Blimey, we’re getting close to the jump on, so here’s a last push towards the finish…
Alex Ronald is a living god and this beautiful bastard is a contender for cover of the year.
Somewhat old school and with a fucking speech bubble this gives you an eye catching taste of what is inside. That’s the very scope of a cover’s job.
The logo is fully visible and vibrant and the city rising behind has a Blade Runneresque feel to it, especially with the vehicle in the foreground.
The slight interference on the screen makes it evident that the broadcast is unscheduled and the neon effects are sublime.
There’s even an Irish bar there. There’s one everywhere. When that mission to Mars finally tales place they’ll find a Malone’s already in place.
Inside Mesmer Tharg tries to convince us that Spiderman 2 is worth having on dvd.
We also get an advert for The Third Law, which was released back in June. Nice PR there about six weeks too late.
With the situation desperate, Dredd heads to the JDSS McGuffin where he is blown to smithereens. I’m going to miss him.
Fuck it, let’s get straight to the biscuits.
So Dredd knew his threat to the Lawlords wouldn’t hold forever. Ok I guess that’s fair but why are we only hearing about defence plans now? Why wasn’t this mentioned at the end of the Lawcon story? The ansible is a convenient device here which serves the purpose of one of the deus ex machina contraptions employed in some of the poorer episodes of Star Trek and never heard from again.
If Dredd is the big problem they suspect and fear him thwarting them why haven’t the lasers vaporised him? Even the Judda knew to target key personnel.
The cits are celebrating when Dallas lays out the plan for Lawlord domination so why is this happening? Does Dallas have a power undetectable by normal scans? Mind you I suppose some people will buy any old shit. Apple slaves, mostly.
The entire defence grid is locked out by a virus which I can figure if the grid was purely the 80 year old systems that Knight was involved with but what about the rest (Dan-E Cannon anyone)? Remember that the city had lots of kit up there at the start of 2104 that was newer than the old defence cannons so it would be foolish to think these were not replaced when the Big Meg got back up and running.
This story also seems to paint the Big Meg as the focal point of humanity. If the Lawlords have shown up, why haven’t other cities done anything?
I can’t get over how utterly useless Hershey appears here and we’re back to the old staple of “Dredd’ll sort it out, you just sit there and pout”.
There were some good bits though. It was interesting that Dolman has seen what the Lawlords do during his very brief time in the Space Corps. Against his advice Reyer is going to intervene. That’s fair enough. Now the Lawlords are out in the open there’s nothing to stop her blowing away both Dallas and Knight under the Security of the City Act. If she walks up announcing her intentions and attempting an arrest this will be piss poor.
That also looked like a Rookie in the control room showing how understaffed the department is.
Bottom line, unless we’re going to get the rug pulled out from under us, then an opportunity for a fish out of water story with Knight has been lost in favour of a poorly conceived and ill thought out extra-terrestrial threat. That threat story should be bigger than this and have real impacts not only for the city but for Earth too.
The art is still nice. There are a cool couple of panels of Judges under attack by irate citizens. I also chuckled out loud at the panel of the Citi Def family getting tooled up. Even teddy had a helmet on. And how cute was the little girl with her hand grenade?
The symbol of the Lawlords appears to be a clenched fist. Very apt since I feel like I have been anally violated by the story.
Aquila and Ukko attempt to break St Peter out of the greybar hotel. They are interrupted by the Carnifex and enough dead babies to make Vera Drake blush.
Well it’s no surprise that Aquila is to be head number 7 but the logic escapes me. It’s like contracting Chuck Norris to take out a number of heavy hitters and then sending Cheryl Cole to then take down Chuck. Sure, Cheryl might have the natural inbred propensity for violence common to all Geordies and a track record for close combat in something resembling a shithouse but Chuck is an unkillable monster that cannot be stopped. As soon as she stretches out her Benson &Hedges stained claws he’ll roundhouse kick her in the face.
I’m also puzzled by the convenience of the three thugs the Diviner encounters. He offers them lots of hard work, the risk of being killed and taking on armed guards in order to get rich. Or they could kill him right now and take his gold and still take on the armed guards and get rich. It seems also that he has randomly stumbled upon the three cut-throats in the city who are able to influence the mob and get them ready for revolt in a matter of hours.
