Hooray, everyone! It’s another jump on Prog. Why we haven’t seen one of those in weeks. Anyway, after learning never to post up a review on his shitty phone, here is Orlok with his take on 1924…
Well, it’s certainly nice. Bolland seems to be focussing on character montage pieces now but apart from Dredd’s weird left arm and Johnny looking like he is sucking on a Fisherman’s Friend (something he hasn’t done since he and Wulf were together) this was just…nice. There was nothing magnificent about it. That seems harsh to say since Bolland is a living God, but if I’m honest it didn’t really wow me.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg leads new readers and old on a run down of the Prog and all that is out there to pick up. I didn’t see a mention of the Thrill Cast though. That’s either bad PR or they just plain forgot. You’d think that the comic would plug the ONLY OFFICIAL podcast to the readership. It’s a good podcast so needs to be signposted accordingly.
We also get the early Megazinesque one page updates on strips. Hopefully that will be just for this jump on and not a regular 4 pages being sacrificed due to goldfish like memory of readers.
On Titan, something enters the atmosphere. On Earth, Dredd is apparently losing his shit.
It’s a bit of a puzzler this one. It opens really well with the revelation that in the current climate, other Mega Cities (including the Brits) have been drafted in to help rebuild Titan. I was reading a shitfest of a Dredd story by the name of The Sugar Beat (written by the woefully out of his depth Alan Mackenzie) and that stated that bad Judges from other cities go to Titan too. Maybe that will be the case now, although this scenario suffers from the same logistical problem as The Village in The Prisoner.
Back in the Big Meg, Dredd is dealing with a futise and after clubbing the maniac he spends an uncomfortably long time with his gun pointed at the perp’s head. For the briefest second I thought he was going to kill him and only the sudden intervention of Giant seems to break the spell. Giant piping up that it was a kook cube case is a nice throwback to his father’s first appearance in the Prog, where he mistook a futsie for a regular perp and fouled up the sentencing.
It’s not clear why but Dredd appears unwell what with his sweating and his walking away from an unsecured perp. I suppose that if this just followed on directly from the last story then it would make sense that the beating he suffered would have affected him more deeply. As it has been quite a while now it just seems confusing. Especially if you are a new reader.
There is some classic Henry Flint on display here with again another scratchy style. The opener of Saturn rising on Titan is just fantastic.
The site of the dog headed futsie was particularly well done and you knew the guy was bonkers from a quick glance.
Apart from that, damn near perfect work.
Slaine finds he can’t perform as well as he used to in front of a woman. It happens to us all, mate.
This looks fantastic. For me, any change from the photo realism is a great step forward and we all know Davis produces work of utter beauty. That first page in particular has some gorgeous lightwork on it.
We don’t get to see the entirety of a warp spasm and I’ll bet that David will be able to knock out a belter. He got away with a blatant goatse in the Prog for fuck’s sake…
Unsettlingly, Sinead is to be sent to the breeding pits to knock out a litter of half demon abominations that will one day go on to found modern day Wales. And by “modern” I mean “medieval”.
My only two quibbles here is that not a lot of momentum exists in this strip at present and a new reader might be a bit meh about it all.
Also, the chatty chatty talk talk in the middle of a fight scene really grinds my gears. I realise why it is done, but it’s a trope that we have moved on from these days.
There are some nice Mills touches here including the realisation of why Slaine actually hangs around with Ukko and this only serves to highlight his own damaged paternal relationship. The fact that Slaine cannot warp spasm is an interesting development with the earth power apparently being siphoned off by the Primordial. So, the Earth Goddess does not have a monopoly on the power source after all.
That’s Gods for you. Fucking inconsistent.
It’s all gone a bit alt-universe.
We get an (at first) confusing introduction into a different Grey Area including some funnily named characters, which will no doubt provide a host of light relief moments in weeks to come. There then follows a twist where after detonating that bomb, this has gone all Mirror Mirror. But without the goatees.
I don’t quite know what to think here as whenever a genre has to raid an alternate universe for plotlines then there is a worry. Especially if that raiding is done early on in the life of the strip. I hope I am wrong here but Abnett’s previous form on this (Sinister Dexter) has flogged this to death in a rage inducing way.
We’ll see what happens but again if you are a new reader this is going to be hard going.
The art is lovely from start to finish and though Harrison is to some an acquired taste, I really like it. It’s slightly toned down in terms of mixed media and background stuff but I like that all the characters look different.
After disposing of a quarry in a shark related fashion, Orlok goes to an art show.
God, I am finding it hard to like this, which is a shame. There is just nothing compelling about it and Orlok only shines when he has a character like Dredd to go against. We know here he will be successful and survive whatever missions he undertakes in order to piss into the Mega City Water supply in 2104. So, where is the suspense? What else are we getting in terms of character development? Alan Grant gave us a one page background into Orlok that was perfect and we didn’t need to see him sitting on a beach in Oz or mulling over his duties.
The plot of Jiri Rasputin who can draw the future seems a bit Heroes-ish.
I don’t know what the point of having an East Meg 2 version of Orlok (The Black Widower) is apart from to set him up someone to go up against in a one on one battle of the best.
It’s hard to fault Jake Lynch but there are some issues here. Firstly, Orlok seems to look different in every panel and we don’t get a real good look at him. Maybe that is intentional, I dunno. Second we get the huge splash of the Black Widower which with the codpiece and spiderweb over the eye makes him look like a character from a 1983 Daredevil Annual.
Again, this may be kitschy and intended but if this Prog is to be a showcase of anthology talent then it’s a bit old fashioned.
Alpha is press ganged into recovering a character from Team America.
Well, this can be summed up with the quote “They dug you out of the ruins of the Great Hall, miraculously alive.” No fucking shit.
That ridiculous premise aside, this was smart stuff in a few places. With the sterilisation programme now a proven fact, executing Johnny and co in public is a bad move so the Government is going to use him.
This is a new direction for the strip and one which I hope will either wrap up the story or move Alpha in a direction that pushes the character development.
What didn’t work was the return of the Stix Brothers who I assumed were all dead. Didn’t their old man mention something about that in the Stone Killers strip? Or is that now retconned too?
For the first time since he was ripped apart by a demon (don’t fucking lie to me!) I’ve actually felt sorry for Johnny as he seems quite low and even talks about cancelling his own account. Maybe this will give him a new life but I can’t see it given what has happened.
How long can they hold the safety of his three mates over him in order to get him to play ball?
Carlos still pulls off some gems with the aid of the script and for me the inclusion of the gronk toy and the multi-eyeballed mutant looking at the kid were both superb.
He also draws Johnny as genuinely looking old and depressed. With his slumped shoulders and grim face this is something we have never quite seen in Alpha before.
Tough one. As a jump on Prog this is very mixed in content and I’m unsure if it is strong enough.
That said, the Dredd was an intriguing start.