to buy the repackaged US editions of it to catch up, but I’m tight. Concept is great, but Ian Edginton’s stories can be a bit hit or miss for me. Culbard is a fine draughtsman, but sometimes I think he lacks detail, particularly in characters – to this soft headed reader they all look the same. Confusion reigns and the conclusion to this arc can’t come too soon. (Sorry)
“Black Shuck” features the best Steve Yeowell art for years. Sometimes it seems that Mr. Yeowell is rationed ink, and uses blacks sparingly. Consequently his recent black and white work like the “Red Seas” looks “wispy”, with no weight behind it. Here, the vivid colouring by Chris Blythe fulfils that function, giving the art solidity (is that a word?), great stuff. The story itself is unremarkable, and feels like a refugee from “Tornado” or “Lion”.
“Jaegir” is captured and injected with a toxin that transforms her in “Circe”. The Rogue Trooper universe has lots of potential for stories, and telling the story from the perspective of the baddies is not a new idea, but is well executed. The plot is interesting and we’re learning more about our “heroine” and her encounters with a certain GI. Although this is only the second arc, I hope it won’t be a series of monster hunts. There is plenty of scope for stories that don’t involve mutation or latent genetic abnormality. Coleby’s art, though occasionally indistinct, is suitably dynamic and moody.
Definitely marking time until prog’ 1900. “Judge Dredd” is the main draw.