It has been said that in Bollywood movies onscreen sex is considered taboo and to get around this, it is often represented by dancing. Survival Geeks has mirrored this trend by substituting any decent storytelling for a steaming pile of shit…
That is a nice bit of work from JDH and though it’s misleading a little since Dredd isn’t in the Prog this week, it does riff on the reveal at the end of last week. I think that fails it though. Back when The Dead Man’s identity was revealed the cover of the Prog after (661) had an image of the burnt Judge holding up his badge to drive the story home but the difference is that Prog 661 had the virtue of picking up the story inside. Here, any casual reader may pick it up, see Dredd is on the cover, wonder what is going on and then be mystified as to where he is.
The image is nice though with some good old claret splashed around and a bit of grey stubble on the lantern jaw. There’s a nice shine of the pads, too.
The webbing under the uniform is something I think I once saw the great Ron Smith first do and it’s a rarity to see but does make a modicum of sense.
Inside Yewtree Tharg gives a fonder farewell to Survival Geeks that I ever would and reveals that Grey Area returns next week. We also get a look at a new series of Defoe with Colin MacNeil on the black and white are duties. That should be spectacular.
The art is again a bit scrappier this week but despite this there are some lovely images such as the shot of the old streets dwarfed by the big city off in the distance and the puzzled looking aliens attempting to navigate Brit Cit with a map of Aberdeen.
The Prohibited World gag was nice as was the deeply distressing “Pete’s” which seems to be a front for the scrofula in a bun emporium that is Greggs.
Storywise this is coming together but there’s a little convenience thrown in for good measure since at attempted mugging is overturned by Joyce who nets himself some blades and a convenient phone which he uses to call a mystery number. This exploits a “glitch” in the system that Joyce apparently knows about and enables him to call for help. We’ll look at that when it is finally revealed but it does seem damned convenient.
Later he is fingered by some identically dressed undercover officers who have no qualms about shooting dead the rozzer that Joyce attempts to surrender to. If you’ve ever seen the UK Judges page on Facebook you’ll have a hint of recognition there.
Luckily Joyce grabs this dead Judge’s gun and maybe, just maybe it is palm printed. Or he knows how to disable the charge.
Regardless it seems Mayhew has a ruthless plan and Joyce’s survival is now not part of the deal.
Back in the Big Meg, the Texan Judges are given re-orientation with the sensible emphasis that they are not yet ready to enforce the Law on their own and must be paired up, deferring all judgements to their Mega City counterparts. Since mutants are ok and not everyone will have guns (since most cits in the Big Meg aren’t permitted to carry) Oswin points out that this legal difference may have to be amended if there are to be more Texans coming here and that is the kick we have been waiting for.
It seems the lovely Pamelina has designs on moving some of her citizens from the cramped confines of Texas City to the relatively empty sectors of the Big Meg.
Pamelina also seems to be checking out Beeny’s steel buns on page 4. Mmmmmm….buns.
There is an hint (perhaps false) here that the Texans and the Brits are in cahoots. In this scenario, the Brits have planned to remove Dredd (and Joyce) so that leaves the Texan takeover of the Big Meg unimpeded, because it’s Dredd.
First, that paints Hershey as incompetent in that Dredd is the backbone of the city and she can’t tell the Texans to get fucked or make a decision without him to hold her hand.
Second, the Texan plan was in place before Dredd vanished so this isn’t a new idea and his being there or not might only slow things down since they could (if the Brits can beam a man out of an exploding ship) disappear him any time.
Third, what are the Brits getting out of this apart from submitting themselves to later blackmail? Once the Texans take over they could essentially fuck the Brits off and if the Brits say “but we’ll tell your newly subjugated citizens the truth” they will get nuked. Granted the Brits could just save face and get Dredd and Joyce to a show trial and make an example of them but how would they do it now they have faked his demise? They could just shoot Dredd in the head right now and nobody would know a thing and keeping him alive is stupid.
Fourth, how did the Brits know that Dredd would be in the Cursed Earth and injured enough not to fight back so they could beam him to a waiting medical facility?
What’s that? It says so in the script? Oh, fair play. Or Lorenzo really was working for someone else.
So it appears that the knock off Sauron is inside Kev and actually IS him. This means that rather than go through the pretence of the whole Buffy rip off, he could have emerged at any time and ripped them all new arseholes. It is just for utter plot nonsense that he does so now.
And where did he get the magic forgetting ring? Actually, don’t answer that as I don’t give a shit.
The Geek speak is a little lighter this time but the exclamation about the glorious double moons of Dejah Thoris (from John Carter) is surely a reference to her tits, yeah? (GO FEMINISM!).
The dénouement sees the bad guy talked down by one geek (name unimportant) and geek shame is revealed across the board as Kev is suckered into possibly becoming part of the household. Rather than forgive the fool for his ways and tap into that marvellous power he has, they simply maroon him on the bug planet.
These people are horrible.
If this series should ever return (and to be honest rather than see that happen I’d prefer to take a suicidal jump from a first floor balcony with a strip light protruding from my rectum) they should rename it Survival Cunts (featuring Sexism).
