1983. What a year that was. The launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle, Stanislav Petrov narrowly averts a nuclear war and Return of the Jedi is released to a public who don’t call bullshit on it. Oh and Orlok finally gets to put a body part inside Mandy from number 61. Let’s hope Prog 1983 can live up to these events. Join Orlok as he turns the pages with his smelly finger…
Bloody hell. That’s an absolute cracker from Fabry and Brown and it really is a cover to grab your attention.
The gorgeous colours and the menacing pose really make it pop and the bodies in the background are perhaps the result of the central figure going chopper crazy.
And who or what is this central figure? Let’s piece together the clues…
A subhuman, hairy backed beast- check.
Unkempt eyebrows and dental features more akin to an animal- check.
Carrying a primitive weapon that represents the pinnacle of its technology- check.
By all accounts I’d say that this was either Black Shuck or a remarkably accurate portrait of the King of Swansea.
There’s no logo coverage and this seems to be the norm now. And that’s a good thing.
I must admit that when I saw the words “Black Shuck is back” my mood dropped and my shoulders sank.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg announces what we already know from the cover but reveals that a new Anderson story from Worley and Davidson will be with us soon. It looks like they have gotten around the “ownership” issue by making this the film version of Cass. I wonder what direction he’s going to take it?
The letters page features a cut out piece to give newsagents to reserve a copy of the GGC and this is deliciously old school.
We learn (as if you didn’t already know) that Karl Urban visited nerve centre for super-secret talks.
The fake Irish try to trace Joyce and decide to go about it with some false flag dastardly action.
You know, cos they’re Brits. Meanwhile Joyce defies the Irish stereotype by breaking into a house only to be confronted by Armitage.
Flint Lockjaw (not his real name) raised a great point about the relationship between the Brits and the Emerald Isle posse. We’ve previously seen that the Emerald Isle is self-governed and as for unification- what is it going to be unified with? We’ve never seen anything on maps to indicate there is anything outside of Murphyville and that’s the problem here. Retcons and revisits are all very well but you have to have some sense of it beforehand or else it’s just Judge Smiley walking out of the walls.
Brit Cit Telecom has been infiltrated by Emerald Isle sympathisers and that five Emerald Isle cells are in Brit Cit . Why would this be?
With the attacks in Brit Cit blamed on Eire Uile, some paramilitary bellends, Oswin states that the Northern States have supported Irish Reunification and seems to be directing this at Hershey. This is a bit bizarre as there haven’t been any states for decades and even if there were, what would Murphyville be unifying with? Rubble?
Is this Oswin’s powerplay? Has she always planned to blame the Big Meg for the shit and then take over with a new broom? Is this what she means by “not just your city any more”? Why am I asking all of these questions? And where the fuck is Dredd?
It is also mentioned that the Brits have imposed sanctions on Mega City One. So what? What about the other cities that are trading partners?
The art is nice with the library having some really nice background touches such as Brexit to Brit Cit, Mein Trumpf, Love In The Time Of Block Mania, Sex, Drugs and Drokk n Roll, The Joy Of Kleggs and Fifty Shades Of Grud.
Continuing their killing spree, our heroes go after the Trojan prick who is the commander of the half dead.
They conduct this operation by chatting in the midst of combat about Ukko and his fine writing skills.
After some disruption, the Cyth prostrate themselves before the Archon to stave off a kicking.
There were some nice lines in here such as the Al Caponesque, “you can accomplish more with a clever word and an axe than you can with just a clever word.”
And the “She’s a fine doorful of a woman” is simply genius. I’m using that. I’ll let you know what happens once I sleep off the testicular trauma.
Somewhat less brilliant is the sudden buddy-buddy nature of the two barbarians and this does seem forced considering all that has gone before. Remember, Gort willingly sold Slaine down the river and was in thrall to the Cyth this whole time.
Having said that maybe there is something more to this. When Slaine tells Gort he is no longer his friend but his brother and then uses this as an opportunity to press the flesh staring into each other’s eyes, it reminded me of that scene in Predator where Dillon and Dutch manage to hold hands for an unnecessarily long time while eye fucking each other.
Artwise it’s still excellent. I liked the similar poses of Gort and Slaine as they get stuck in, cracking jokes as they go.
Ditto for the next page of them using shields against the arrows. There was also a great perspective shot of the reins and a simply brilliant panel of Trojan heads flying through the air.
