A better stable of stories from the Meg this time, but there are still some ups and downs. Orlok will be only too happy to sit you down and tell you about them…
I always have a fondness for Willsher’s work and though this doesn’t offer a cover to immediately post to Facebook as a paragon of beauty, it does the job. Dredd’s a big part of the cover, by which I mean he’s filling almost all of the focus point and the lettering is slightly transparent to accommodate this. I don’t know if it is a good thing or not.
The skull in the background is quite eye catching, though and overall I thought it was good.
DREDD,ER HANG ON…RICO:
With Joe barely cold in pieces blasted over a large radius, Jarrow is still being an insensitive jizzwattle. Hershey doesn’t exactly haul him over the coals for this but you can tell he’s shooting his career in the foot.
The retrainee programme is mentioned again so this is obviously an important part of the narrative. The plan is to use Judges that have a transferable skill and Justice system. The obvious choice being TC Judges. Sovsec is also mentioned but discounted because they have just gone through something bad. I am assuming this is Steve Yeowell’s art.
Objections are raised since the Texas City Judges are isolationists and stood by during the Apocalypse War, which isn’t quite the whole truth since they were threatened too and could do nothing with the warp in place. They did help with the Total War arrests, though.
Chief Judge Oswin is too friendly by half, so she’s up to something.
I’ve already heard one conspiracy theory about this incident.
Hershey planned the whole thing for Dredd to go to Brit Cit without her giving into it publicly, thereby saving face. Of course she had to know that Thorn would shoot Dredd and that the Med Wagon would arrive in time.
Meanwhile at the site of Dredd’s demise, Koburn just shows up, which was lucky.
Koburn and Rico make a good partnership with Rico being more relaxed about Koburn’s comportment than the old man and Koburn recognising the Dredd knock off has skills. This is played very well in the script but the convenience of him just rocking up seems forced.
Dredd’s charred and battered helmet is discovered and we’re presuming it is his since the other Judges listed on the missing list were mission specialists and probably would not have worn the street lid. Plus, it is hardly ever off his head, even during operations to anything below the neck, so the implication is that he is definitely dead. As dead as Jon Snow.
We get a look at the other victims of the blast since this is not just Dredd who was lost but a handful of other Judges and a Med Wagon too. That had only just had a new paint job too. Sniff.
Well the art is just lovely though it’s weird to see Koburn drawn by anyone but Carlos.
The Control Room Judges have odd helmets including one that looks like two “T”s for the eye slits. It brought to mind some of the McCarthy era madness.
One of Hershey’s staff also has the most inappropriate moustache ever published in the Meg. It’s a full on Mexican twatsicle.
Hershey now has brown eyes. Maybe she’s a replicant.
And that’s a hell of a last panel.
Thorn now going after a settlement in Utah dustbowl. Further east than TC and about 1000 miles from Big Meg West sectors. How much of an area is this idiot and his crew terrorising? It looks to be about the size of Western Europe, so they gets around for one man and his small group of a few hundred. They will terrorise the entire planet if not stopped but luckily the Tonto Gang are able to do what two mega cities aren’t.
So Thorn’s attacking the supply and power lines to MC and then heading West, which is presumably a logical gameplan in his head. But if Koburn knows where he is going on his huge bike, then why don’t they cut out the chase option and send a Gunbird after him to blast him into a greasy stain?
REALM OF THE DAMNED:
This begins with a dejected Van Helsing brought before his enemies who threaten to fuck his holes. The dude asking which hole to have a pop at first has a tiny penis so that’s aural sex, maximum, as far as he is concerned.
There is some dissent in the vampire ranks about how to treat him and it appears that there is a power struggle of sorts going on with everyone trying to wave their bloody dicks to get shit done in the wake of the Dragon’s resurrection.
Petrova’s will wins out and she affords Van Helsing hospitality to ensure his compliance, using the promise of a blood serum more potent than the real thing to drive home the deal. At first he tells them to get fucked, but the hunger to carry on living pushes him beyond this and he’s hooked in.
It is revealed that Van Helsing murdered the “Great Count” and I presume this is Dracula and not the OCD one from Sesame Street, which would be a terrible shame.
While the vamps are bickering Van Helsing cleverly blesses the font of blood and uses it to burn some of his captors. I’d never have thought of that, so well done. Before he can consecrate the entire building and fuck things up royally, he is stopped with the revelation that Balaur (the aforementioned Dragon) has returned and shit is about to get very real. Balaur is a maniac and lives only for the combat having fought alongside the great Vlad Tepes back in the day. His appearance pisses on the bloody chips of humans and vampires alike in a plot not too dissimilar to Blade 2. Ergo an alliance of sorts is put forth and old rivalries put on hold for the moment.
