Orlok is back. Unlike Jaegir.
When it comes to cover artists there is none more consistent than Cliff Robinson (and Dylan Teague). Inventive, stylish and utterly smashing, he knocks it out of the park every time, bringing something new. Sure, your young whippersnappers may have flashy digital effects and new-fangled lens flare but old Cliff knows what the punters like and delivers it time after time.
If you are going to interact with the logo, here’s how to do it, bitches.
Some nice alliteration too.
Inside Yewtree Tharg tells us about some digital delights on offer and there’s another risible Droid Life.
The letters page has one Earthlet saying how Jaegir is the greatest thing ever only to be told that the clichéd awfulness may not return for some time (hooray!)
Another raises my point about the 9/11 truther stuff. Maybe the biting satire/preachiness are a bit too on the nose for me when it comes to the Truthers but Uncle Pat has every right to hold that mirror up as to what is happening in the real world. Mills is the solid brass cojones of Toothy and always has been.
Unexpectedly, Dredd doesn’t bleed out and is saved in good order. He gets a really neat arm speed heal cast while he is healing up and is able to lead the investigation into the abductions and wholesale murder.
After some bait and switch with the DNA analysis and her spotless record, it appears that Grayden is not actually Grayden at all. She’s really a highly versatile perp called Cheyenne, so her sister is pulled in, providing some insight into what the Judges will (apparently) do to press a conviction with a family member in the frame. The fact that this all turns out to be a ruse is not really a shock but it’s still done very well.
Carroll is twisting and turning this investigation and that’s clever stuff as it has kept me guessing and swiping the pages with expectation. Love it.
Artwise this is still really, really good. The play by play of Grayden’s movements is excellent and simply adds to the flow of the narrative. The look of the max security/riot Judges was a great blend of comic and 2012 uniforms and the scenes in the med bay were dripping with detail. Ditto for the cityscape on the last page.
He also does the tactical stuff excellently which I’m sure Mr Burdis will appreciate.
Best of all is the interrogation scene where the poor, tearful (and innocent) citizen is dwarfed by Judges, spiky interrogation equipment and (in a nice Red Dwarf homage) a bucket of soapy frogs.
Really smart storytelling.
In another Mad Max homage we’re in a dash back to the Kingdom with attacks along the way and so Elson gets to let rip with his highly detailed and coloured artwork, dishing out death to the bugs.
The new motor (the Gene Machine) starts up for our hero as he is a pure bred Aux and not some mongrel abomination like the others.
My only quibble is the need for an actual occupant to go up and use the turret when such a sophisticated vehicle should have it automated. Fuck that.
There’s a really good panel layout here too.
Finally, a filthy line in here sours the whole thing in my opinion in that it shows that women have some form of sexual desire brought on by combat when our turret operator exclaims “I’m wet all right!”
Disgusting. Ban this filth.
Well that’s a nice double page spread.
The faked terrorist attacks continue to be the plot focus and we’re into the uneasy middle ground here where we start to meander a bit instead of getting on with it. Hopefully the fact that the droids spill the beans on Quartz means we are going to see this go tits up for the domed fucker and that justice will be forthcoming.
I’ve said this before about Mills in that you never know if he is pushing his own beliefs or not, and I’d like to hope he doesn’t buy into the Crisis Actors nonsense being put forward by the likes of James Tracy. As a writer, though, his job is to pen a story that makes us think and if it plays into the modern slant with regard to how shit happens in the world and how the truth is perceived, then that’s all the better. And that’s something Uncle Pat has been doing for nigh on four decades in the Tooth. Though for me, the Millsisms can be quite grating and the scripts as clunky as hell, he has the ideas and concepts that the Prog needs. For that, he is a legend.
It was really smart referring to previous Ro-Busters tales as being part of the grand conspiracy.
The art is nice with more of the spot colour than we are used to and the sight of the whip wielding overseer brought back some memories of past tales.
Best of all was “Dr Feeley-Good” and the screen saying “Drop Your Pants” while it had a claw of various dangerous looking implements waving about.
And look at those robot expressions on the last page; glorious.
Browne figures out that the trio have escaped by boat and goes off to investigate another lead, drawing some suspicion from his men since he doesn’t act normal. He’s very much being painted as a detached Sherlock-like character, deducing actions from logic and showing little regard for the emotion of the moment. I like that.
The Masked Man is revealed to be Sir Francis Bacon, which was a turn up for the books and the leader of the London Corporation of Thieves turns out to be a 16th century Caitlyn Jenner alike. I never saw that coming either.
So, yeah, this is rattling along at a bonkers pace with another cliffhanger ending.
Loved the art (what a fireball) and it is always gratifying to see a sex pest being kicked in the yoghurt factories during a bar fight.
It’s also good to see the disparity between the colours of the low born (drab) and the better to do (vibrant).
Our heroes find a handy, Soho style peep-hole which allows Stretch to do his job (how lucky) with some assistance from Pikey.
There’s some unintentionally hilarious dialogue here as Stretch is talked into something he is uncomfortable with by Alpha (not for the first time I’ll bet) and complains with phrases such as “I’ll try. I’ve never stretched it that far before” and “Can’t keep it up”. Usually these are followed by a cagey call to the emergency services and an embarrassed ambulance crew having a story to dine out on.
Here, Stretch is successful but complains that his appendage will be out of shape for some time. Alpha has got what he wanted so seems unconcerned.
Storywise there isn’t that much progression (apart from the convenience and Kid still being a whiney bitch) and the art is standard Carlos with a lovely photoshopped sky as our heroes escape.
Dredd is some of the best work ever from Carroll and the art is magnificent.