Orlok gives his take on the latest Meg and shall henceforth be known as The First Man To Review Judge Dredd Megazine 359 For ECBT. Make sure that gets mentioned. A lot.
To be absolutely honest I can take or leave Siku. Having gone off him during the risible “Pan African Judges” you must understand that all criticism of his work is based on my own personal preferences rather than his quite obvious talent. His work just doesn’t leap out at me. This is nice and colourful and my only observations are the weird wrinkled left arm and glove, the silly but dramatic pose and the fact that she looks about 16. At first I thought (with the tagline) that the story inside will be a Rookie Anderson tale but that was of course wrong. As a cover it does the job, it just isn’t my cup of tea artistically.
Well this is just fucking great work from the The First Man To Write Zombo and The First Man To Draw The Lawmaster Tank. With Deller and Joe momentarily distracted from killing each other there is a lovely hark back to the elevator safety in the Escape From Kurt Russell story. And that’s just damned heart-warming.
We also get a quality Boot Knife! panel with Dredd on superb killing form now that he is up against DeGuerre’s former lieutenant. Despite his age, Dredd is still lethal and Deller pushes his luck too far, suffering some injuries on his way to deal with his former boss. Like Carroll, Ewing knows his Dredd history, and the reference to a well programmed lawyer is a smart move. If this really is his Dredd swansong as many have intimated, then this depth of knowledge will be a great loss to the writing level we’ve come to expect for Dredd. There’s even a quote from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, so he’s going to be a hard act to follow. I absolutely loved the diversion Deller tries when he attempts to get a face change to look like a dead man. He bores the operative into submission. It’s been a suspenseful and well-crafted build up to the conclusion and is superb stuff from Ewing.
The art is lovely with some fine layouts, a real sense of suspense and a truly astonishing panel showing the path of a ricochet bullet as Dredd attempts to take Deller alive. In a flashback to how Deller bested Guillory, Willsher gives us a look at a truly horrific face change process.
As regular readers of my reviews may be aware I’ve looked at American Reaper like a man contemplating his vasectomy being performed by an irate baboon. Not that I am comparing The First Man To Write Slaine to a red arsed monkey. I mean, the concept is a cracking one and it looks unique but the whole thing has been dragged out to the point of absurdity. It’s had a massive amount of Megazine space and had it been shorter and sweeter it might have been a less divisive strip. Ditto for the art which over a sustained period just gets annoying.
The First Woman To Write Judge Dredd puts together a nice start here and I’m interested to see where it goes other than Anderson being revealed as a Scientologist. My only quibble is that if Anderson is able to contact Shenker by Jedi Hologram Mind Projection at any time then why does she need a radio and why didn’t she immediately call for backup and not risk the life of a Cadet? It’s a decent set up that the Circuit Judges that have gone before have been fed to the rancor. Sorry, I mean Sand Devils.
The art from The First Man To Draw For 2000AD called “Andrew Currie” is really, really good. His Sand Devils are terrifying but he draws Anderson far too young. She’s 57. The same age as Jamie Lee Curtis and Sharon Stone.
Let’s address the elephant in the room here. Beeby’s gender has fuck all to do with her writing ability and the continued use of the First Woman epithet is actually, in my opinion, sexist. By pointing out her gender at every turn it’s akin to my mind to “hey, even women are allowed to write stories these days!”
It’s not 1959 for fuck’s sake.
My wife is a psychologist and has actually achieved a few firsts in that field and not once is her gender ever brought into the mix. Maybe, unlike her field, there is an innate sexism in the comics world, which is odd considering my all-time favourite Marvel character Daredevil was written for a four and a half period by…gasp…a woman in what was the best piece of US superhero writing I had known. Ann Nocenti penned some of the most beautiful and socially conscious work I have read and took Daredevil to hell and back. Not once was her gender a selling point or a hook to hang the title on.
Beeby should not be the first woman to write Dredd. She should be a Dredd writer, pure and simple. Her merits, and not the contents of her pants, should speak for themselves and determine her to be somewhere on the Wagner-Millar scale of competence.
Do you know what, this is really fucking good so far despite the few continuity issues. I’ve covered these previously so see no need to go over them. My only bone of contention was the McGuffin of the rapi heal which was like Khan’s blood from Star Trek: Into Dumbness. We don’t actually see Hess die so that’s somewhat open ended but the fate of leaving him to the critters of the night was quite well deserved. It’s also fairly disturbing that Linc shoots his first man. Still, that’s not as brutal as what happens to the mutant.
Fine work from The First Man To Write Absalom.
The mixed media art from Lee Carter, The First Man To Draw Boobapalooza In Grey Area has been great as evidenced by that superb last page. The highlight has to be the shots of Elmer killing the mutant in a violent fashion. These panels are amazing to look at even though they are deeply unpleasant.
I didn’t read the floppy as it was a story I didn’t enjoy first time around.
There’s a decent interrogation with Smudge, The First Man To Draw Judge Fear Sitting On A Park Bench and another couple of pages devoted to Kieron Gillen, The First Man To Be Interrogated That I Have Never Heard Of. I honestly have no idea what he has to do with 2000AD apart from one mention of a Future Shock.
The two page pin up is nice looking but I just don’t get it. Is it a re-imagining? Is it artistic expression? I dunno.
The worst thing is a nine page advert for the Mega Collection’s latest offering. Nine fucking pages. It’s not even a decent or engaging story since every Holocaust Squad story should be several years of training and four minutes of action. Thrilling Tales Of The Divine Wind this ain’t. Story quality aside, I don’t want nine pages of a comic I have paid for filled with an advert for a product that I can’t or won’t buy. If I was buying it, I’d have the product anyway and the advert would be futile. I’d rather see nine pages devoted to new submissions and new creative talent.
A really strong challenge from Angelic but Dredd wins out this time.