Petrova believes the world is a kind of hell only kept from going “full Swansea” by the order imposed by the vampires. With Balaur now in the mix, it’s only a matter of time before this delicate balance is gone and so the prick has to go.
Van Helsing is informed that the tracer in his blood cannot be removed now and that they will always know where he is. This could be a bluff, but if not then he needs to come up with a plan B for when this is over. Show of hands for killing everyone? Carried.
There was also a nice scene with the vampire version of Q showing off his new UV flashbangs that have taken millions to develop and Van Helsing trumps this with the fact that he made better and cheaper models out of soda cans.
We also get a potted history of Balaurs’s downfall. Being a class A lunatic he started having a pop at enemies and allies alike so he was ambushed by Petrova and his armour was blessed, weakening him for her to get in there and beat the Jim Christ out of him. She smashed off his jaw which survives the subsequent sunlight bath that does for him. This then becomes an artefact, revered by his followers and is inscribed with glyphs of resurrection. Lucky it wasn’t his cock.
My only quibble here is why it has been hanging around for 600 years and not deployed earlier by the faithful.
There’s some more gorgeous attention to detail in the art with my particular favourite being the red reflective gleam in Van Helsing’s eyes as he sees the blood, mirroring the red eyes of his hated enemy.
The panels with the horses and armour are simply magnificent and that’s a wonderful last panel. In this there are severed heads aplenty including one covered in barbed wire, a testament to Balaur’s maniacal cruelty and his inventive nature concerning the thing he loves most.
He’s like the Willy Wonka of torture.
Bloody hell, the art is gorgeous in this.
That’s a great top panel in the Mek church and there was some lovely perspective and stained glass windows (with robots) on show.
With no sign of Lawson, Jaroo and Pettifer are still searching with Hetch pushing the latter to give up looking as he says she is dead and that needs to be accepted.
Unlike Lawson, Pettifer shows every ounce of humanity and is reduced to tears, partly out of fear and partly from anger at her plight. She’s under pressure to become the new marshal and also wants to go after Brotherley, believing him to be involved in what has transpired.
Despite her reluctance to command, Pettifer handles the shit in the church declaring as much to the perp as to herself “I…I am the Law”. And when it all goes sour she blows the creep away, taking a life for the first time and asks “What have I become?”
The loon in the church is there to avenge his dead sister who wanted to join the metal bastard church. She died under knife having organics removed and the fuckstick believes she was murdered and harvested for her organs. In full on conspiracy mode he believes the church is making a killing in the organ trade.
Since they were getting the organs anyway when they removed them, this makes no sense but I guess he didn’t consider that.
Ok, this ended and I was once again unfulfilled.
Varr has a range of abilities conferred upon him, including the power to make dust fly out of his fingers, flyng on said dust and the amazing power to reflect heatseekers.
We get a hint of why in an origin tale where he is given some powers in the abyss. We know not why and we don’t find out.
His prey, Wolanski, is set upon and though he is alive at the end of this, his eyes are gone in a gruesome fashion.
This was unfulfilling because all that happens is that Dredd and Conti mash the buttons on the controller and use each bit of tech they have (screamer grenade, heatseekers and incendiary) until one works. There’s no cleverness or strategy about it and that’s the issue. It just…resolves and they are off into the sunset.
It started ok, but the whole has once again been bland. Still, at least it was different from the drug of the week story.
I’d like to say there is a follow up tale that could be expanded upon here, but that would be a lie.
The art is exactly what you would expect from Willsher, with a great panel at bottom of page 1. There’s lots of power I that.
My favourite was the reflection in the visor becoming the eyes of Varr as a kid. That’s a nice bit of transition.
The FCBD expose is a good insight into the creative talent involved. This was a welcome inclusion and do you know why? Cos it’s relevant.
The Eric Powell one pager was a different story and I have no idea what value this added or why it was in.
The obituary to Tony Luke is was an excessive three pages. Did we really need all three based on his contributions? I’m not trying to belittle the man or his talents, but it seemed about two pages too many.
Is there an order of magnitude? When Pat Mills is finally killed while choking the life out of the Pope, we’ll get the entire Meg devoted to him for 18 months.
Five pages- FIVE FUCKING PAGES- devoted to Star Trek comics. Look, I love Star Trek, I really do, but why is this in here?
The floppy was the first volume of 3rillers which seems a little insulting as these are pretty recent. However, the content is excellent with Six Brothers and Gunheadz being the pick of the crop.
Realm of the Damned is pretty much unbeatable although Lawless gave it a good poke.