Loved this. It’s dynamic with a good sense of movement.
It also shows the denizens of the city in apeshit mode. That’s always good.
And Sump and Ump in partnership? Brilliant.
Blimey, that’s a dense first and second page.
It’s a huge info dump but is done so well that it actually works and there is more characterisation in just two pages than the entire run of Black Shuck. One cop having a good time with some extra marital fun while the other is a depressed drunk who wants desperately to go home.
We discover that these two new characters are time cops sent back in time from the 28th Century to recover an alien fugitive who has Lord Lucaned through time with some of their tech.
A small reminder here that the corpse that Yodie recovered the bracelet from was described as looking alien. To these time travellers, the Day of Chaos was merely an historical footnote so they probably have not considered that their quarry could have ended up falling victim during the madness and then been buried in one of the mass graves.
There’s also the knowledge that the alien had a time belt so that too may play a part.
To make matters harder, the bracelet is only detectable when it is active meaning that there is a narrow window for them to locate it.
The Judges once again try to sweet-talk Yodie into giving up, but when that fails he goes to a pawnbroker who immediately sells him out to criminals.
The idea of the robot clergy is brought up again and I love the fact that a soulless automaton is responsible for saving the imaginary souls of the faithful. That’s quality satire.
The Bishop also gives a stark reality of the Judges and their methods and it was interesting that as part of his “confessional help” he informs on the confessor
Now that Dredd shows up we’re set for the big finish next time.
Artwise this is still top stuff and I loved the mobile above crib which had eagles and Judge badges. It’s not only funny that such a thing exists but also begs the question about the indoctrination of the young.
It was also interesting to see the pawnbroker has a Judge helmet, the cosmic claw and the head of a Hammerstein.
I spotted one possible fuck up with the speech balloon in the pawnbroker scenes- panel six.
The Cathedral Of Grud In The City was absolutely gorgeous. The stained glass windows were superbly done and the Robot Bishop was fabulous.
Well, that ended quickly.
After Hetch says Lawson is not actually Lawson, because he has spotted that she never uses her Lawgiver (as I mentioned last issue) and Lawson immediately deflects this by pointing the gun at his head, talking about how he flipped the fuck out.
As it transpires he snapped and killed nine people so he is banged up in a cell with psi dampers.
The Fullminarite crystals mined on the planet appear to be used not only in jump drives but also have psychoactive properties. This is getting into Dune territory…
Anyway on the basis of the crystal effects, the planet gets its mane. Bad rock, see.
The locals have also taken to booze to blot out the effects of the human thoughts brought out by this mining. The clearly dislike the humans for raping their planet. Humans bad. Aliens good.
Astonishingly, Lawson and her oppo only now just find out about the crystals by Googling them. You would have thought that such a thing would be common knowledge, especially for the miners and everyone in the town.
“What’s that? You want me to mine Uranium with a pick? Let me just check Google, and…oh….fuck you.”
We end with Lawson going to see the Abs and the word Freely comes up again and again. I wonder what it can possibly mean?
So, nice tie into the Insurrection story there and though we only get a partial resolution we have a decent intro to the setting and characters.
The layouts here are gorgeous and the black and white art has been stunning throughout the run. That panel of Lawson pointing her Lawgiver at Hetch was the standout for me. It’s an image that tells you everything in expression, pose and composition.
The panels in the bar are amazing, with so much stuff going on in the background.
Her hair is still fucking ridiculous though.
TALES FROM MEGA CITY 1:
Lovely art in this from Darren Douglas and the background stuff brought home some old school Toothy goodness. I refer of course to the look of the city itself (just check out the amazing last page) and the signage. With gems such as Wok RU Like? (complete with a dude with a wok jauntily balanced on his head), Adam Curtis Psychiatric and World of Aardvarks, we’re spoiled for choice.
Top prize goes to Dreamytime Escorts. Any comic strip with a Comic Strip reference is a winner for me.
There was some brilliant work on page 6 panel 2 where we just get to see July from the chin down, much like a helmetless Dredd.
The characters are well fleshed out with the highlight being the 50 year old July who thinks she is Dredd and even has a home-made uniform. Our main protagonist, Kelvin, has an imaginary friend called Kelvin who appears to him as a huge furball.
Setting this against the backdrop of Chaos Day gives this a sense of urgency and the character of the city is there in fine form.
The text story struggled in just two pages and like a lot of these text adventures, Dredd is purely incidental.
So, ok but not a good Dredd story.
With the Judges falling back and the robots not helping for some unknown reason (they weren’t all attacking Dredd or hanging out in the sewer) the plot gets convoluted before a swift wrap up.
Wallace, who serves only to unite Dredd with Mia, plays no further part except the epilogue.
It was interesting to see the Grand Canal (how did the mech could get down there?) wasn’t wide enough for a Manta Tank.
I wasn’t sure how fire or a flashover methane explosion could destroy the robots but fuck it.
The only nice thing was Dredd shooting the mech at the end, even though he had no need to. The ultimate disdain for trial by machine.
Is Dredd also going to give Conti a pass even though she let a perp escape and has made at least two lapses of Judgement?
We’re also promised an investigation that probably won’t happen and in the end it is Mia who ends up catching the mastermind.
Bottom line, this was another empty promise in the end.
I think fundamentally it had three real flaws. It lacked any bite, humour or sense of danger. A Dredd story has to have one or more of those to succeed and the plundering of other stories (The Pit, Mechanismo and Raider) for inspiration didn’t help. In the end I just didn’t care.
It annoyed me that with Dredd literally shooting through his robots, Daryll (whose name spelling has changed over the series) didn’t detonate his bomb. He was ready to go so the delay and chatting was all about keeping him talking for the plot to wrap up. There was no logical reason for Darryl to have NOT pushed the button. That’s just formulaic writing.
The only bonus to this run has been the art which was complimented by some gorgeous colours.
The Paul Davidson interview is good and the Arthur Wyatt one was uninspiring but will be interesting to see if he can push some boundaries with his incoming work.
Rose O’Rion is sexist filth and needs to be banned under my ill-conceived and knee jerk righteous indignation.
In reality, the script was Ok but the art was superb.
Has to be Dredd again with Wagner and Flint being a dynamic partnership.