I’m going to use the word “bad” here. I’ve always found JDH a bit hit and miss on a sliding scale from Tempest to Age Of The Wolf.
Apart from the fact that the end result is flat and uninspiring, the general composite parts of it are all bland. None of these parts actually stand out, which is a missed opportunity to show off the skills we know Hunt has.
Hunt may be one of the nicest human beings working in the Prog but that doesn’t cut him any slack when putting together the cover that will catch the eye of your readership. It has to be good or else it should not run.
I know these are mutants but some of the body proportions are way off too (how short are Johnny’s legs?) and even some of the character work is blurry (Shaggy has apparently turned into Wulf!).
The shitty font doesn’t help either and throwing it in at a jaunty angle makes it look even worse. Either these will get better or we’ll get used to them. I’m really hoping it is the former.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg continues his nonsense about kickstarter in a running joke that fell flat a week ago. It must be a slow month at the Nerve Centre.
We also get an ad for Goldtiger which I have to admit looks absolutely lovely. I feel certain there will be some rage from “those people” on the forum. You know the ones.
A face change, a missile strike (“Oh the Kleggmanity!”) and some man on Klegg action leads to hijinks.
Though once again the character beat for Dredd is off I am still enjoying this.
Sensitive Klegg, the erudite and poetic alien, is well used here having grown a fanbase of prose loving mutants and there is an uneasy moment as this seems like it is going to kick off. The artist does really well to display this wordlessly.
There was a lovely moment as the Klegg lays his hands on JD and then wakes up on the H-Wagon, nursing a sore head.
Dredd then cracks a highly out of character joke about finding a cell on Titan which makes me wonder if the internal dialogue from last week was actually from him after all.
It transpires that the Sinos are not happy which possibly means this isn’t canonical with the events of The Corps at all. Unless that alliance ended and this is in a new post alliance age where the trust has gone. Sort of like a marriage to Ben Affleck.
Regardless, some of the dirty Sinos shoot down the H-Wagon (for some reason) and so our reptilian rascal is thrown into an escape pod by Dredd. We are going from comedy to peril in swift succession and it takes a bit of skill to pull that off.
So, yeah, played for laughs this is entirely fine and great fun.
I’ve settled into the art now and the gorgeous (if bright) colourwork assaulting my eyeballs. The design of the Klegg flagship looks like a crocodile vomiting missiles while the fighters are reminiscent of frog heads. You cannot knock the D man for his design work.
Page 2 has that awesome shadow over the mutant patrons as Dredd enters the bar and gives them his professional verdict.
The only problem I have ever had with his art is the Justice Department kit he portrays. It can be jarringly angular at times.
This is comparatively simple compared to the rest as it just moves into action mode as Gene and the gang infiltrate the hive.
With revelations about the hive being woven by the busy little creatures and the worrying angle that Numan has a smell phone that can translate the bug commands, there are threads left hanging and so it makes you wonder just how Them evolved in the first place. Was this the hand of man gone awry?
The king is revealed as a gestalt entity which is like a rat-king and joined at the ass. This must make trips to the communal bathroom a real fucking joy.
Gene is unimpressed and is going to kill it anyway. He reveals the distinct lack of an exit plan and that win, lose or draw, this is a one way ticket.
The art is so lovely I’d like to finger it and whisper lies in its ear.
With Led Belly escaping to a Juke Box and the rozzers assuming he has jumped to his faithful leg-humping hound, Quartz is back in the shit for his failure. Downgraded to AI robot, he then tries to bribe his way out of it and when this falls on its arse, he pulls the old boy network trick.
Giving it the Freemariner patter and requisite floor banging, he is informed (thanks to Mills) that there is a divide in the craft and people like him aren’t welcome.
There’s a bit of brutality here as Quartz is taken away and tortured into submission. Still, fuck him, he’s a prick.
We get a nice ending of sorts as Rojaws and Hammerstein head off into the sunset, informing us that the rest of the gang have made for Titan and the free robot enclave there.
Rojaws even shows Hammerstein a bit of head in celebration. Hello sailor indeed.
Rojaws then hilariously suggests a new name for his comrade and with a lot of the Hell-based monikers used up already he comes up with “Hell Something”.
In the present this retcon has provided the revelation that only now can Rojaws’ defiance code be unlocked and then spread across the metal skinned maniacs to bring true freedom to robotkind.
Let’s see if Uncle Pat makes good on the promise.
Artistically there is a nice use of the photoshopping with the backgrounds but I can’t help but wonder if this would have been better without it.
The last panel is simply beautiful and that’s the key for me with Langley’s photoshop work; less is more.
After some scene building and all round crazy shit this kicks off into action mode.
It transpires that the wyrms give off a musk that clouds the senses. There’s probably a really dirty joke in there somewhere.
There’s an interesting insight here as to Itza’s motivations and we get the revelation that her people were wiped out by the wyrms. So this is all payback for her and she’s going out swinging.
Ditto for Anna who hallucinates Iron John showing up and reveals that seedlings like her can live a long time. She’s already got a couple of centuries under her belt so is about the same age as Betty White.
Once the mask comes on its game time and Anna goes all rat-a-tat-tat with a Thompson. It’s a puzzle to me that they are bothering with six shooters when they have machine gun technology to deploy.
Raleigh is drafted in to make up the numbers so we get him regaling us with a tale of his dalliance with Her Majesty. He ends this by taking a well-deserved piss break onto the city below.
Oh, Sir Walter, really?
Still liking it. It’s clever and deliciously bonkers.
The art is lovely and the action is well handled.
That’s also a big damned wyrm and it looks suitably fierce on the page thanks to Burns.
Fucking hell…there’s more action here as Limax begins a brave but ultimately futile fight back. He’s also apparently banging Shrek’s purple skinned sister.
She’s a big lass and as a man who likes a bit of flesh on the bone I can certainly appreciate that. I’d crawl inside her like she was a fallen tauntaun.
Hmmm. I appear to have digressed somewhat. Oh yes…resistance or not, Johnny and the gang have made taking the Rock from Limax about as easy as taking virginity from a Geordie.
Everyone does their part in this assault. The Stix hurt folk with rigorous enthusiasm, Stretch does some handy extension work to save the day, Johnny does the gentlemanly thing and looks out for the sisters despite their protestations and McNulty’s hitherto unknown magic nose leads them to their prey. Oh and Kid Knee gets to bitch some more. That’s his particular talent it seems.
He should take up posting on the 2000AD forums.
The art is bog standard Carlos and like everyone else in the Prog this week he can pull off the action with the best of them.
Hard choice but Dredd just pips it.