The first of two Prog reviews this week from Orlok, who is rounding off his catch up nicely…
Every once in a while you get a cover that pushes the boundaries and this is one of those covers. I really liked it and the perspective, play of light on the helmet and wisps of smoke are particularly excellent. There is a certain crispness about the whole thing and we even get a decent grimace on the face of Dredd and a bullet riddled background that tells a story.
We need to see more of this guy.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg continues to taunt the law and informs us that The Alienist is going to return. Since the last one was pretty lacklustre, this will have to up its game considerably. It looks pretty though.
The Damage Report tells us how Tharg and the boys have been wined, dined and sixty-nined by the sweet talking bastards at Hachette.
There’s political subtleties here, especially given the recent election shenanigans.
The familiar tale of the beaten down cit is given a slight twist with the introduction of the bracelet from the Megazine story. Will Bud use it to right wrongs or will absolute power wield its usual influence over this decent citizen?
It’s looking like the latter as at the mercy of a douchebag supervisor (we’ve all been there) he reaches breaking point and decides to take revenge (some of us have been there too).
There’s a certain tragedy to Bud in that he recently lost his daughter in a mass shooting and so the apartment they are in must be given up for something smaller. No sympathy, no compromise. It’s just another tale of the city. The added insult is that they will be charged a moving fee because they have to move.
Pushed to breaking point by a shitty neighbour in the new gaff and the old chestnut of block insurance enforcement tactics, Bud decides not to go to the Judges and is instead moved to deal with it himself, taking the bracelet to aid his will for revenge.
Though we’ve been down the route of both of these things before (cit on the rampage, the bracelet in the wrong hands) I hope we’ll get something fresh.
The bracelet is going through testing and appears to be the perfect law enforcement tool. Although I’d say that the military and espionage implications are greater.
Quality art from Elson which is really dense and detailed. I am sometimes put off by dense artwork, especially if vibrantly coloured but this seems to work.
It isn’t explained how, but Orlok has survived being run over by a tank and heads off in pursuit of Jiri.
I rarely say this about a story, but scriptwise this is a steaming pile of shit.
The survival of bestiality enthusiast Tanka and her subsequent team up with Mad Max was completely pointless since there was no pay off to that waste of pages from last Prog. Their combined threat was just used as a means to get Orlok to follow Black Widower, which he was doing anyway. Instead it is merely a clumsy excuse for Orlok to whip out the satellat which doesn’t fucking work in pursuing an escaping craft. It’s like a personal elevator and not the assassin droid from Attack Of The Clones.
And how did the Widower even know that the Rumble Warriors existed since they met Tanka after he had left? Had he seen the script? That’s bad storytelling.
Orlok then calls Jiri out and of course the script demands that he goes and faces him knife to knife.
And he dies. Again. Hopefully. Though in this Toon-Town version of the Dreddiverse he could get flattened by a steamroller and come back.
The most insulting thing is that with Jiri being accurate about his predictions and showing them a nuked city they simply disregard it as impossible and begin prepping for lobotomy, making a mockery of the whole mission to get him in the first place.
Perhaps a better ending would have involved Jiri getting fucked up somehow so he’s reduced to a vegetative state and repeatedly babbling about Sov missiles striking East Meg 1, something they can possibly suspect of East Meg 2 while safely continuing their rush to war with the hated Mega City 1.
The one good thing is that East Meg 1 regards their East Meg 2 counterparts as pacifists, showing those who have produced tales where the second Sov city is hostile to Mega City 1 as ill-informed buffoons. The East Meg 2 Sovs never been anything but cordial in canonical scripts.
The art, though good (I like the badge that Max is wearing- sugar bits indeed) cannot save the strip.
When Jiri is eventually cubed up the cell next to him has a prisoner being beaten. That’s a nice attention to detail but sadly such things are not enough to counteract the drag factor of the story.
And Sov Judge Wyatt was a terrible creator wank. It’s not Judge McAuliffe level but it is pretty close.
All in all this was a rotten ending for a terrible story. But, you know, I’m sure everyone else loves it.
For me, though, this needs to fuck off for good and we’ll pretend it never happened.
At the risk of repeating myself, this is going nowhere fast. We get another flashback, this time to Slaine getting drunk with Gort and engaging in a trial of strength.
Despite their stunning ability, Slaine is using the woods to his advantage and tearing them a new one.
Ukko (I think that’s his name, although another podcast may pronounce it differently) makes a flashback appearance.
There’s a gloriously beautiful image of Trojans on the march but the best is reserved for last with that amazing last panel. Simon Davis really broke out the primary colours for that one.
In summation, the pace is hampering what could be a well told rescue and redemption story. The over reliance on flashbacks has been a wrong step but it looks absolutely stunning.
We’re still in taxi mode with this one too.
The Harmonious Free are apparently unwilling or unable to pick up the same telepathic signal driving the other inmates mental, and once more we get an explanation of the motivations of the Free.
You know, just in case anyone missed it.
Finally, Adam decides to go and see the Luwot since talking to the captors isn’t doing shit so we may see our heroes being proactive instead of just hanging around waiting. It’s going to go all Escape To Victory.
I’m sure this strip will take off eventually and the slow build will be worth it. Unless Abnett is being paid by the page in which case we can expect this to go on for years yet.
FIFTY SHADES OF STRONTIUM:
Well that’s a revelation, since Wheatus isn’t just a teenage dirtbag and has a gripe with his kin because they left him out of the deal. His exchange with Alpha concerning General Bing was priceless.
This leads to the next piece of the puzzle as Alpha follows the lead to the Rock where Limax the Hutt resides over a place of sorts populated by a hive of scum and villainy. Seems really familiar.
He asks Johnny for a reason not to kill him.
What’re the odds Johnny’s next two words are “Blow job?”
Oh and the NKD are apparently in pursuit, or are they? It’s all coming together nicely and there’s something really comfortable and familiar about it all.
Johnny also gives in to his baser desires and is “roughed up” by a large man at his own request. He hasn’t had that since those heady days in the Red Room on Smiley’s World.
“Ach, Johnny. You alvays vere der dark one.”
Carlos does some nice work here not least in the ship designs. The Rock is a mess, Limax looks suitably grotesque and Johnny seems to resemble hammered shit as part of his ploy.
Dredd. Looks nice and I’m intrigued.