Two progs into the new run, is the Galaxy’s Greatest improving any or is floundering in mediocrity. Orlok is keen to find out…
It’s nice and certainly brutal and a good return to form for the Mac daddy after the Zilk action of years ago.
One Judge is sliced up by a Jason Vorhees alike who seems somewhat shorter here than he is inside. Maybe he’s like Big Thorn Little Thorn.
He also doesn’t pop an officer like he does here. Oddly the Judges on the cover have no names on their badges, which is highly suspect.
Dredd’s rad cloak fluttering away brought back memories of the Luna 1 Joe and his cape, mainly thanks to Flint Lockjaw’s recent posting but I’ve no idea what kind of shooter Dredd is using though. That’s not even an attempt at a Lawgiver.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg gives us an insight into the return of Black Shuck. Or it could be Jesus.
The Damage Report can fuck off.
Alright, cards on the table. I like this build up but I’m not quite buying the suddenly dire situation. The Meg is now in a losing war with its own citizens (zuh?) and to make matters worse the food stocks are running out since a small army of Cursed Earth raiders is attacking the supply of 50 million people. Is it all in the one place or what?
My issue is that we have no indication of any of this before now and it has been a few years since Chaos Day so I’m thinking this would have popped up in meetings.
Did this just creep up on them? Or is the same city that put up a defence against the machinations of Bachmann and her God City/the Lawlords simply all bluff and bluster these days and has been burying its head in the sand.
Consider that even after the horrors of the Apocalypse War when the Academy was gone and the Judges lost a greater percentage of their number than the cits (the exact opposite of what happened here), food rationing was put in place and convoys came in from Texas City to fill the stocks.
So either this a behind the scenes mess that has always been there and we’ve simply never seen it or even alluded to it before or it’s a massive surprise.
Maybe they could get that massive army of SJS Judges from Insurrection to fire over some grub.
Regardless of my protestations this is, like a dude living in the walls of Hershey’s office, something we are going to just accept because it made it through editorial critique.
So what do we have this week?
Dredd goes apeshit and kills his was out of the failed ambush. How that failed I have no idea but still, fail it did. We know how amazing Dredd is because Hershey tells us via a lesson to Jarrow about how he always gets the job done. It seems Jarrow is unaware of this having only recently come out of a coma that was induced just before the Robot War. Dredd who?
We are introduced to Thorn, who is a giant of a man and a cross between Lord Humungus and Bane. Sportingly, the Cadets shoot at his chest armour instead of blowing off his kneecaps, so in the end he gets away and if this ends in a mano-y-mano dust up between Dredd and Thorn like in Frankenstein Division I will be sorely upset.
Back in the city it was nice to see Giant and Joyce working together. I was wondering where Pax was but then I remembered she got killed when a bike was dropped on her. Oh, wait…
The art is just lovely, though it seems a little less detailed this week. I do like the fact that a lot of the Justice Department tech is beaten up and we see dinged helmets aplenty.
Great use of shadow and nice lighting from the gunfire and explosions.
This ended and it just wasn’t very good, sadly.
Going over it in my brain the ghosts appeared to be from the past and have the same tolerance for the living as I have for people talking loudly in the cinema. They blamed the current generation (who apparently don’t believe in the future or present) and that “the identity of this place is fracturing”. This is repeated like a Deepak Chopra mantra so it must be true.
Confusingly the ghost (Mary) then says that she and her fellow ghosts are the ones doing the tearing apart and killing folk. Which is both conflicting for the information she imparted and also dickish.
Comeuppance is forthcoming when the remaining heroes of our story (who also seem like douchebags to be fair) gather inside a hastily erected billboard art installation and concentrate on the future.
In Sapphire and Steel style, the ghosts from the past are defeated but what’s this…? Black faced people from the future now invade to take what will be theirs anyway. Ouch.
Honestly this was a poor story to have as part of the jump on stable. It lacked any kind of punch and the narrative was so confusing that you needed to stretch yourself to make any sort of sense of it. Things also appear to have happened “off camera” a lot and I don’t know if this is the art (which was ok for the most part- I really liked the fracturing panels on the penultimate page) or the plotting.
I feel that as an adult I’m not the audience for this but then I think, how many kids today will get the references thrown out here? It seems to be very much a story that occupies a no man’s land between genres and times. Had we have had this say, 8 years ago, it may have heralded in the rise of the Nerd Reich and been a decent barometer for the cultural references. Now it’s just like your weird uncle trying to get the same submission in Vice and Go Girl and failing at both efforts.
Despite that I have to say that this has been a slightly better outing so far. I know that is faint praise since every series of this is like a swift kick to the testicles, but this one has been delivered with a slipper instead of a steel toecap. What has been delivered by steel toe capped express is the geek references and this time out we get lightsaber/erectile dysfunction gags and a pet Cthulu humping a Henry for laughs. Oh how we all chuckled at that one.
So, we end on a great cliffhanger as battle is now about to commence and one of the regular geeks (the stoner) has now also developed magical powers. FFS.
The art is simply gorgeous. There are several standout panels here and the POV shots from the mice are all good value.
Grimly gorgeous. The art is still absolutely jaw droppingly lovely and the attention to detail has been magnificent so far, even down the deadened eyes of the Sister Psiren and the blood splattered drone station she leaves in her wake.
With our travellers about to be brutally murdered, Fairfax’s bike pulls a brilliant distraction and the tables are turned.
Fairfax it seems was a fixer for the old Chief (the one Death usurped) and so his acumen is much sought after by Death who wants him for his number four.
Fairfax’s heavy handed approach backfires when he is clubbed over the head and left behind by his fellow captives and there’s a sense of the undead action being a thing these days when Michael rises from a rather fatal mace to the noggin and has the same speech balloon style as the Dark Jays. Is this an effect of the Sisters poisoning the land (and the creatures) to the extent where this can be passed on?
And the GM dead fluids line was brilliant.
I’m still not sure about this.
Our heroes make it to the conveniently named Tortrix the Necromancer. Luckily the horse knew to go straight there and since the beaten nag apparently only goes two places (Necromance or Arena) they didn’t end up at the establishments of Slagtrix the Prostitute or Pisstrix the Tavern Owner.
Luckily for the benefit of those slower readers we get a brief overview of Necromancy from Tortrix himself. This is delivered to people who are already acutely aware of what necromancy is.
To add to this villainy he further explains that he has a series of cunning traps laid out for any interlopers including some stitched together monstrosities based on mythological examples. In true D&D style these creatures are just stood around waiting for the adventurers to show up and haven’t fallen upon each other in primal savagery. I’m sure Gygax would have loved these had he not already run out of life potions.
Hang on, did the writer just use the word mythological? Would these be the myths that seem to be actual fucking things in his version of ancient Rome what with giant wolves, minotaurs and a sandal wearing Jewish zombie?
Anyway, what with the exposition, foul treatment of lackeys and cunningly convenient traps. It’s the old villain tropes that were done to death after Ming the Merciless first filled our Saturday morning screens.
The art still leaves me a bit cold too and again seems scrappier than week one. All the pieces are there but there’s just something amiss and not quite coming together. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s the fact that Aquila seems to default to the same wide legged pose like he is playing bass in Status Quo. Is the artist starting out with his head and shoulders first before forgetting that he is meant to be a man mountain? I know, let’s do him kneeling in a bush or trying to teabag the floor.
With Dredd going off the boil a bit this is undoubtedly Tainted. Given the awful prequel stories to the Dark Judges I had some preconceptions about this which I am glad to say I was supremely wrong about.