Two reviews in a matter of days? This may or may not be related to the fact that he’s stopped reading the Bible for a week. Anyway here is Orlok with his take on 1898…
Now that is just lovely and though I don’t get the hardcopies any more as I am clickwheel bitch, I bet that would stand out beautifully on the shelves.
Hang on, did I say lovely? I mean pant wettingly terrifying. The colours and composition here are awesome and the look the babies are putting out gives me chills. Zombies and children are two of my biggest fears and it isn’t helped by the Carnifex in mid scream either. It’s horrible…but in a really good way.
Even the logo colouring works with the smoky effect even permeating that.
Inside, Mesmer Tharg informs us of another Beeby/Rennie tale in the horror themed Winter Special. The art looks pretty sweet.
With Dallas’s power revealed, Dredd comes face to face with the Lawlords.
Art first. It’s been really good this time out with a gorgeous use of layouts and a range of colours that compliment it perfectly. Marshall has been an excellent choice to carry on the fine work of Richard Elson in portraying the Lawlords so hats off to the Green One there. He also really manages to pull off the size difference between Dredd (who is a strapping lad) and the aliens.
And there is a great laser effect as the unfortunate Reyer is zapped. And that punch to the windpipe…class.
My favourite is that panel of Hershey in black and red on the bottom of page 2. Brilliant work and full of character.
One slight issue but it’s very minor. Dredd’s Lawgiver is tiny in the Lawlords’ hands but their gun seems none too large for Joe to wield.
The script is perhaps a little better than last week but not without issues and questions which may or may not be answered next week.
While we’re on that… Dredd has long been my go to strip in the Prog and for my money Michael Carroll is THE person to take on the role of lead writer if Wagner ever decides to hang up his Lawgiver. His knowledge of the Dredd universe and 2000AD as a whole is phenomenal and that’s just the sort of passion needed to pick up reins. As good as Ewing, Williams and even Rennie are, no one gets Dredd like Carroll in my opinion. This recent story though is a misfire for me (even Wagner had them) and I’ll say why it doesn’t work for ME personally.
Psi Div helpfully deduce that Dallas is an Empath (nice work guys) and can manipulate every citizen as a cascade effect. That makes him the most powerful psyker ever seen in the Dreddworld stories and he’s even stronger than The Mutant and Shojan. As a double rated psi who could not be scanned effectively before, how does Psi Div deduce this now? Is it just a guess based on the events? And do Psi capable humans now count as mutants?
The Lawlords state that they were in touch with Dallas before the mutant laws were repealed (2130 I think) and so it’s somewhat convenient/remarkable (delete as applicable) that Dallas was in the city afterward the mutants were invited to leave, wasn’t deported, survived Chaos Day, fled to the Undercity, got captured by the Goblin King, was rescued by Dredd and managed to bag himself a job in a position where he could meet Knight who conveniently/remarkably knew how to use the 80 year old kit in orbit and KO the current defences and let the Lawlords in. I’m not being overly critical here I’m just observing what is put before me and asking the question.
It is interesting that the Department has a long range vessel capable of destroying the Lawlord homeworld and all 15 billion inhabitants and will do so given the right set of circumstances. I found this a bit distasteful but was willing to go with it. It isn’t quite the Apocalypse War with the Sov boot heel on the tender throat of the Big Meg. There is a world of Mega Cities to consider here and perhaps the first course of action should be a declaration of war against the Lawlords coming from them as mutual defence. To wipe out an entire species without trying all the options appears brutal but if that’s the story then that’s how it is.
With the Iconoclast blown to pieces and Dredd supposedly on board, Hershey is not having anything of it until she’s seen the body. Good move and nice a nice bit of character there and it’s a good reveal as Dredd goes to the Lawlord ship in his commandeered craft.
Again, though, it seems an oversight of the Lawlords to leave Dredd alive. If they can target any Judge in the city and they knew that was an empty Lawmaster going up the ramp, why blow up the ship? Surely they’d have just blown up the vehicle Dredd actually got into, either on the ground or in space?
As predicted, Reyer goes for the simpler solution and walks up to Gideon to announce her plans (groan). She is then zapped for her efforts. I covered the folly of this last week.
It’s also pretty interesting that the Lawlords have a one punishment system and in order to make this work they’re going to clean slate all crimes committed. So if you got banged up yesterday for mass murder you’re back on the streets. That’s a little harsh on the family of the victims, but being aliens they probably don’t think that way.
As the Lawlords are larger Dredd makes the logical leap that they evolved on a world with a higher gravity. Luckily that gamble pays off though size (up to a point) is not always governed solely by gravity but also concurrent factors such as evolution. On our own planet we have horses the size of dogs. These horses did not evolve under higher gravity. Regardless, wouldn’t the Lawlords have their own gravity on their own ship meaning Dredd would be disadvantaged as he is fighting in a lower gravity environment?
Bottom line, there is a good story basis with some real meat in here (the doomsday weapon, the citizens easily manipulated to riot) but the short run, extraordinary convenience and the direction away from Knight makes this a miss for me. There is sometimes a disconnect between the story we want and the story we get and I understand that but I personally feel there are two good tales to be told here as separate stories and with a good run (perhaps a dozen episodes) of the Lawlords story, Carroll could have made this EPIC and city changing.
A drunken and shaking Felix recounts the terror he has just witnessed.
Luckily, the cutthroats that the Diviner spoke to last week were able to convince the mob to torch the city (what are the odds?) and as it all goes to pot we get a nice little set piece as Felix has apparently entered the home of a terrified family and stolen their booze. As he recounts the tale we see the fight in flashback and learn he was responsible for pulping the zombie babies sent after him.
