Not loving the Prog at present, here is Orlok with his take on 1896…
This is nice and vibrant but perhaps a bit too florid for my tastes and ruins a little of the peril being faced by our bearded hero.
Fabry has done some anatomical perfection in the past so I was a little perturbed at the sword arm looking as it did.
The detail is lovely (such as the bulging eyeball from the elbow strike) but my main bugbear is that he’s not really wearing the same outfit inside so if it hadn’t have said it was Shuck on the cover I might have just thought it was Daryle Dixone in 813CE chopping up some walkers. Looks like a different boat too. And there’s five zombies instead of two.
Still it was nice to see Alan Moore looking on to the right of Shuck. He seems well.
Inside, Mesmer Tharg tries to convince us that the one line joke of Droid Life is justified being spread to four panels.
Knight and Dallas sell the Big Meg out to the Law Lords.
Well, I have to admit I did not see that coming and we’re left with a good sense of menace.
What started as a fish out of water story with observation of what the future has become gives way to an interstellar invasion of sorts.
Seeing how 1900 is a jump on prog I’m not sure how this is going to pan out since they have to get what could be major ramifications sorted before then. Unless this is all just a Watchmen style ploy in which case Knight and Dallas will be exxed.
Though I found it hard to fathom why so many cits would show up to Gideon’s address (do they really give a shit?) I was willing to go with it out of curiosity.
There were a few issues I had with what happened though.
First, the satellite system predates the Judges taking over so their existence is not really their fault. I can just about buy that they haven’t been decommissioned or shot out of orbit.
Second, the Judges have significantly more powerful weapons in orbit as used in the run up to Chaos Day so why are they bothering with the old shit?
Third, Knight has gone rapidly from decorated but gobby hero to terrorist who has just sold out the entire human race to slavery (the Big Meg is merely a foothold). Gone is the interesting woman out of time and in her place is a McGuffin.
Fourth, if Gideon is aware of the Lawlords and somehow made contact with them, then he must know they’re utter dicks and not immune to fucking things up.
Fifth, after the multinational directive made against the Lawlords, why are they now chancing their arm?
Sixth, the old trope of being locked out of the system and unable to pull the plug is dragged out and shot before our disbelieving eyes.
Carroll really knows his stuff so this was a disappointment for me. I don’t like being negative about stories, but I have to honestly point this out for a review, same as I do for other tales.
The art is still lovely with great layouts and a cool panel of the statue being lasered from orbit.
The use of screens around the city shows nicely how far Gideon’s message has penetrated.
Marshall’s art style is a great fit for Elson’s (who Lawcon back in the day) so that was a good choice.
It’s all out in the open now as Aquila goes off to meet his destiny and the gang try their best to wash the blood out of their clothes.
Have I said how much I hate Leigh Gallagher? The skill here is tremendous and that is a hell of a first page, soaked in the blood of the citizens and with a sense of scale to die for. Gallagher saves the best for last though as that tree full of corpses with the sunlight cascading through (thanks to Teague) and the zombie cherubs is just jaw droppingly good. It suckers you in nicely with the civility of the flitting butterflies and a well-dressed table of food.
He really brings this stuff to life.
Though I’m finding the story pretty standard and fairly unbalanced as it shifts from monster kill of the week to intrigue, there is no doubting Rennie’s historical credentials.
Even the “fauna’s sacred bush” raised a smile from me.
What I didn’t like was the trope of the small guy facing off with a superior enemy, who all run away. As he thinks it is him, it is revealed to be the hulking maniac behind him that scared them. I’ve seen this used maybe 10-12 times now in various media and it lost all appeal at the third.
Once again we get the action happening off camera with no explanation as to how the trio got away from the zombie baby killing machines.
With Miriam dead, Peter captured as a precursor to Australian crucifixion and Aquila due a date with a Caesar things are building towards a nice conclusion.
The subtle evil of Nero here is perfect and a far cry from the panto villain we have seen in weeks gone by.
