Orlok has been in Rotorua this week. Even the smell of sulphur, the sight of a Scientology church and meeting the world’s sweariest Maori hasn’t been enough to put him off reviewing Prog 1978…
Logo coverage- large.
Brand coverage- zero.
Unnaturally long left arm- present.
Spelling mistake- Thrlling
Not bad overall. The lettering is good and very stellar and the space station is not unlike a Chris Foss special from back in the day. As for our human characters, Officer Ro Laren seems focussed, while Officer Willem Defoe seems to have his eyes shut, probably because he banged his enormous left arm on the way in.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg gives us another glimpse of the FCBD prog.
The Damage Report has a pop at Rogue One trailer for its “lazy” open, completely oblivious to the irony of the Geeks opening this Prog (oh, that’s alright since it is meta) or their own lazy attitude to publicising the death of Dredd (if it is permanent) to bring in sales. Laziness is all relative innit?
I like the art, and this is top notch stuff from PJ Holden, and you can see he has worked his arse off on this.
There are some nice little touches in the story. I like the reference to ear slippers on page 1 and the cool broken panels as Joyce is unceremonially defenestrated. Never mind though he’s apparently one of the best Judges in the city. I fear for the future, I really do.
Page 3 has a really nice panel of silhouetted Judge with only his gold bits visible.
Page 6 has a giant pig advert near parliament for “Dave’s Pork Pies”. Nearby is Corbyn’s Column.
And the clockface on the Elizabeth Tower being turned into one with the date and time was a masterstroke.
Storywise I’m not quite taking to this yet.
Bizarrely, one of the juves in the raid seems to have grown up in a different city to the Big Meg for when he realises that a Judge has just gunned down an armed man who assaulted him. It’s almost like he’s in a fascist state or something.
Joyce then ices them all because he’s had enough. One of the best in the city, he is. One of the best.
He’s then called back to the Grand Hall and is informed of two important facts. First, he’s to be extradited to Brit Cit as a peace initiative because in this sudden desperate state, the Brits are needed on side. Oh and second, Dredd is not going because he’s dead.
Hershey probably could have led with the first one.
Anyway it appears that Joe’s death is being kept quiet pending investigation. Makes you wonder why.
Regardless, Joyce will be out of the city for a while as the trial (though non-custodial no matter what happens) will be lengthy. While he is away Hershey will be working on another option to secure city but that’s a secret, see.
Once Joyce gets Limey-side, he is stripped of his gun, badge and helmet and within about thirty seconds his prisoner convoy is attacked.
My suspicious nature immediately makes me think Hershey is behind it. Or the Irish. Yes, let’s blame the Irish.
Oh dear. We get a self-referencing cold open with Clive narrating the “story so far” to the audience. This is supported by the art with Clive breaking through the fifth panel and basically addressing the reader.
In a nutshell this borrows very heavily from the Buffy episode Superstar, with Jonathan, sorry…Kev, being granted the power to hold thrall over the geek team who regard him as amazing.
All is explained in a flashback to two fucking issues ago and with it we get hilarious references to
Lovecraft, Nickelback, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Dr Who and The Twilight Zone.
To top it all off the female geek is forced to wear a French Maid outfit and is cleaning with her ass in the air while Kev stifles an erection with a cushion. It’s all right though because this is co-written by a woman and so the token female character can be reduced to sex object for the purpose of comedy.
This is not the worst thing ever to appear in the Prog but it is stillI poor. I read this story on a plane to Rotovegas and if you are trapped in a steel tube it is one of the least worst choices on offer, beaten only by having your entrails sucked down the vacuum toilet or being seated next to Danny Dyer.
Well, John’s dead, having come down with a sudden case of shot in the heads. This turn of events causes an existential crisis in the survivors who deduce, quite logically, that God hates us all. Well, he certainly would if he was real.
Disturbingly the shooter is trapped under the bus wheel and is still alive thanks to some Dark Judge tech until Gramps finishes the piece of shit off. We’re seeing this tech deployed more and more and it seems to be spreading like a sickness.
