Orlok sits down with a nice glass of tawny port, switches on the tablet and then flicks through the latest Prog. These are his ramblings…
That’s nice. Dredd looks a bit confused, like he’s wandered into the cheese aisle at a supermarket and forgotten why he was there. And behind the great lawman, a crazy eyed Nixon looms, her face in close up displaying her full red lips, crazy blue eyes and WD40 sprayed nose. I have no doubt some keyboard warrior will bitch about her applying lipstick, but that’s just bellends for you.
Inside Yewtree Tharg finally promotes the Thrillcast in his excellent organ. Nice one. If you haven’t listened already, do yourself a favour and tune in. It’s good.
The Letters page sees Survival Geeks getting a richly deserved kicking and some chancer with the clearly made up name of “Ashley Beeching” also gets a letter published. Good stuff.
There’s a lovely atmosphere to this story. It’s weird that even though Wagner has the final say on the character, writers seems to be able to smash fuck out of him and develop him inside a bubble universe.
Here, Joe is still suffering from the experiences on Titan and is having flashbacks to that pivotal moment with the detonator. He’s also apparently torn about the fate of Nixon and co. although there’s a logical fallacy here. He mentions that the renegades were executed on Enceladus, yet clearly a ship has come from there so someone survived the onslaught, so why the continued assumptions of their demise?
We also learn that the ice inside the ship is not ice at all and the ship appears to have come in on autopilot with nobody on board. In a disturbing parallel to the awful shitfest that is Purgatory/Inferno, it appears that some unknown substance has been discovered on the penal world and now made its way to the Big Meg. Thankfully this time it doesn’t appear to be a weapon, and seems to be more of a message.
Back on Enceladus, Benis commits the old redshirt sin of talking too much for a minor character. He doubles down on this by stating he is unkillable and so following the rules of narrative conformity, he’s dead within a few panels. With a thousand inmates and only a month of fuel rods to sustain them, Nixon and the gang head to the second base set up after the first one went tits up. Of course they do this on foot, losing people to crevasses that open up at seemingly at random. I dunno if I’m missing something here but doesn’t Nixon say the ships they have contain enough fuel to get them to Earth? In which case, why don’t they just fly to the base? I mean, if it’s a base then it has to be situated in a place that can be supplied. So there must be a landing option at least close by.
The best moment has to be the lippy tech giving what he perceives to be a badge monkey a hard time, only to pap his u-fronts when he sees it is Dredd.
The art’s damned good throughout as we would expect. Flint uses the moody blues this week instead of the moody reds and the reveal of Dredd in the shadows (with the badge being all we really see to identify him) is amazing. There are times when Dredd appears to be just a name on a badge and more than a human being. This is one of them.
The art’s a bit tidier and consistent this week but I can’t help but think that Lynch’s black and white art isn’t really doing the Radback justice. It probably could have benefited from a colour scheme or at least something in the panel work to bring out the expanse. The Black Widower also appears to be wearing high heels. Fuck it, I’m not one to judge.
Storywise, this is still a bit dull and that’s odd considering the hero of the piece is a mass murderer in the making. It seems Jiri can only get a vision in cities but for story purposes he can pull one out of the bag here (where a large town once stood- er, that’s somewhat inconsistent) and gets a vison of the Mutanty being slaughtered. It is also shows that the Oz government is less than the jovial force we have seen previously with a news blackout on the demands for Jiri’s release and the brutal treatment of mutants and the Harris Station in times past.
As a nice bit on continuity, the appearance of Judge Fish dates this at the arse end of 2100. That was cool.
Hang on, Gododin is still alive. What the shit?
We’re back to more chatting and finally, Slaine fails to finish him off, grabs Sinead and lays down some threats, leaving more or less unimpeded. As much as this frustrates me, there is some real smart dialogue here such as the “I am eminently severe in the work of violence” and the babbling of Sinead, spouting the Cyth rhetoric. I’m sure there is a message there from Pat about brainwashing too.
It looks fucking gorgeous though and the panel of Slaine chopping through his enemies was nice. The best thing is that it comes alive in ways that photo-realism simply did not. Just look at the passion and sheer sense of things in that panel where Slaine is trying to shake some sense into Sinead. It is beautiful stuff and I loved the POV shots of Slaine and Sinead just after.
We’ve got a slow burn here with Abnett teasing us with small bits of info. As a new reader this would be a bit frustrating, so again I’d question the editorial choice for the jump on. The idea of the natives being so content in their own existence that they don’t really care to explore is an intriguing one. That they seek to contain interlopers actually makes a modicum of sense and was something I didn’t anticipate so kudos to Abnett there.
Apart from the coincidence of our Grey Area heroes landing in another Grey Area, this is not too bad. Bulliet continues to be an unlikeable assclown, berating Manners for not having an input into the conversation. When the latter (who has xenophobia issues) does contribute and starts a pissing contest, our hero beats him up. The locals take this for a mating ritual of some sort and judging by this panel they may be right.
You would have thought that Bulliet might have been more tolerant after he posed as a member of UKIP for a while in order to bring down the organisation, but no.
I’m still liking the art and the lightplay Harrison pulls off is lovely.
Well, it stands to reason that General Bing has revealed himself to be an unscrupulous lady garden. As a shit ruse, Johnny pretends to get tanked up and goes to see the local sky daddy house. In an astonishing coincidence, the head lie peddler is the one good Stix in the entire family, one Father Phineas Stix, and of course just happens to be on the station where the Stix carried out their attack. It is also massively coincidental that the nannycam is shaped like a Gronk (to attract Johnny due to his fur fetish) and that it was even switched on in the first place. Convenience plotting ahoy.
Johnny interjecting when Sung is about to get a bullet in the head is a nice hark back to the Johnny of old who actually gives a shit about the underdog. Remember that a few months ago he wanted to wipe out the sickening stench of non mutant humanity, so what’s one more interpreter in the mix?
There’s a bit more stereotyping to give those still keeping the scores a full house, with Bing shouting “Hi yaaaaa!” before handing out a beat down to Johnny.
The art is of the Ezquerra gold standard and I loved the bog door with “Humans” on it and the myriad bizarre characters on the base. I also like that Johnny has his clothes back, including his helmet.
My one quibble (?) is that in one panel, Alpha looks an awful lot like Father Jack Hackett.
I’d have to say Dredd, even despite the apparent logical lapses. Happy to be proved wrong, though.