The art is just brilliant and there was a nice panel of Howard terrorising some tiny Lego figures and shitting himself when he sees he dark lord chasing his housemates.
I was really surprised by the ending to this as I thought the last page was simply going to be a fourth wall breaking splash page of the writers each giving the reader the double bird and saying “Fuck you. We’ve got your money. Hahahaha.”
After the revelation that Slaine may in fact be the son of an ancient version of Pat Mustard, this reaches an inevitable conclusion. And it’s a bit weaker than what has come before.
Gort tells the Cyth to get fucked and as a leveller, both he and Slaine return to normal.
Undaunted by the odds, Gort attempts to take on Gododin and is zapped for his troubles, but rather than just killing him, Gododin wants to find out why he has betrayed his programming. Even though he knows why since he has just been told.
Slaine of course has a pop himself and fails. It is here that Gododin reveals that he is going to kill Slaine and then re-animate him, promising to do some drawn out sexy time necro stuff. To emphasise the point he shows Slaine the visuals of this and judging by the reaction it is quite unappealing. Still, there’s no accounting for taste.
We end with Gododin just about to chop Slaine’s head off again- for what seems like the umpteenth time- my guess is that Gort will jump up from his torpor and save the day, sacrificing himself to save our Celtic Rambo.
All that is missing from Gort at this stage is him affecting a broken English accent and asking “what mean, expendable?”
Extra points to Uncle Pat though for using the phrase “Dirt worshippers”.
Well, there is some gorgeous, gorgeous art. The white backgrounds work really well here to give us the sharp focus we need and centre us to the conversations and actions that are the meat in the sandwich. This in turn makes the blues and reds really pop.
And I like how some of the edges of the figures are bled into the background.
Blimey, the Habitats are privately owned? That’s quite a moneyspinner for someone and Thatcherism writ large.
Arriving on Ludmilla, Brink and Bridge meet their opposite number Hassan who seems very smiley/friendly and has done all due diligence in his investigations. He reveals that he has a soft lead in the form of an undercover operative who suspects that something is up, but in a David Icke kind of way.
A meeting with this operative (Bilder) reveals that all of the cults have a common theme in their belief that a daemon space god exists in the heart of the sun and will soon be hatching out. He also reveals that it has different names including the one mentioned before; Melancholema.
That’s only slightly less crazy than blood drinking shapeshifting lizards but with humanity now away from Earth they stand a good chance of surviving the sun turning out to be a giant egg. The rest of the planet will be fucked though.
It also looks like they will cross paths with Frannie Lightman again.
There’s a brilliant couple of panels where Bridge gets a room with pin ups on the walls and after the offer of a trade is rejected, drops the instant classic of “I’m sticking with the norks. You know where you are with norks.”
Amen to that, sister.
The follow up line about the nipples was comic genius.
It is revealed that Brink is knocking back some serious meds and this could be another very human weakness to add to the grounding factor of this strip. The dialogue flows exactly as you would expect humans to interact (which is probably enhanced by the descriptions not being played out in the conversations) and these characters are far from paragons. I like it.
The art is still good though the boxes continue to annoy. I really did love the lightplay throughout but it can be overused and confusing at times. In one panel on page 2 it looks like Hassan has been bukkake’d.
Fairfax’s bike has a chat with Lily and seems quite protective, revealing itself to be a maternal figure of sorts. Lily, despite her anger and gun toting is still a scared kid at her core and that is played out well here. At the end of this, Fairfax takes her off on the bike and the Judge Child prophecy is all coming together. We know that it won’t play out well but it will be damned interesting to see where it goes.
Gramps finally goes out swinging and there’s a truly chilling moment when a mostly beheaded Grey Division prick pipes up with a “Bullets won’t stop us. Good intentions won’t stop us” line.
I’ve also just realised that Judicial daysticks are like maces. I thought that was just a mace that Fairfax procured along the way but it seems to be that in this dimension, real injury is the goal rather than pacification.
Fairfax meanwhile confronts his own weaknesses and uses that to fight back. He then detonates the place figuring that burning the bodies is a surefire way of kicking the Dead Fluid infected into touch.
Based on the earlier story about how the Dark Judges became their asshole selves, I expected this to be shit, but I’m happy to eat those words and say how wrong I was because this has been fucking brilliant from start to finish.
We’ve known all along what the Dark Judges did but this is the story we always wondered about.
Interesting point- when we first met Death (after he was burned in the Rabbit Hutch) his skin was identified as being dead for centuries. That’s consistent with what is happening here. This dimension is so different to the one we know in that this could have happened centuries ago with Deadworld developing faster but more cruel and then Death and his cronies spending a good century or two mopping up the survivors and sitting on their arses until some dimension hopping aliens show up.
Of course the other option is that this story is comparative to the early twenty first century and that time runs concurrently with the Big Megs. And the reason Death’s skin seems to have been dead for centuries? A handjob from Mortis that we won’t talk about.
The art is once again horribly lovely. There was a great panel of that undead prick Gates getting heart shot out at the start and the head hanging off on page 3 was just foul.
Absolutely stunning throughout.
Tainted is unbeaten having smashed everything else to a bloody pulp.