Sir Isaac Newton once postulated in his Third Law that “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction”. In 1986 Jack Burton said pretty much the same thing but with fewer words and while throwing a knife through the skull of a seven foot tall undead Chinese wizard intent upon universal domination. Will Prog 1986 match this lofty achievement? Orlok bids you to read on and find out…
In the words of a song from the second most homoerotic film ever committed to celluloid (in this year by coincidence) that really took my breath away. It’s good to see a nod to Bolland by young buck Foster in the Galaxy’s Greatest, giving us a blood splattered badge, a cracking colour palette and an imposing looking Dredd who is just as awe inspiring with his back turned. You just wouldn’t mess with a man like that, even if he does have a comparatively tiny daystick compared to other Judges. Seriously, it’s diddy. Oh no, he’s turning his head. He fucking heard me. Shit.
I was a bit puzzled by the tagline of “It’s time to take back Mega City One” From who? Do you mean the 2000 Judges you have invited in and whom you outnumber many times over? They aren’t an invasion force, so just ask them to go like they were dinner guests who haven’t got the hint when you start forcefully yawning and telling them to fuck off.
Inside Yewtree Tharg tells us that 2000AD still gets under the skin of the straights. Yeah, the Meg maybe but not the Prog, which is as bland as it can be these days.
Thrills of the future includes Hunted by Rennie and Holden. I immediately thought “Traitor General” and if it is, why do we need that story again? If it is not, why does it look like him- aren’t comparisons going to be made?
I just hope it’s not Rennie mining better stories like he has with Aquila and Jaegir.
Rico turns out to be a bit of a prick and spurns the friendship/sexual congress of Judge Wendt, although this may be justified since Wendt shoots a surrendering perp and instead of simply arresting him, Rico assaults him without warning. It’s a lenient review panel and Rico is given 24hrs downtime and lambasted by the Sector Chief with no action apparently being taken against Wendt.
Bizarrely, Rico goes to his Rowdy Yates apartment to conveniently find Dredd and Joyce in there. Maybe they knew he would come home instead of spending ten in the sleep machine and then going back on duty for 40 hours. Still, let’s not dwell too much on logic since the writer hasn’t.
Strap yourselves in here because the gruesome twosome were last seen in a shuttle headed for the Big Meg and now they have made it across the sector to chez Rico without being seen.
Also, nobody knows they are back, not even Hershey. Dredd won’t approach her while Oswin is about which is odd since he could get Smiley to pitch in or apparently just walk over there without anyone seeing him, present the evidence that the Brits were behind his abduction (and thereby fracture any secret TC/Brit alliance) or get Rico to present the Thorn case evidence and the TC connection there. Boom! Job done.
But no, the deception is there for, well, reasons.
Oh, hang on Oswin has heard a rumour and she drops a subtle hint to Hershey that Dredd is not only alive but is also back in the city. This is odd considering only four people have this info so perhaps she has a spirit guide giving her this rumour. This is apparently not big enough news for the Chief Judge to take an interest in since she also doesn’t apparently know that 200kg of matter is missing from the wagon Dredd was on.
Hershey is again painted as some sort of imbecile here, since she is also letting Oswin replace the Control Room staff with her own people. Again, for reasons.
Every Street Judge is now paired with a Texan. Hours earlier there were only 2000 Texan Judges in the city, so does that mean there are only 2000 Street Judges? In a city of 50 million cits? Yeah, think about that.
Giant is asked to come in undercover just so we can get a set piece of him interrupting some anti mutant behaviour and get some rough justice at the hands of Texan Judges who, despite what was said earlier, aren’t partnered with Mega City Judges.
And Oswin? Well she is in it for the South to rise again. Yes, those words were used, which seems somewhat generalist and stereotyping.
No matter though since Dredd is going to get a conspiracy of badges to set things right because that’s what it says in the script.
Once more I am not having a pop at this for the sake of it. It just features dodgy characterisation, logic gaps and no joined up thinking to the extent where we just have to close our eyes and swallow the lot like a new guy at an orgy.