Annoying (and somewhat dodgy) Bob paraphrases Konstantin Tsiolkovsky during his Guru Tube seminars, wanting us to head for some exoplanets instead of staying in the relative safety of Earth’s orbit. This is a terrible idea without scouting them first. What if you get there and the place is occupied by giant crabs? Or the place is entirely made of feta. Or worse still, home to the Space Welsh. It could happen.
There was a cracking character moment here with Bridge on a new organic diet and off her meds, much to Brink’s alarm. It seems both of these cops (possibly all) are on Nudge to keep them on point during their duty shift. That’s quite a disturbing facet and Bridge’s “corporations and Big Pharma” rant doesn’t seem quite as Alex Jones crazy if you take this as gospel.
Further to this, there was genuine concern from both cops for the welfare of the other in this and it felt entirely human and less like a script necessity.
After a breakthrough on the “paint” used on Frannie’s wall, our heroes happen upon a union meeting where Brink suckers in one nimrod (he bears the mark of the leper heart) who may know the truth or be off his tits on fumes. Both are equally possible.
After some “deductive reasoning” ascertained by roughing up the perp, Brink tries to arrange a meet with the elders and mentions about the leper heart featuring in his dreams. This could be a bluff but Bridge is surprised by this and seems alarmed that her partner is not following protocol so again this is cleverly written stuff that flows like humans genuinely talking to each other.
One mention of the vomit words later and the food once again makes an exit, this time from Brink.
Giving chase to the fleet of foot scrote, Brink opens a door only to be confronted with a giant fucking eye.
A GIANT FUCKING EYE.
The art is nice and I like the idea of the seminar being played through the tracelet.
That final panel, though…that was some trippy Twilight Zone shit right there.
I’m also awarding extra points for the words “Muddy Funstas” scrawled on the wall in the penultiloop panel. It made me look up “Badfellas” again on youtube.
Ok so we get a bit of history to start off. In the ruins of St Marys Abbey in Suffolk (a place where even the Welsh version of el chupacabra from the cover looks like a normal citizen) a skeleton is dug up and is thought to be the bones of the original legendary mutt. Is it our shapeshifting hero?
Do we care?
Back in the past, Shuck is doing battle with a big bastard of a worm creature. No it’s not a crossover with The Order. This briefly tries to swallow before spitting in disgust.
There’s probably some sexual subtext there.
Not put off in the slightest, Shuck finishes it off.
Meanwhile in the family seat, the Queen is in seemingly premature labour with her twins but is interrupted by Wolfman Jesus who says to say no to drugs. Even though she has two moon addled monsters kicking off in her babymaker she’s to go see someone with magic powers instead of taking medication.
And that just about sums up the Christian attitude to women really.
The art is a lot better fare from Yeowell and page four has a cracking panel of Shuck swinging his blade in the moonlight, which is great work. It is let down by the same faces but that’s the only limitation here so I am hopeful that this will be better than the last series as Yeowell may pay more attention to the detail.
Brilliantly, Feo and Kymn have a casual chat in the middle of combat and are very philosophical about their imminent death and somewhat blase about the pitched battle to fend off the Angels. Kymn is then floored by the announcement of the marriage between Birdy and Bulliet.
Sadly, Bitch is not ordained to marry and finds the idea of it distasteful. Join the club, mate.
It is revealed her people don’t even have priests so that’s double awesome. They also believe that there is no deity in the sky and the irony of the situation with the God Star is pointed out to her.
With the Angels falling back there is a brief respite and a comical scene where Bulliet thinks Kymn is making a wedding gift of a hulking, corn fed monster of a choodey. Instead this lumbering abomination turns out to be a holy man of sorts, with the Choodey form of worship centred around punching things in face. I actually went to a wedding in Glasgow like that.
Comical vows and a genuinely funny “I am weeping saline” from Bitch while she is being hugged at her ankles by a crying alien tops this off. Harrison perfect for this story, he really is.
The panels on that first page are just lush with that background panel giving a scale of the battle going on around the scenes. It’s immense.
The beautiful first panel on page five is a perfectly magical moment and Harrison is so great for this strip it makes me wonder how well he could have done from the start had he been there. Can you imagine how well he could have rendered the ETC on Earth?
With Dredd still floundering, it’s a toss up between Brink and Grey Area, with the latter slightly edging it.