That’s a bit lovely and festive and a wraparound cover to be enjoyed over and over.
Loved the Dreddish frown on the snowman, the Cal Hab Judge in a boing bubble, the SJS Judge with his naughty /nice list and the cute little Dark Judges. Classic MacNeil carried off brilliantly and one of the covers of the year as far as I am concerned.
Inside we have an announcement on the Judge Dredd Mega Collection. I have to admit two things here. First, these books look lush. Second, the PR for this has been perfect with it all over social media and t’interwebz. For a change this has been done properly and this is exceptional to see. Well done, PR people. Well done, indeed.
Keep that fine work up.
From the opener of Dredd in cover, blazing away, this delivers a suitable end.
I loved the robot protesting “These are mere weak humans!”; that was funny.
When said priest is taken hostage we get the instant classic “Never was one for religion. Armour piercing.”
The hilarity continues with the priest on the fritz, conducting an invisible wedding and marvelling at the sudden re-appearance of Yodie.
Despite the humour, Dredd handing out brainshots (“Terminating!”) is typical of the seriousness of this search and the added complication of Yodie losing his pants and Murphy/Renbow) showing up doesn’t put him off his game.
I suppose that is what makes Wagner the undisputed master here as he blends laugh out loud humour with terminal brutality in a heartbeat.
The revelation goes as expected. Modrick, the fugitive alien, fell victim to Chaos Day and this is explained to the time agents. Unfortunately they know that Modrick is a shape shifter so suspect that Yodie is now their quarry and continue to try and put him down.
Rarely, for a Dredd tale, we get a happy ending of sorts.
Yodie and Belle both survive, getting a reprieve, an apartment and a job. The future looks bright.
Murphy returns to his much missed own timeline with a tale of Renbow’s sacrifice.
Renbow skips out and goes back to her boyfriend, keeping a low profile with her future tech.
The bad guys get killed by Dredd. No real happy ending but, you know, fuck them.
Justice Department gets its hands on tech that is centuries ahead of the competition. Could this small item be responsible for seeing the city return to its place at the top of the tree? Properly researched and applied, this tech could make them a superpower.
Artwise this is excellent and a fitting finish from Flint. I did notice that Dredd’s gun is very reminiscent of the 2012 movie here, which was a nice but puzzling touch.
There appears to be another speech balloon fuck up on page 8, panel 7.
Right, it’s no surprise I don’t like this. I find the photo realism over indulgent and actually unpleasant to look at. Sustained over 18 pages it’s like eyeball torture devised by a zen master.
This is a rare misstep from St Pat and might have been better as a one shot.
Not a bad start. I liked the development of the story as a (left for dead) Demarco regains her memory via a series of flashbacks. The final revelation that she has been cleaned out financially means she is hand to mouth detecting from here on out. Her advantage of billions of creds is now gone and she’s a bit like Bruce Wayne trying to fight crime with a sockful of quarters instead of a bank balance that is equivalent to the GDP of North Africa.
Stabbing a guy through the kneecap was pretty grim and not quite sure that is physically possible. Still, it made me wince.
One script quibble- Demarco uses the term “phone” instead of “com”, which I believe is the catch all Mega City parlance for hand held communication units.
Best line- “I’m claiming her jacket and pants”.
The white backgrounds again do nothing for the strip and though the idea of the black and white art is probably to give this a noirish, gumshoe feel, Yeowell is the wrong artist for that. It needs to be denser and more oppressive for that theme. To be a successful one.
Some attempt has been made to add depth but the sparsely populated backdrop plays against it more often than not.
The flashback scenes are a greyscale which isn’t different enough at first glance. Perhaps an added Dutch angle to the panels may have worked better. We do get one really nice double panel of Demarco looking fresh and another of her looking pained. That works so there is some gold in here.
What doesn’t work is more sameface action.
My biggest criticism is for the fight scenes which lack any kinetics and sense of thrill.
I’ll end on a good note and say that I liked the look of the city street at the end, including the weird mutt.
This was nice and lays some groundwork for a potential sequel. It was smartly written and paced well.
Well this was interesting stuff and the different narrative devices for the three main characters was again noirish and well executed.
An interesting tale about an indebted diplomat who wants to stay in the debauched beginnings of Euro Cit turns foul when he is implicated in a murder/blackmail plot for some juicy codes. The revelation that Guillory is on the take is not unexpected and it remains to be seen what he will do with the defence codes now that he has killed Hooper and pocketed the things. Historically we know that this has no immediate ramifications, at least none that have been mentioned. However there are threads being drawn together and I’m interested to see where it goes.
I swear Willsher’s art is getting better and better. It’s certainly getting bloodier as there is claret flying about like fists at a gypsy wedding.
Rounds don’t just hit home here, they explode their targets into chunky salsa. I loved the close-up of Hooper’s eyes reflecting the shell casings as it all kicks off, too. Classy stuff.
It was nice to see the Eiffel Tower smashed up. I hated being up that thing.
My only quibbles are the bike (where’s the period Lawmaster?) and the uniform.
Dredd has two identical shoulder pads, a different badge and the visor does not have the usual eyepiece. We’ve seen flashback stories to further back than this before, some quite recently (Judgement) so why is the uniform different? These changes would be ok for 2070, but not when we know that Dredd was wearing the “proper” one for ten years by this point.
The bike itself is made up almost entirely of wheels and guns and though this serves to distance the style of policing from that of the Euro City officers (check out the panel of the bikes together- one is transport; the other is military grade killware) it just feels wrong that we aren’t seeing the classic design.
The interview with Si Spencer is interesting and candid, especially about the feedback to the much derided Creep. Personally I didn’t rate it as I don’t think it fitted in the Dredd universe, but that’s just me.
The floppy was Plagues of Necropolis which were very hit and miss and I didn’t re-read them this time. I’d actually perused these six months ago so they are fresh in the head.
Wagner/Flint Dredd takes the top spot.