Sometimes in this crazy old life, we have to encounter the unpleasant. Sometimes, we have to discover that our idols are mortal after all. Sometimes, we have to learn that the world is not the happy ending fairy tale that we always were taught it was. Sometimes, we have to walk in on our parents engaging in watersports. And sometimes, we have to read Survival Geeks.
That’s some lovely work from old Charlie Squirrel.
The Green One stands astride London, apparently shitting a bloke from his Betelgeusian sphincter. In the sky is an assortment of heroes and villains that Tharg is absolutely fine with being there. Given the fact that many of these characters are armed and the populace below are seemingly petrified, this has all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack.
Inside the cover we have a hint that a Ratfink story will be in the FCBD prog and we get a one page advert of the forthcoming story Brink by Abnett and Culbard.
Well that’s it then, might as well cancel the subscription now they have killed the golden goose. I’ll also destroy my progs in protest and write a “you killed Dredd, now I will kill you” letter to the writer. Oh, hang on, that’s the actions of a mentalist.
So, there’s some odd stuff in this tale.
Cadet Lorenzo can’t seem to hit Thorn despite him being the size of a Klegg. He’s not that far away either, so either Thorn is blessed, Lorenzo’s a bad shot or this is a plot convenience just so the big bad can escape on his nearby bike. Again.
Thorn seems to escape like Hitler at the end of every Danger 5 episode.
The remaining handful of creeps are gunned down in short order. There seems to have been maybe a hundred of them throughout this tale, tops. I find it hard to comprehend that these idiots are the ones starving out the Big Meg? This handful of fucking incompetent jackasses?
There are some good points here too with Lorenzo using his loaf and employing riot foam to stem the flow of blood. That’s smart thinking.
Maybe it’s just me being an untrusting prick but I found Lorenzo’s running off yet more suspicious behaviour, riot foam aside of course.
Alright let’s get to the biscuits…Dredd apparently buys it.
There’s a nice handover between Dredd and Rico, which is as emotional as it gets between those two. If that’s Dredd’s last words then they’re not bad and it certainly beats “Hey, you look just like PJ Mayb-“ or “That’s really deep, Walter, now open your fist…”
Wait, what’s that weird blue electrical discharge around the med wagon just before it explodes? I’m sure someone will mention that in any follow ups, unless that kind of shit happens all of the time. Has Dredd been teleported off to Smiley’s office? Is he now in the Nexus with Jim Kirk? Is he time twinned with Biggles and is even now leading a chin first assault on the Hun?
Is he dead? Is he alive? Will I ever stop asking questions?
You’ll have to read the Meg to find out it seems and that’s a bit of a shitty trick, although I agree it would be hard to have Dredd in the Meg while apparently toes up here. It still seems like a ploy to drive up sales, though.
Artwise this is good and there is a nice trail of claret from Dredd adding to the feeling that the he’s not getting back up again any time soon. That’s fair enough as the gun Thorn is using looks like a fifty cal or larger. That’s going to leave a mark.
I just love the art and the detail is just incredible. That first panel of page two has some brilliant poses and just highlights the brilliance of Googe. .
Storywise this is not so fortunate. Rodents have captured the human machine and turned it against its creators. As the general himself stated, science is bad, except where that ideal can be forgotten by the writers to push the story along.
Howard performs some Deus Ex Monster and goes full Cthulu, tearing apart everything, beheading the general.
Before two of the geeks can swap places (where they will be happier) they are dragged away and we are left with the stomach churning possibility that the stories will converge again one day.
Clive says this further proof that they are characters in an ongoing serial of some kind, which I can understand is some meta writing but it doesn’t have to be this way. You have the power to stop it by writing to Tharg and telling him to get this out of the Prog.
Oh god, and new Geek Kevin has appeared and everyone seems to know who he is, except Howard.
Wow this is just a massive rip off of the start of Buffy series five.
Please go away.
Fairfax makes his way to Silver Creek on his cheeky bike where things have not gone well.
Gramps saving everyone with some smoke was some very clever thinking but this seems to be merely delaying the inevitable.
Luke’s gone full on tainted now after his snakebite and is eating the dead locusts while spouting some insanity.
Meanwhile, just like in Dead Reckoning, the law officers have gone over to the Dark Judge side and are blazing away on everyone for the most minor legal infraction.
It’s horrible, but in a very good way. My only worry is that there is no real meat to this yet.
The art is still decidedly dark and gritty and I loved panel 3 of page 1, showing the billboard (untouched) amongst the battered and decaying road. That’s an evil looking sky too.
The panel of Luke eating the locust was also creepy as hell.
THARG THE SERIAL KILLER:
The great Mike Collins pulls off some lovely (and retro feeling) black and white art.
The story is fairly mundane with an investigation into the rumour that Tharg is full of Diss (that’s a d and not a p) and regularly likes to pour it out to the readership. This was done via the comic but in these days of high technology, it’s achieved via the interwebs.
The Diss is all over the 2000ad forum for a start.
The revelation that Tharg keeps old editor Burt in a drawer is a little disturbing. He’s like an alien Jeffrey Dahmer.
Our Nubian hero is tortured and torn apart amongst much chatting and exposition. As part of the deal (since Tortrix apparently knows fuck all- God, this really is like the Rogue Trooper “Hit” stories) they are going to summon up the shade of Nero to provide Aquila with the answer he needs. I feel certain this will work like a charm.
Meanwhile, Felix and Tortrix’s creations conspire to do for the prick which will of course not scupper the plot in any way.
I’m not overly wowed by this, sadly. It’s not doing anything particularly bad, it’s just not that interesting. I mean we have a huge Nubian dude being skinned alive by a masochistic necromancer and it’s attempting to bore us into compliance.
The art is certainly gruesome and the niggles I have with it remain, but it’s not without some nice panels.
We also get a look at Hades which seems lovely and toasty what with the lava, foul demonic denizens and a nightmare of pain and eternal torment.
Still, it’s better than most parts of South Shields.
Despite THAT event in Dredd, the top spot is taken by Tainted once again. It’s creepy as fuck.