Orlok is back after some much needed psychological help. And beer…
Huzzah. Just like Star Wars, I have returned and like The Force Awakens it’s more of the same recycled nonsense with some inconsistency thrown in for good measure. It’s been a while since I did some reviewing and this was mainly as I had fallen out of love with Toothy. What used to be a bold and risk taking comic had become a bland, safe and (at times) boring weekly trudge for me so I stepped away for a while.
To be honest the Prog hasn’t exactly wowed me upon my return to it, but it is a lot better than it was. Anyway, on with the review…
This is a lovely bit of perspective work with Langley doing his level best to show the damage inflicted on the world’s straightest and loveliest robot outside of Metal Mickey. We also have a gloriously red eye and it’s not often I get to say that outside of another shameful visit to the clap clinic.
Inside, On The Register Tharg reveals his plans for the upcoming year. In lieu of his immediate resignation and deportation we have the Green Immigrant presenting the upcoming thrills which hopefully will be free of any of the previous blandness and we are reliably informed that Prog 2000 will hit the shelves on 28 September. Thrillsville.
I quite liked this as a one and done. Michael Carroll (as Flint says) is really the king of the old school bonkers Meg tales and this is both funny and well contained. His longer stories tend to get bogged down in idiot logic or missteps but these are sharp, witty and bang on the money.
Sadly the reveal is a little obvious around the middle of the strip and the biggest revelation for me is that when the creep shoots Dredd in the back, it just means the old man is getting even sloppier.
The story does feature the word “Arsome” though and that is always a fan favourite.
One question- Does the ten million credit bounty still stand? I thought that was all down to the New Kremlin using Narcos money and was pretty much done and dusted when the trial ended in a shambles and a sinking? When did the mobs put up the cash? Perhaps I missed something there.
Marshall’s artwork is up to the task and I really loved the visual puns on page 1 with Roseanne’s Bar (groan) and the Jawa supping on a vodka utini (shaken not stirred).
The burning car outside the pub makes me think that Sector 65 is a lot like my hometown of Birkenhell and I did get a few pangs of nostalgia looking at that. Sniff.
Page 3 panel 4 has someone doing the traditional wanker sign as they walk away from our hero. That never gets old.
Visually this is absolutely fantastic and it reminded me instantly of a homo canis version of Mad Max.
I totally loved the gorgeous red flag on page two and the way it contrasted with the drab landscape. It is impossible to fault the art which is rich in both colour and detail alike. Elson must spend ages on this and seems to be having a ball into the bargain.
Storywise this seems to be progressing towards a conclusion of sorts. That would be unusual for Abnett as he usually likes to drag out the story for at least fifteen million years since he still has those photos of a certain Betelgeusian and a certain bucket of scampi. Still if he makes this the end run for the strip it will go down as a bona fide 2000AD classic rather than the embarrassment of Sinister Dexter. Gene has a definite character arc here and I’d really like to see him achieve that full transition from lone wolf to embittered commander and for the strip to go out on a high rather than become an unwelcome page skimmer.
With Fort Longtime gone and the super herd closing in on the Kingdom it’s going to get brutal either way and you can’t help but feel that this is a bad move by Gene to go after Them. It speaks volumes for the strip when you actually care about the fate of the characters.
I don’t know sometimes about Uncle Pat.
Is he validating conspiracy theory thinking or holding a mirror up to the tinfoil hat wearers here? Maybe that’s the magic of the man as you can never quite tell what he is up to.
With Flix TV reporting on the collapse before it happened and a freefall demolition that could only have been thermite (or just very bad understanding of physics) we’re into 9/11 Truther territory in a big way.
The Nameless appear to be a more hands on version of Anonymous and state that they are not responsible for superbowl disaster, further explaining that Quartz is the real terrorist and architect of the collapse. You know, just like George Bush was. And the CIA. And the military. And the BBC. Oh and the Jews. Just ask Mel Gibson on that last point.
This is a bit of a departure for the character of Quartz and like Savage before him, this is an updated version of the character with all of the scheming one would expect of a modern day captain of industry. Gone is the top hat and brolly of a thwarted mandarin and in is the cuntery and willingness to sacrifice anyone and anything that gets in the way.
I loved the idea of wearing a cog on Robot Day as well as Quartz’s unswerving keenness to sacrifice his slaves which gets a much deserved two claw salute from Ro-Jaws.
The art is nice with Langley doing a fine black and white spread although page 4 does seem to be a little rushed.
Page 5 is great though with a fantastic use of the panels and I really liked the spot colour of Quartz’s blue eye on the last page.
You know, this just looks lovely and Burns isn’t afraid to throw in a jaunty angle or break through panel borders in order to tell the story here.
We’re in for some surprising revelations as it appears that Calhoun, the red headed abomination and target for some anti Irish abuse, is now the host of a mechanical man. I always knew ginners were soulless and now we finally have proof.
The rotting man has brain wyrms, you see, and these pass to Calhoun during a squirt of bodily fluids bringing on talk of low energy levels and killing a queen.
There’s probably an AIDS allegory in there somewhere.
Instead of this being set in 1984 San Francisco we are in the Elizabethan era with spymaster in chief Frankie Walsingham in the mix and on the case.
Verily the excrement is about to achieveth full realisation.
Thanks to a letter from the one good Stix (Phineas) two more of the ever expanding family are introduced in the form of Bovus and Pikey.
Understanding that, like gypsies and the Welsh, the members of the Stix clan are generally bad fucking news, Alpha’s gang are reluctant to admit them to the posse. Except as cannon fodder. Which is fine.
The monosyllabic Stix are always a joy in every conversation and it is to Wagner’s credit that he finds a new way to spin their responses.
There’s something decidedly old school about this tale as Johnny concocts a plan to get rid of (Not Jabba the Hutt, Honest) Limax. This plan involves lifting an artefact from an empire of tech heads who seem decidedly mental. This is a very risky gambit and the gang are far from convinced with only a narrow vote from the Stix carrying the plan.
The characterisation here is lovely with Johnny acting more like his old self and Kid still being a whiney little prick. McNulty is past his best though and they probably need to get rid of him.
Artwise it is standard Carlos brilliance. No complaints from me.
Kingdom takes the top spot this week, beating off strong competition from Alpha and co.