It is 1984 and Orlok is being dragged kicking and screaming through the Ministry of Love to Room 101 where there, his face pressed against the wire cage, he is subjected to reprints of Survival Geeks…
I absolutely love this and the Orwellian feel is very apt where Dredd has shot a perp dead for scrawling.
The nice spot colours were very reminiscent of the mega collection books and that was a great looking city and a cool looking Dredd- part Ezquerra, part Robinson, part Smith (Robin).
I love the way the moon frames Dredd and how the smoke dissipates into the sky across said moon.
The scrawled wall is the same one from Un-American Graffiti and it looks like it has had a number of additions too, including Gaff’s unicorn.
No logo coverage so that’s a fucking bonus and so all things considered, this is a contender for cover of the year.
The only niggle is the floppy daystick, but Dredd’s getting on a bit and I understand that shit happens after your seventies.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg gives us the fantastic idea of a 2000ad colouring book featuring famous heroines. Wait…what? Heroines only? Why not both? Is this positive discrimination because the women of the Prog have been overlooked or is it a burning desire for Squaxx to see more sexy ladies and splash their own dash of “personal colour” on Durham Red’s breasts?
Alrighty. PJ pulls off some nice stuff here during the scenes in the kitchen with the tea making being the focus of things and the dialogue unfolding around it. Dialogue need not be delivered by scowling and gesticulating; it can be found in the mundane too.
The script is another story. So Armitage theorises that since the transport route was a closely guarded secret, someone in the know must have planned Joyce’s abduction using McCluskey’s people. The trial was to be for show and to further weaken the Big Meg and placate the media and somehow McCluskey and co have worked around this to, er, further weaken the Big Meg by pretending to be Irish. There’s a reason, honest, and Mayhew is trying to get the evidence to point to the right suckers.
Armitage gives Joyce a uniform he keeps in his house for some reason and says that there are two dozen members of the Brit Cit elite who would benefit from sanctions on MC1- how, exactly? Think about the scope of those sanctions. There’s also another dozen who want the Emerald Isle subdued because again…reasons.
Given the scenario, only one of those will work won’t it? Either the Big Meg is diminished and sanctions are imposed because they are no longer a world power and that’s how it works, or the dirty Irish have done the deed, in which case the Big Meg is seen as a victim and can only benefit by either remaining stoic or by teaming up with Brit Cit to smash them.
The revenge angle is sound but the results are all wrong.
Regardless, Gulliver Mayhew has a foot in both camps so he is the prime suspect.
Joyce meanwhile is just the Robin to Armitage’s Batman. He’s just there to act as a reader proxy by asking “but why…?” before Armitage mansplains everything.
Back home, a mutant at the gates (with some cool Darth Maul horns) tries to get in and is turned away on the grounds of illiteracy. When he complains, he is banned for life. After making a run for it, he gets plugged. This is Trump’s America, people. Get used to it.
There are a couple of things that don’t ring true here besides what I have already mentioned.
First, Armitage knows that 200kg of matter (including Dredd) is missing from the exploded H-wagon. How does he know what the Big Meg investigation has found? Why is Hershey not mentioning this as a major and extremeley relevant part of the story?
Second, Dredd is off life support and is not even manacled, which means he can make the great escape when the story demands it. They know full well he is a fucking dangerous maniac.
Third, how does the mutant make a run for it? How is security that lax that he can arrive at a desk, get turned away and then run into the city? That’s bollocks.
Fourth, the plan is to dump Dredd’s body at the scene of some Emerald Isle shenanigans and thereby implicate them in his abduction. Then why keep him alive? That just makes it look suspicious since the decay of the body would be all wrong. He’s only kept alive so he can escape, making this look like a shitty Republic serial.
Fifth, how did the Brit Cit teleporter manage to lock onto Dredd? Did he have a homing device planted on him by Lorenzo? Or is it just magic? In which case, why aren’t teleporters used offensively all of the time? Dark Judges giving you shit? Well, beam ’em to a waiting pad and then suction traps the fuckers.
