Fresh from reading Purgatory and Inferno, here is Orlok with a moderately upbeat take on the Prog…
Say what you like about Nick Percival but his work is really unique. I’ll be brutally honest here and say that his earlier work (especially Brit Cit Brute) left me utterly cold but he has progressed and evolved to produce work of stunning quality like Traumatown. This cover continues that fine tradition. My only issues are that the Quartz here does not quite look like the one inside and that the subject matter is not really that dynamic. It’s like trying to showcase a posed Dyson. The other thing is that the brain looks huge here. If that is an actual human brain, his body will be about three feet tall.
The cover line riffs nicely on 80s shitfest “Howard The Duck” and the pose and speech balloon also says 1980s to me. I like that.
I’ve always found Quartz a little camp so the speck balloon might have been better as “Get me, Savage!”
Bottom line, won’t be cover of the year but I really liked it.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg gives us the rundown on the upcoming jump on prog and I’m surprised it features Orlok in Oz. That guy has been around more than herpes.
Droid Life can fuck off as far as I am concerned.
Sharks on legs. Sharks on fucking legs.
How do they breathe? How do they move? Who cares?
Not a bad one and done with a nice lament here at the city having lost some of the creative genius of old with the fall off in wacky criminal escapades. There was something appealing about those old strips and maybe it did speak of a city that was vibrant and full of criminal creativity. Perhaps if the city had a return to this form it would mean it was on the path to greatness again. For just as a man be judged on the quantity of his friends and the quality of his enemies, so may a city be judged on the amount of citizens dressed like a penis in dungarees.
Some nice zingers here from Worley (“How can I look gnarly when my shades keep falling off?”) who is really getting better at doing Dredd and there was a nice Wagneresque end for the shades dude as he gets flattened by a Manta. The Piranha reference to Bradford Dillman and Barbara Steele didn’t go unnoticed either.
I loved the Harry Enfield reference too with the Muddy Funsters line though the revelation that the vidman was behind the whole thing was not really that much of a shock. Manufacturing the piscine crime wave to film it and reap the benefits was one thing but it did seem to lose logic a little in how it was being financed and what the crims were getting out of it all. And don’t get me started on how the water was flushed back into the cab.
The colours are gorgeous and as ever the linework by Critchlow is sublime here. He has some lovely poses in the six pages and his framing work is always smart, seemingly pointing to the action without ever overstating it.
And just to hammer home Axel’s perp credentials he is seen with a collection of Judge Badges around his neck.
There’s a brain and something about a missing finger. Pinky and the Brain, if you will.
Ok, so this fell a little flat for me. It was clever but I think the suspense of the two weeks was essentially just given the info dump treatment. There was a nice twist at the end where it is revealed that the allmata toy is aboard the spaceship so that means the potential for Talavage’s return is possible when the sole survivor steps on it. Of course it stands to reason that Talavage would experiment on himself and grow a new finger but the allmata went further than that and started reviving dead cells to the point where his organic material was fighting a losing battle.
What I didn’t get is that if everything was reconstructed from Talavage after the doomed first spaceflight then why, when he disintegrated, didn’t everything else?
Surely all of the constructs (young Nate included) were part of Talavage’s original allmata so would have suffered the same fate.
Lovely art from Culbard and I hope that when Brass Sun returns he uses this denser style. It would be extraordinarily jarring of course since the other books when collected will be different but fuck it, anything helps.
Oh dear Lord Jebus, let it end.
We’re down to try hard puerile humour now with a sub-Beavis and Butthead joke about “Annals”. Again I can’t tell if this is a nod and wink to fans or is sending them up in a way that is insulting. And that’s a bad thing. One of the keys to effective writing is know where the writer is coming from by the time the story is over. We’ve all been there with a misread text or email and with sustained and denser narrative this is able to be overcome but here I just don’t get what the writers are aiming for. Is it a spoof or treatise on the uncaring nature of the yoof of today? Fuck knows.
A case in point is the use of the word “mate”. It reminded me of the Mark Millar days when every phrase out of Dredd’s mouth containing the words “perp”, “punk” or “scum”.
Here we had a page that just read to me like “Hey, mate, how many times can we use the word ‘mate’, eh, mate. Mate?”
Topping it off is the idea of a geek to do list (lifted straight from Buffy) and the inclusion of a stowaway in the form of a cute but highly dangerous lifeform (see Nibbler from Futurama).
There are ways to make a fun story and this features none of them, sadly. Not from my perspective anyway.
Begone and please don’t come back.
The only saving grace here is the art which is absolutely jaw dropping in terms of detail and panel density. In some art styles that can be too much but here it works to the point where you want to study every panel and think “how long did this take him?”
Loved the Cthulu’s eyes looking upwards as it is spiked in the head with a building.
Monkey beats pig.
I got it but I just didn’t get the appeal or why this is filling pages in a Prog.
Bill decides to take a European vacation. Of murder.
First off, it is highly unsettling to see Bill smile. I’m so used to seeing him grimacing or scowling as he mows down the Volgs that it seems like an entirely different character.
His acceptance that putting rounds into the skulls of the invaders is all he is good for is a nice revelation and the fact that he wants to continue this on the continent is going to have mixed results. Not least because the Europeans have Bill Savages of their own and the likes of the Zazous and Edelweiss Pirates (nice history lesson there from Uncle Pat) are hardly likely to accept him as one of their own. My one criticism here is that Pat seems to think these groups have being expunged from the records when to my recollection they are commonly known. We were certainly taught about them in history, anyway.
It was also interesting that Rusty is now PM only as Bill didn’t oppose her, so great was his stock in the resistance. That’s a nice turnaround in that she owes her status to Bill and therefore her glossing over of Shirley Brown’s sacrifice is also down to him. Ouch.
With the drones gone and the skies clear we are left with the question of what place there is now for Savage.
I’m sure Uncle Pat has something up his sleeve.
What can you say that hasn’t already been said? Beautiful black and white stuff here that smacks of the stories of old and the nod to the original rendition of Savage was a lovely touch.
Only one thing puzzled me and that was the positioning of Quartz’s left claw on page 5. For a second there I though he was flipping us off.
The new look of Quartz is quite something too as he seems to have the legs of Robocop with the torso of an oversized Henry vacuum. So, that’s the best they could do is it? If I were Quartz I’d be asking for my money back. I haven’t seen anyone short changed like this since Christopher Pike was imprisoned in a mobile commode in Star Trek. Regardless, Quartz himself seems to think he is dapper and the RR on his codpiece makes him classy.
When his brother insensitively mentions the grinders, I thought that was a misprint and that he meant that given his camp nature and huge codpiece that Mr Ten Inches Percent should be on grindr.
Though it probably could have ended last week, I think Savage wins out against the sharks.