It’s pretty creepy how he recalls their giggling and the agony at having to chop them up into neonatal meat chunks.
This has been a good end run from Rennie and has ramped up the tension nicely for the finish and kept the script tight as a drum.
There are some lovely lines in here with the joke about the randy Greek on an island without goats being a standout. I just hope my Greek friend Demetrios doesn’t get racially offended by this. He prefers alpacas, anyway.
In an eye opening turn of events it is Aquila himself who reluctantly has to nail up Peter at the Vatican, although I must confess that my history is a little hazy and when I visited the Vatican some years ago I could have sworn that the martyrdom of Peter occurred three months after the fire that destroyed much of Rome. I’ll have to dig out my guidebook and those bone fragments I stole.
The best thing has been the art with Gallagher pulling out all the stops and portraying Aquila as a force of brutality that seems to be half man and half rhino.
The bottom of page 1 with Felix pinned to the wall while red eyed zombie cherubs swarm is astonishing and the glowing eyes (blue for Aquila, red for the Carnifex- it’s Jedi vs Sith) being the focal point of the silhouette fight is superb.
And what a last panel and next prog line.
Wren and the gang come face to metal face with a robot bastard.
I’ve fallen out of love a bit with Brass Sun and though the action hots up a little here the pacing hasn’t been benefitted by the small bites we have had. The last few weeks have been like watching a drunken relative cross an icy street.
What confused me this week is that Captain Greenhair stated last week that these were top of the line shooters that had the capacity to take out the enemy and half the room they are in. Er, where was that a realisation this week? These were no better than pop guns.
There was a nice revelation that the robot, an agent of Modernity, can see Vonnegut meaning he isn’t totally in Wren’s head.
When Ramkin appears and blows it out of the window he gets a snog from Ariel but considering the rounds make no holes in the agent, I doubt it is gone for good.
It’s clever stuff but stymied by the format.
The panel layouts are lovely, the action flows nicely and the colours are great. Apart from that I have little to offer as it’s been business as usual.
Shuck goes up against Overdal but falls foul of the King’s men.
Well it’s all action again as our boy gets right in and lops off Overdal’s head. Sadly this doesn’t work and like Sabbat from Judgement Day the head just bounces around and keeps going on about stuff. It’s pretty comical in retrospect and reminded me of the decapitated Vyvyan Basterd in “Bambi”.
Apparently since Shuck drank the blood of a skinwalker (instead of just getting bitten or scratched by one) then he can shapeshift into beast form while still retaining some semblance of intelligence and communication. And clothing. The absolute opposite of most Brits abroad, actually.
The unfortunate Northman that Shuck is sharing the boat with is in fact the shapeshifter he bites, so after a brief bit of man on bear action the Viking gets tossed off. The boat I mean.
I’m not sure if being peppered by arrows will do for Shuck while he is in beast form. In fact I’d be surprised if it did.
Anyone still playing Ron Burgundy bingo gets to shout “Line!” when “By Odin’s beard” is uttered by Ivar’s men. Down your pint and collect your prize, sir.
I think there have been three problems with the story. First the flashbacks have hobbled the pace, second the action has come too late to save the uneven tale and third the supporting characters are either not there or exist purely to die without revealing anything that fleshes out the inner man, woman or bear.
Steve Yeowell is still a good artist but there are limitations on his work. One of these is drawing effective scary monsters. His bears look too cute to be seen as dangerous and even Timothy Treadwell would regard them as beneath his ursine loving.
Great colours and some fairly decent action save this but there are stronger projects out there for his resurgent talents.
Atalia and her men come face to face with the Dollmaster.
Confusingly Circe turns out to a person, no it’s a drug, no hang on a person. Glad that is sorted.
Atalia gives her people the instruction to minimise casualties since they are fighting their own. Umm doesn’t she fight her own for a living? And didn’t she and Klaur hospitalise lots of these renegades at the opening of the story?
It’s no surprise to anyone that Mabuse is in his GI onesie. What was really interesting is that he has a biochip and that this is hooked up to a network. When Jaegir shoots him up with a drug that inhibits his ability to upload elsewhere this traps him in the biochip.
What wasn’t interesting and made me groan was her giving this chip to Heize, the most untrusted member of her squad. I wonder if Mabuse will show up again because of this?
When Atalia gives instructions to burn the body, Klaur says that it may have research value. That’s odd since he knows from the earlier conversation that the Norts had lots of these from Nu Earth and clearly didn’t give enough of a fuck about them to stop Mabuse running off with a job lot of them as well as some knitting patterns.
With the ticking timebomb in her veins it seems we are set for a next arc with Atalia and the gang hunting for Circe and a cure. I’m not sure if this is a nod to the Horst storyline or not.
What a first page!
Mabuse is also made to look gigantic compared to the Norts he is blowing away.
The final panel, though nice, reeks of cliché.
Circe’s a badass female, and is therefore shapely instead of a pig in knickers. She’s got an air of sophistication as she’s holding a wine glass in THAT manner. Oh and she’s got an eyepatch which is the go to trope to show edginess and toughness in one.
I’m surprised we didn’t see her shooting a puppy in the face.
As you can tell I haven’t enjoyed this run of Jaegir. I keep saying this but Rennie can knock them out of the fucking park when he’s on form but this run has been cliché after cliché and because of that I found it unengaging. Had I not been reviewing it, I’d have skipped it, which is a shame as I’d have missed some gorgeous art.
Aquila ticked all the boxes this week.