Well, as we all know, Greg can do no wrong when it comes to covers. Barring him drawing a Nazi homophobe kicking a puppy at a UKIP rally while wearing a Kanye West t-shirt then anything he does will be fried gold.
This is no exception and there’s a good sense of movement here like you have just happened upon Joe having a crafty piss in an alley and had a shooter pulled on you.
It is eye catching stuff.
And the new logo? I really like what I can see of it. My only criticism once again is that the new one isn’t established yet so get the brand out there in all its new glory until it is. Then you can plaster shit in front of it.
Inside we get the news that there will be another sequel to the movie Dredd stories. I wonder if it will feature a new drug or a female villain? Or be utterly bland. Place your bets.
In what is tipped to be his last ever Dredd, Rennie brings us a tale of the settlements, which appears to be populated by immigrants from the hitherto unknown “southern territories” rather than mutants. Is this a thing? I seem to have no knowledge of it and will instead draw on the knowledge of more dedicated fans out there to correct me. Especially Scojo, who has the kind of fanatical recall only bested by an autistic savant.
So, because of that this seems to be an entirely different tale shoehorned in to the Dredd world for the sake of it.
Anyway, with the brutal treatment of these immigrants and reprisal attacks by a mystery man on the rise, Dredd is sent in to sort it out. There are tropes aplenty with those in charge not giving a real shit apart from when it hits financially, the oppressed underclass and the security force caught in the middle being a mix of good uns and bad uns.
The rest of the story plays out ok. There is an interesting array of characters such as the scheming administrator, the ex-Academy hard ass Mahler, the guard in love with a local girl and the aforementioned mysterious stranger, but the characterisation of Dredd is way off. Gone is the terse, annoyed and straight to the heart of the problem Dredd and in his place is the one who uses sarcasm like it’s a bad episode of Buffy.
If this is Rennie’s last, then that’s probably good since he doesn’t really get the character anymore (his past stories have been very hit and miss) and he can concentrate on his other character work or illustrious and lucrative video game writing career.
There have been comparisons I believe to El Mestizo (there is even a name check here) so it would be a pity if once again, a back catalogue of work is plundered for a re-imagining.
And it is quite violent, perhaps justifiably so to show the brutality of life in this place. As I may have mentioned previously, I see no logic in the complaints of some that a comic is sexist and yet they offer zero complaints about the levels of violence on show. Within a few pages someone’s head is turned into chunky salsa but it is fine because there is no tits and ass on display.
It’s pretty neat that he signs his name on the walls like Zorro after he attacks.
There’s something quite dated (but in a good way) about the art and it could easily have dropped off a page from 1988.
Anything that starts with the word “Finally” has to be an instant classic, doesn’t it? Unless it’s a backfiring PR campaign.
Luckily this was ok (but not great) and a decent intro to the demon with a soul of the title.
It certainly looks nice with a few great touches throughout such as the look on Wilson’s face when the candle erupts into flame after his pleading to his deity. There’s also a nice panel or two of stone gargoyles coming to life in a way that will make any Who fan shit their striped trousers.
Of course, the big question is what’s it doing in the Meg? The letters page gives an answer of sorts and we’ll get to that gem later, but would I rather have this in it than American Reaper? Fuck yeah.
ANDERSON TEXT STORY:
I really liked this. It was well balanced and well written. Why the hell isn’t this guy writing the strip full time you ask? Oh, hang on…I know this one…
Starting in Brit Cit in 2117 and flashing forward to the present, this catches up with Lillian Storm, the sole survivor of a sacrifice gone awry and who is now a pariah.
There were some lovely touches in this which thankfully avoided the usual pitfalls.
The “creepy Twins” reminded me very much of Corann and Lesley Ryan from the Judge Anderson strip in that they start and finish each other’s sentences.
Do the British Judges use Lawgivers though? Wouldn’t they be named something else? Or are they just copying everything the Yanks do?
The Exorcist rounds were pretty cool and would be even better if they are activated from the weapon by the voice command “The power of gun compels you!”
We also get to see the borders of Brit Cit laid out (at least until someone retcons it) and I note with horror that both Swansea and Cardiff are within the borders of the future city. There’s no hope.
Nice two panel cameo of Becky Darke too.
And the artwork…sorry…fantastic artwork was even better. The beautiful use of shadows from the off giving the opener real atmosphere and complimenting the initial horror setting well.
And was that Armitage and Steel in the background as Storm was walking through the corridors?
Fucking hell, the art is great in this. What a tremendous first panel that is.
After the aborted murder attempt the whole bar erupting into a fistfight was glorious. That second to last panel of the punch up was so chock full of action that I just stared at it for about five minutes.
Ditto for the last panel of page 3.
I note that Lawson still not using her Lawgiver and still has ridiculous hair.
The reference to Pettifer brewing up coffee made me wince and is either a fuck up or the colonies don’t have the same restriction on the beans that the Big Meg does.
Speaking of Pettifer, it looks like she has been hitting the pies. I’m not judging her as I like ‘em with a bit of jiggle.
The cliffhanger is very well done as Lawson is Soze’d by Crabtree who is not an accountant after all and has spun her a big web of spidershit. It turns out he’s a weird ass mass murderer who is even now requesting that his babysitter rubs the lotion on her skin or gets the hose.
Interestingly, Lawson goes to see the presumed assailant Rondo who looks like Jesus. Naturally she beats him up for this, in what has to be an obvious attack on Christianity as force of much strife and utter dis-
Hang on…Jesus Rondo/Jesus Redondo…it’s a sign. The illuminati is real. 9/11 was an inside job. Nasa is hiding aliens. Or something.
The Interrogation was a nice insight into the mind of filth peddler Alex Ronald, which I really enjoyed. They even showed some of his disgusting work on Vampire Vixens. I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you.
The Letters were a mixed bag with the editor defending the 90s Progs and cherry picking golden nuggets from the gallons of toxic shite to prove a poor point. Sadly, even some of those nuggets (Zenith Phase IV, Engram) are somewhat tarnished and one other is actually a sweetcorn infested turd.
Elsewhere there seems to be an almost universal dislike of American Reaper but there is still a slot for creator owned series which are “all non Dreddworld stories by necessity” Why? Is there a dearth of these or something?
Finn Book 2. I’ve read it once and that was enough for me. It looks nice but it is very of its time and free or not I have no desire to revisit.
I really liked Lawless as I didn’t see the twist coming and the art is so damned lovely.