Nero’s witch also descends into little woman stereotype preferring to remain at his side rather than rule herself. How dull.
Also if Aquila can just hoof the door in, why wasn’t that the opening gambit?
As it played out it worked better with the sword through the slot being very nice indeed. Reminds me a little of Dredd and co gaining access to the fortified East Meg bunker.
I’m glad the action is hotting up and though once again we don’t get a fight scene, we do get a nice diversion with Ukko taking bets with his captive.
Some of the dialogue was nice with this one having “Jovus wept”, “Venus’s open clamshell”, “Castor and Pollux to that” and “Bloody flora” being particular gems.
Gallagher is phenomenal here and page 1 with the Carnifex and demon babies in red eyed terror is a jaw dropper.
The prisoner’s face as he watches the carnage unfold (and is splashed with claret) is just fab and that last panel is just amzaeballs and brimming with suspense.
The gang make it to Pei’s palace to find everyone dead.
Again, not much happens. Pei’s palace is fucked up by a single individual who has all the cheat codes.
The gang get their hands on some heavy firepower pistols and we understand that the enemy they face has torn apart some hard as nails marines. It is therefore one very tough cookie but I’m sure the guns will take care of that. Why else would they be mentioned? I doubt we’ve seen the last of Ramkin now that the magic spooge has healed him.
Vonnegut guiding Wren once again was nice though it was a surprise to see Pei and his daughter beheaded so churlishly.
Nice art, good colours and framing. Apart from that…not much going on.
Shuck transforms into the cutest widdle bearw in the world. Yes he does. Yes he does!
Finally some action, and only about six weeks too late. Oh, and another flashback about three years too early.
These flashbacks have been over indulgent and almost as annoying as the ones in Lost.
This strip has taken a while to get started because of these and I think that’s been a terrible shame. There’s a good story here waiting to get out.
The art is still nice although the King of the Jotunn at the end looks more like a Middle Eastern Djinn than a Norse monster.
Yeowell can draw a nice horse’s arse, I’ll give him that.
The colours are really, really good so I’d like to see Yeowell and Blythe together again on a better project.
Atalia wakes up and remembers her first meeting with Klaur. Plans are made to go after the Dollmaster.
So, Klaur saved Atalia’s life after she was about to be brained by a Souther with a laser swagger stick. Because of that she puts up with his jokes even the ones ripped off shamelessly from The Untouchables. That line was just painful.
With Circe running through her veins it remains to be seen if this will trigger Atalia’s taint or if she’ll just be cured. I’m finding it hard to care at this stage.
It was interesting that Heize uttered “mother of God” which is against state law. The trope of the secretly flawed party member is played at last and I wondered how long that would take.
Finally there is the revelation that the Dollmaster planned the whole injection thing all along, which means he anticipated Atalia at every turn and knew she would pursue the men he sent, wouldn’t stop to help her comrade, that neither she nor Klaur would shoot them in the knees, that Klaur would get shot in a way that stopped him, that Atalia would enter the chem bar without a mask, etc. That’s a bit convenient isn’t it?
We do get to see how utterly evil he is because we had no idea up to this point with snapping a neck or acting like the Nort version of Jame Gumm. He blames Atalia for her father’s sins so is going to “break her” using a body most effective for the task. I wonder if he’ll pick the GI.
Again the wickedness in Rennie’s characters is laid on thick with a trowel. A few weeks ago Nero was talking about cutting up Christian children with a knife and this time it’s the Dollmaster talking about violating Atalia. I’ve likened this to the “Sound Of Drums” episode of Doctor Who were we saw the Master had enslaved Earth and killed millions. To hammer the point home he was also shown to beat his wife. That’s just the kind of labouring being done here. Subtle it ain’t but overkill it definitely is.
I keep saying this because I believe it to be true, Rennie is a far better writer than this and I want it to get better.
The art is just amazing though I was once again struck by the startling similarity in the female faces. Coleby made up for this with the beautiful shot of the city with the river ablaze and the intensity of the action at the start.
The colours are just perfect.
Dredd’s gone off the rails for me and with Aquila being funny this week and having that stunning art I’m giving it to the Nubian.