So, bottom line is this is better but still a far cry from Rennie’s best.
It’s all gone a bit Sky Captain as Ariel eliminates the Sweet Sisters and their Tit Ship, sacrificing the Nominal Charge into the bargain. Oh, the humanity!
Well, we’re a bit further along and Ariel’s choice at destroying her own pride and joy is keenly felt. I had to part with a pair of underpants last week that had served me well these twenty years.
The “escape vehicle” seems to be more heavily armed than a Federation Starship but it gets the job done.
My main issue is that it’s highly reliant on the visuals which will be great in a collection but poor in bite sized chinks. The thing seems to be an explosion of colour and then gone for seven days.
And doesn’t the loss of both ships mean no gaseous clay unless they prise it out of Ramkin’s gaping hole?
The colours are once again beautiful as the fighter/escape ship rakes the blimps with leaden death. The explosion on page 3 was awful though and that should not have been a splash page worthy image. The panels surrounding it are nice and expressive but…meh.
It looks like some of the Red Witch’s crew got to the chutes but one of the poor bastards is on fire. I wonder if the huge explosion will attract the attention of the big fish?
The queen comes on to Shuck while the flashback reveals a bit of granny murder.
There is some good angle use from Yeowell and the backgrounds, though coloured drably to fit in with the mood, are densely populated and evocative.
The colours have made him work that little bit harder I think and it’s been well worth it.
Was it me or did the hair colour of one of the animated corpses change for a panel?
Sadly the snail pace script is still mundane to the point where I can’t remember if I had read it or not?
Hopefully the fact that Shuck is getting to some action by riding out with a sword (from the gold pile) and mallet means this will kick it all off.
It was nice that Grendel’s mum brought him some corpses and the stiffs getting reanimated was a particularly gruesome twist as was Shuck’s lobbing a zombie at the woman. That’s the first stiff she’s had in her rear in years.
I wonder what will happen to Shuck’s companion? Actually, not sure I care.
We’re missing an energetic thread here with all the backwards and forwards stuff and though I appreciate the story telling idea, it just doesn’t work.
Atalia turns out to be alive and is infected by Circe.
This is better than last week with a heavy element being put on Atalia’s father and the attempt by the Southers to ice him before the hostilities.
An effort has apparently been made to procure Atalia’s DNA for some nefarious reason and also inject her with the drug.
One of Atalia’s assailants helpfully explains to the readership that she is hallucinating. Yeah, I guess the hallucinogenic gas she inhaled as part of your strategy probably had that effect, Einstein.
Said genius goes on to point out to the readers that this is his ass and over there is a hole in the ground.
I get (as the erudite Sauchie points out) that Rennie is going down the thematic route and that’s a brave narrative device but Atalia’s strong female character credentials are weakening as we progress. Daddy issues, fear of the GI, haunted by the past, forced to kill an ex-lover and now used as a pawn by two criminals. The trap she walked into was almost as bad as her twisting her ankle after running in heels. I’m not saying she cannot be a rounded character free of all psychological motivations, I’m saying Rennie is laying these on far too thick.
We also get another flashback history lesson in lieu of actual story progression.
Atalia’s two comrades at the end helpfully open the door back to the main bar allowing more hallucinogenic gas to flood through just as their boss was coming out of it.
Good work, guys. Promotions all round.
The art is glorious once again though I was put off by a few things.
Atalia’s home seems decidedly low tech for a space faring race. Yeah, I know there’s a retro appeal but after the Hansel and Gretel cottage of a few weeks back it’s all a bit…1939.
Also, I never noticed it before but Coleby seems to draw a lot of women similarly faced. The dead Souther could easily be Atalia herself.
While we’re on this, that Souther gets shot in the noggin and yet when the mask comes off there is seemingly no entry wound.
Some great stuff here too. The trippy effects of the hallucinogen and the warping of the masks were tremendous and it gave me a tingle to see the black hole over Nu-Earth, the battlefield and the full face masks of the Southers.
Dredd by the slimmest of margins.