I don’t know if I missed a step here but Gramps either misunderstands the situation or actively lies to family to keep their spirits up with a hope for a cure. We’ll see how that pans out now he too is injected and infected. It’s just getting grimmer week after week.
The carnage in the hospital was pretty awful and there was an almost Pat Mills feel to the arbitrary laws being breached (talking and listening both being declared illegal).
There was a nice character moment where Fairfax calls into question the bodies trailing behind the cop car wondering if they were still alive when it set off. When it is mentioned that this is small potatoes compared to his antics he’s none too impressed.
The visuals are really nice again with lovely touches such as “Shit Creek” smeared in blood on the car. There’s also a great close up of Fairfax’s visor with said car reflected in it. I do lobe a good visor close up, me.
Top of the shop is the nice panels on page 4, especially the one of the moon in sky as Fairfax walks silently but deliberately to the crash and gets ready to finish off the cops.
Ditto for the horrific black face (but for eyes and teeth) of the cop on page 5 who is dishing out punishment for made up crimes.
Any series that starts with zero gravity blood can’t be all bad.
This opens well with the murder of Xan Harbin at the orbiting Odette Habitat generating a procedural investigation and chase, which deftly introduces us to our protagonists and their environment.
Brinkman seems to be the square jawed cop and Bridge appears to have an aversion to violence which hilariously causes her to throw up on her perp’s back. This is a nice character moment and both she and Brinkman (who is coldcocked after not securing the scene) seem like very real and very human characters and that’s better than hoped for after only one episode.
My only criticism is that there’s sweary stuff. I swear like a Tourette’s afflicted sailor who has hit his thumb with a slate hammer, but this didn’t add anything to the story and may only serve to drive a wider wedge between the reader demographics. Sorry, little Johnny, you can see people torn asunder in Aquila, but woe betide if you see the words “shit” and “asshole”. No Prog for you, my boy.
So, it didn’t bother me but I think in editorial decision terms, it is a mistake.
The art is good but not exactly to my tastes and the explanatory text boxes were annoying as hell. Page 2 had seven of ‘em littering the place like jugglers at a street festival.
I suspect the art will grow on me though.
With Nero snatched from Hades and appearing to have the body of a grub, Aquila demands that he tell him where the Devourer is. Oddly this strategy doesn’t work due to being badly thought out and Nero will only tell him what he wants to know if he comes and gets him, thereby setting up the mission for later. For fuck’s sake, this is so lame and trotting out the cliché of bringing back a bad guy is awful enough, but to announce it well in advance to secure the tale is just an insult.
Tortrix seems convinced about the existence of Cerberus, which is odd because only last issue he thought this was a mythological creature. This may seem like nitpicking but I’m highlighting the endemic issue here- it is badly put together.
As expected and telegraphed, Felix and his buddies break up the party and despite only being a head at this stage, Scarabatus manages to best Tortrix and eat his face. For some reason this apparently kills him. I’m not even going to try and analyse that.
In a surprisingly convenient move, Scabby tells Aquila he can get him to Hades so he can get in and out with Nero. Felix gets to carry his head in a sack for the rest of the adventures so cue much hilarity.
Look, it’s really easy to get mixed up between having a pop at the writer or the story and I’ll just address that point right now. I’ve never met Rennie. I hope to one day, but I do know two people who have met him. One (who works in the games industry) said they had a good chat and he seemed ok and well informed about video game narratives. The other said that Rennie seemed like a ventriloquist’s dummy that had been brought to life in an unholy experiment. Therefore I have no axe to grind here other than on the quality of the story.
The only revelation of interest was that Tortrix has a “screaming passage”. Don’t we all, pal. Don’t we all.
Aquila will return, sadly.
The art is ok. I did spot that Felix was badly proportioned in at least two panels but the faces nailed to the columns were surprisingly horrific.
This is all visuals over substance, like porn.
Still Tainted. We’ll see how it matches up against Slaine next week.