Sixth, they are planting Sov tech to make it look like the Irish had some help with site to site teleportation, even though civilian pads have been in use for decades (see The Menagerie or Lost In Cyberspace and the Emerald Isle could have easily co-opted one of those) and throwing the Sovs in there is turning this plot into some hideous Heath Robinson construction.
Seventh, whose helmet did they find at the scene if they have Dredd’s there and are making him wear it? If it was Dredd’s helmet won’t they get slightly suspicious if he’s wearing another one after he is abducted?
I’m not ragging this for the sake of ragging it, it’s because it makes no logical sense to me and has more holes than Oprah Winfrey’s belt.
Sinead goes to see the female Harambe and Gort is unsure about taking on his own Trojan family.
Pat gives us some more bon mots with Slaine saying “the believer is happy but the doubter is wise” and further expands upon the complexity of Slaine’s childhood.
There’s a brilliant sub-plot here about Slaine’s mum being a crack shot with a bow who can fire multiple arrows at once. She’s a regular Catpiss Everdeen. This moves her away from the one note bit of mummy issue story we have previously been given and that’s refreshing.
She’s also more of an influence on him than his father (whoever that is) with her using some familiar catchphrases like “I didn’t think it too many” and “eminently severe in the work of violence” and that was a nice touch.
Being a free spirit she also cannot be tied down to one guy and wants only strong men in her life. Actually she sounds like a bit of a bitch.
The art is just fucking gorgeous and every panel is a gem.
With Brink losing his marbles, and probably his sphincter control, he thinks he has been in there hours when it is in fact only seconds. The eye symbol on wall is that of Vovek the Leper Heart and clearly this has set off some gnarly, trippy revelation.
Bridge, meanwhile, is all business and procedure, coolly assessing the situation, dragging out the shitdog of a perp (who has seen it too and is understandably freaked out) and snapping her partner back to some sense of normalcy. There’s a cracking insight into the procedural aspects here with Bridge afraid of the unions and the legal consequences of their actions. The cops in this world are a far cry from the dizzy, unaccountable heights of the Judges.
As Bridge does the necessary, Brink is cold cocked (he must have a head like a blind cobbler’s thumb as this happens an awful lot) and the perp is also smashed too before she puts the creep down with a few in the chest.
This sequence is stunning and shows the instant repercussions of one act of violence that can lead to a complete game change for the strip. You can tell that legal ramifications aside, this is going to haunt Bridge and alter her career path irrevocably.
It’s not looking good for Brink either and I don’t think he’s getting up from that one.
Luckily the story only bears his name by accident and can continue without him.
We begin with monks scribbling away on books in Dunwich, including one with a picture of a black dog.
Outside the real thing has showed up and the invasion bell rings as Black Shuck himself returns home.
There were a nice couple of panels of sameface men in armour and it looks like Shuck has taken the time to pimp out his boat with the skull of the giant serpent he killed last week. How long did all of that take? Wasn’t this supposed to be a rapid mission as the full moon was kicking off the twins?
The local Bishop turns out to be useless and says that Shuck is cursed and since he won’t repent that curse is pretty much doubled. You’re either in the club or you ain’t.
Shuck then heads off to take care of some “business” and we see a black dog attacking a lone traveller. Is this a coincidence? Will our hirsute Dog-Jesus be in the frame?
I’m finding it hard to see this as anything but “meh” at present and the dialogue is like something from am-dram with po-faced statements and heroic posing being the order of the day.
Jesus Christ, this is gorgeous to look at. I really could buy a collection of this stuff.
Scriptwise I liked it as it was very human. And, er, alien.
The ring bearer coughing up the goods covered in spit was lovely and it was a nice scene with the Elite having to be shouted at to pay attention. It’s almost like they have something else on their min-, oh, wait…
Kymn’s plan is to sing God Star jibberjabber back to it telepathically and make it think that it is attacking another God Star and therefore put it right off fucking the planet. It’s a sound plan and when I was banging the missus one time she put on a voice that made her sound like Sarah Lancashire. That killed my erection for six weeks straight.
Anyway, the happy couple are wed and there is a bouquet thrown to a horde of waiting vaguely humanoid blobs.
Like a Welsh wedding, really.
Brink just about steals it from Grey Area this week.