Another week and another catch up on Proggage. This week, Orlok grabs his shovel and digs into the follow up to the jump on. He’s not happy with 1925…
Well, it’s a certainly a nice piece of painted work as we’ve come to expect but is it a great cover? I’d have to say no. It doesn’t really capture my attention and if you’re picking this up after the jump on, then maybe it won’t capture yours either.
I’m not sure what the cover is meant to portray emotion wise. Is he glowering? Is he pensive? Has he just realised that that wasn’t just a fart?
It’s colourful, it’s beautiful rendered but it just isn’t cover material.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg leads us by the hand and tells us that the 2000AD message boards are available for use, especially if you like to be bullied for being ignorant of Skyrim updates or called a “prick” by moderators. Good luck with that.
There is also some nice interplay on the Damage Report as members of the Nerve Centre decide which Game Of Thrones character they would like to copulate with. Phwoar! It’s the Summer Offensive all over again.
I must admit to being a bit confused by this so far, and it’s probably down to my own limitations. So, last week someone stood on Titan and spotted a shuttle from Enceladus apparently skipping across the atmosphere of Titan. This week, said shuttle is at Earth and on course for the Big Meg, having crossed the distance unimpeded. Ok, let’s go with that. Let’s say that the ship flew to Titan first (for some reason) and then headed to Earth. And nobody told them it was coming because the radio was broken that week. I recall Dredd communicating with Pluto Deepbase from Justice One so we have past form for interplanet comms.
The ship gets to Earth and heads right for the Big Meg, possibly on a collision course with the Grand Hall, and where Volt or McGruder might have just blasted it out of the sky, Hershey decides otherwise. I mean it could contain a massive nuke so it is probably safer to wait til it gets closer and then shoot it down. Maybe.
Or maybe it contains 500 ex-Judges who may be a threat to the city. Hang on, they are criminals and possibly attacking so yeah, fuck ‘em. That would have hit the Black Atlantic in molten bits.
Then there is the final warning. No really this is your last one. I won’t tell you again.
I get that we have to have it crash in order to have the reveal of what is inside, but the circumstances getting to that point should have been cleared up. Maybe have the thing headed straight for the Atlantic anyway, knowing that the Department would investigate it, since it is a Titan shuttle.
So, this isn’t quite gelling together for me yet. There’s good stuff here in the slow reveal of what went down on Enceladus and Maitland’s conversation reveals that a missile attack has taken place. Gerhart is of the opinion that Nixon is dead, even though Hershey mentions her a lot meaning that she thinks their attack was carried out by incompetents or that she knows something Gerhart doesn’t. Or she’s read the script.
The weird thing is, that with Gerhart’s robotic nature and the reveal that Nixon is dead- no alive- no dead, I don’t feel we’re getting the chance to digest the story. There are too many unanswered questions that we are required to just put on hold and it’s started to feel less like The Usual Suspects and more like Lost.
The nice character moment between Dredd and Hershey is somewhat marred by the fact that she should have done her fucking job in the first place and not relied on Dredd to do it for what may be his own motivations. And that’s the issue with Hershey isn’t it? She’s a great Judge but as a Chief Judge she is ineffectively written for. Sure she has the confidence to carry off the role and the will to put Dredd in his place but that should only apply if he is out of line or if she has a knowledge that he doesn’t. Here, she was the one in error. A ship that was possibly carrying a deadly weapon or a small army of escaped criminals approached her already weakened city and she’s agonising over the decision to blow it up or let it land. Fuck that noise.
With the inside of the ship covered in ice, the investigators are all over it and wondering just what it was all about. Yeah, I’d be quarantining that shit about now.
The art is standard Flint fare with him pulling off some remarkable contrast work with the reds of command (moody as hell) and the greys of the Black Atlantic. The reveal of Dredd at the door was also beautifully done as was the look of fury on Hershey’s face.
I may have said this before but Flint is in the same league as Carlos in my book. Both pull off stunning work with such (apparently) effortless aplomb that it’s hard to single out anything of exceptional brilliance as it all looks so damned good.
I like the way Gerhart looks here as he’s a fucking mess. More machine than man, it seems clear he’ll never play the harmonica again with those lips.
Bizarrely, McTighe is now called “McTight”. Presumably his anal reconstruction surgery went better than planned.
Right, well the story is doing nothing for me yet. It’s all a set up to show the enemies Orlok will be facing and revealing the Black Widower as a dolt of the highest order.
The art is going off the rails a little but is still easily the best thing about the strip. Once more Orlok is inconsistent in his appearances and looks more like Rodney Trotter in that last panel. The cultural nods are pretty good with Tanka being a nice throwback to you know what and Hogan is clearly a Mick Dundee homage. I liked the knife on the wall with “Ceci n’est pas un couteau” written with it, though if I remember my French correctly it should be “ce ne est pas un couteau”.
Hmmm. I want to really like it. It looks bloody beautiful and it is written by one of the 2000AD greats but it seems to be just floundering here. A fight scene drags into the second week and surely now that Slaine is about to chop off Gododin’s head then that’s it. There’s no way anything can stop it. Oh wait.
Maybe it is the extraordinary lengthy chats between swings of the blade, but whatever it is, this is just not firing enough for me. I have faith that Pat can up the tempo but it needs to be soon.
There’s some lovely Pat gems in here though. “What sort of creature requires slaughter to live” was a belter and since I’ve just re-started the Bible reading for the first time in a month that struck a chord.
The mindswap is a nice touch, especially since Slaine is able to show his enemy exactly what he did to his father as a final “fuck you”. There’s seldom anything worse than finding out your old man took a spear in the balls. Unless you’re Rolf Harris’s daughter.
You cannot fault the art which has a kinetic energy to it that photoshop does not.
As far as I can determine this consisted of a smug alien telling the gang that despite them acting as a grey area themselves, their planet has no scanning or spaceflight tech. That’s a revelation. Presumably aliens must just show up there without any prior notice and then be processed. If they are trouble then there is no way to send them home. It’s a Daily Mail wet dream.
While you’re letting that sink in, we have the second reveal that the God Stars are on a network with each one consuming a world and then feeding the others like a galactic human centipede. One is now headed for the planet our heroes are on, which means that shit is about to get real.
It’s well written, well drawn but just not wowing me at the moment.
With Johnny reunited with Middenface and the gang, he plays a brief game of spot the faker before being satisfied that these really are his pals. A deal is struck to release all Stronts as payback for Alpha averting a war.
Those Koreans, it seems, are still a naughty bunch. We know this as there is a reference to them being belligerent a-holes who eat dogs. I was a bit taken aback by this at first since the references here are very on the nose with the current asshattery going on in Pyongyang and that being backed up with some racial stereotyping seemed off at first. However I remembered that Wagner has had a pop at all sorts of stereotypes in the past and so is an equal opportunities writer in that regard. Nobody should be safe from satire or having a mirror held up to their practices, except maybe the Welsh, who don’t understand the concept of mirrors and keep attacking them like budgies.
I spotted the eyepatch on Kid Knee last week but here we see it in all its glory. I don’t know how it happened (maybe a coffee table corner) but the dude seems to have lost none of his charm.
There’s some Wagnerisms in here too, my favourite being the “Johnny Alpha fully approves of your plan to devastate their cities”/”So he should!” although the messenger getting shot in the face for delivering bad news also made me chuckle.
What I didn’t get was the upbeat nature of our hero after being suicidally depressed last week. All it takes is to threaten to Gitmo his mates to snap him out of it. Sorted. They’ll have to teach that down at the Samaritans.
And the art? Well, it’s just King Carlos, innit?
Tough one. I’d have to say Strontium Dog this week.