I liked it but it just isn’t that eye catching, which is a terrific shame as the talent on show is exceptional. It’s a good pose (it reminded me of the poster to Heavy Metal), the colours are lovely and the slightly bluish tinge to the metal brings out the depth. I think it’s the ridiculously large pony tail that ruins it as it wouldn’t look out of place on a giant blue space cat in Avatar.
I’d add extra points for “Breaking Badrock” but that pun is about three years too late.
Our bangle thief and his pregnant partner arrive at the city but a blunder by immigration staff sees him escape into the city.
This goes in an unexpected direction and is now a hunt for Yodie before he and the bangle fall into criminal hands. There is a nice self-deprecating line from Belle here where she ponders if people like them should have something like that. This is the outlook of the downtrodden, always forced to consider themselves undeserving.
Belle is revealed to have been knocked up by her own father lending the strip the disturbing aspect I mentioned in my review of the first part of this tale.
The ploy the immigration officials use (“expedited entry”) works well to a point but soon is rumbled with a press of the truth button. It is revealed the bangle has four powers (invisibility, short range teleport, truth telling and a blaster) leading Dredd to the conclusion that it must have been used by a spy of some description, especially since the invisibility power is undetectable by infrared.
Belle reveals that the skeleton it was taken off looked unnatural, possibly alien or mutant.
There’s also a nice bit of old school Dredd here where he dismisses Murty’s heavy approach in favour of clemency and a promise.
Loved the reference to an art droid being used as a sketch artist and the fact that Dredd had broken Aldrix and pieced it all together.
It was surprising to see Buxter and some of his people survived and are toiling away on a work farm for the rest of their lives, possibly a harsher sentence than that given to Aldrix.
There is a small typo on page 4 (“her” instead of “here”).
Flint pulls off some great work again as we’ve come to expect. Page 3 in particular has a drop dead gorgeous cityscape with a trench leading to the city gate. That makes a lot of sense as the traffic can be easily regulated using this depressed position and it would certainly make any gate assault easy to repel. The signs here are excellent pointing to a need to keep absolute order…or else.
Loved the Flint Lockjaw maddening lens flare on the brilliant Lawmaster on page 5.
Finally the dirty alley on the last page with the smashed up car, the scene of violence and the claret running into the gutter was a superb juxtaposition to the glittering city we saw earlier.
Lawson is called to a number of accidents and comes into contact with the aboriginal species.
It’s non canonical but is still enjoyable. Lawson is all the more interesting because of the mystery that she may not be who she says and that is cleverly understated here.
The exchange with the NGO enforcers was full of subtle threat and that’s nice storytelling too.
Likewise Lawson building bridges with uplifts and mutants alike in her conversations with them (“No one ever called me mister”) is all part of the world building and character showcasing which Abnett can do so well when he is on form. I suppose she’s also making inroads with the meks by having a robotic pussy between her legs.
The naming convention of the uplifts is funny since they’re now mountain gorillas being named Kill A Man Jaroo and Kay Too. It’s only a matter of time before we get Scar Fell and Whiskey Dick.
When Lawson gets the whammy put on her by the indigenous population, we seem to see the colonists depicted as vampires, perhaps because they are feeding on the lifeblood of the planet.
Her visit to Hetch will hopefully uncover what he knows about the situation.
It’s not going to set the world ablaze but I’m enjoying the read so far and am still interested as to where it goes.
The art is great with highlights being the expressions of the enforcers, the detail of the minework and the assorted labourers and the sheer kinetic brilliance of the CATT in action. Loved the look of the AB hovel too and the reflection of Lawson in the eyes of the ABs was masterfully carried off with just the right level of distortion.
THE MAN FROM THE MINISTRY:
Britton and co do battle with the alien fleet and we get a flashback to his abduction in 1953.
Britton it seems has been primed to face an enemy of which this is merely the first wave. To be honest this seemed a little like the Babylon 5 temporal preparedness arc and it made me wonder if it is Britton’s re-emergence that prompted the incursion in the first place as a paradoxical kickstarter.
It’s been good, light fluff up to this point and certainly seems to leave us with unanswered questions, perhaps all engineered to set up the team for future adventures.
Was it me or was the familiar alien on the beach a bit of a pilot episode of Deep Space 9 thing?
Britton not knowing of Turing is preposterous to say the least. Not only was Turing an amazing human being who had numerous scientific papers under his belt, he was also publicly humiliated only a year previously for the then criminal offence of homosexuality. So the explanation seems to be done for reader benefit, which seems clunky.
I dunno maybe his memory is scrambled which is how he also knows about a film released the year after he vanished.
It also seems weird that the sixty year old (and surprisingly armed) crate is more than a match for for the alien craft, all of which suffer from stormtrooper aim. Granted you could say that “alien technology built into the Turing” means that the antiquated vessel means that blah, blah, blah so it’s not a dodgy bit of writing. But if that’s the level of threat expected, why would they need to have prepared Britton?
At the end of the story we’re left with the formation of a new team and as young Miss Quatermain points out they are the MEN from the Ministry.
The art is a little hit and miss here, sadly. Hopgood’s pencil work is fabulous but the mixed media gives highs and lows. The alien faced girl is sufficiently unsettling but the close up is bloody awful which is a terrible shame.
Conversely the following page features a truly stunning stellar nursery in the sky above an awestruck Britton which sent a genuine grin to my otherwise dour countenance.
Dredd and Conti are hunted by the Pacification Robots and Wallace is revealed to be an Undercover Judge.
There’s a good feel of the film in here but it is not spectacular and seems to be sagging somewhat. It was nice to see even Dredd acknowledging that the metal bastards have turned the tide in their favour.
Wallace being revealed as an Undercover Judge makes sense but not him helping Mia from the outset unless he was specifically investigating Darryl. Or unless he knew the way that this would all pan out from reading the script.
The added value of Wallace being an Academic fellow of Dredd will hopefully be played out in character moments going forward. Wallace is also pretty bad ass, having decapitated a robot sent after him.
Darryl being in command of the robot forces via the headset could mean a switcheroo at the end of the story with the tinheads being employed by whoever gains possession of it.
A few niggles remain such as if Darryl likes to put the boot in and Conti has seen/knows about it then why not report it til now?
Dredd and Conti don’t recognise the sole operator of Uprise running up to them despite the alert going out. How does Mia find Dredd and Conti anyway?
Why is Dredd only now starting to think too many things don’t add up, if he has had all of this info from the start?
Nice art again, especially the robot close up on page 2. Loved the Judge in the background getting out his daystick to administer some pat wagon justice after Darryl asks “Can you take it from here?”
The graffiti behind Dredd on the last page was really funny too.
It could be an art fuck up but aren’t there too many robots at the end? Darryl tells units 17 through 21 to go and slot Dredd but there’s more than five robots showing up.
The Phil Winslade interview is pretty good and he’s clearly one to watch.
Ditto for the Lee Carter one with the encounter on the train.
I thought the Lynch/Coveney one was more of an advertorial though.
Regardless it is always great to see how writers and artists broke into the business.
Lobster Random is a decent read with some really lovely art.
Top thrill is Dredd again with Wagner and Flint being on superb form.