Some great work here from Colin and it was nice to see a different take on the Texas City uniforms what with the more traditional lone star on belt and not the stars and bars we saw a while back. Oswin still has hers which is a fucking worry.
Cool helmet reflection too.
One slight fuck up, one of the gang of Texans being addressed by Oswin on page 5 has a Big Meg eagle instead of the Texan one.
Holy hell this is getting good.
Bridge is sitting alone in her “box of tits” and comfort eating while talking to Brink who isn’t there on account of still being dead. It appears that dead partners have a penchant for showing up when things go awry, and this may be due to the amount of pharmaceuticals consumed by each officer.
Bridge herself has also been clean for three weeks and off all pharma so is confident that this will not interfere with her judgement.
Slowly she is coming to terms with the fact that her partner is dead and gone but still not able to face up to the review board. She’s been dodging the calls and this is having dire consequence with her being informed that one more missed appointment will result in a summons.
There’s some clever use of the narrative here as Bridge goes through what her partner may have told her had he still been drawing breath.
Meeting with the deranged Bilder gives her one line of enquiry who is revealed to be deceased and her apartment decorated like it is on Fred and Rose West’s Extreme Home Makeover. The sect are almost certainly responsible for this since there is the dire warning of “The leper heart sees your disloyalty” displayed on the wall.
It is at this moment when all hope is gone that Brink shows up.
Artwise it is more of the same. There is no particular standout apart from the panel work but it’s complimenting the story well. It is easily as deceptively simplistic as Yeowell’s work this Prog, but the characterisation and design shows the huge margin between the two artists.
I’m drooling over the art in this every week.
There’s a great splash of Slaine, Sinead and Zana charging into battle and the panel work as Slaine lays out some bowfire is stunning. Ditto for the panel of Slaine drawing a bow and remembering what his mum said to him.
As for the tale itself, this is light. Psychopomp sends out his deluvials to face the three enemies so he is really going through the troop roster in order to get rid of them.
Being his mother’s son, Slaine has mad skillz with the shooty stick, even down to seizing an arrow mid-flight and firing it back at the bad guys. He’s basically got all the cheat codes and special moves activated.
We’re left with a cliffhanger since Psychopomp is going to tell him the truth about his mum. Unless she’s secretly a racist shitstain who voted for Brexit then it can’t be too bad, can it?
Bottom line, this won’t win any prizes for story logic but it’s evocative stuff thanks to the art.
Former King Eadwald is having bad dreams where he is trying to thread a floppy worm into a Gregg’s steak bake. No, hang on, that’s someone else’s bad dream. I won’t say who but it rhymes with “Reet Smells”. Instead, the ex-monarch is being chased by some nameless horror with large claws. What can it mean? If you’re still unsure you might be able to find Helen Keller to explain it to you.
By way of a therapy session, Shuck goes to see Eddie for a game of Hnefatafl and explains that he wants to make him king again instead of the sad sack of shit he currently is. Good pep talk there, buddy. Shuck then heads off to “change” and we get to see the other Black Shuck doing the rounds.
Tellingly, there is some talk of how in East Anglia, even today, Black Shuck is not a myth but actual fact. Much like electricity and sex outside of the family group. Not much happens and therefore it is spinning the wheels this week.
I’m tolerating the art but there is nothing magnificent about it this instalment.
In a nutshell, ships of the Congruence arrive and blow the ever living fuck out of the God Star.
The Congruence is some sort of snooty alliance of worlds and the high senator Onx has a head that is on fire. Fancy.
That aside they are still idiots and though they are traversing he cosmos putting down the interstellar blight that is the God Stars, they are still prone to fuck ups. Realising this is now a first contact situation with the Harmonius Free, they set about a planetwide conference call only to realise they are also addressing the assorted aliens amongst them. D’oh!
Catching on that they have recognised a human, Bulliet cheekily asks for a lift home.
We’re wrapping things up nicely here and though it seems the consequence of the God Star may not be an ongoing one it does open up the universe to further contact with the Congruence with perhaps humanity joining the ranks.
Love the art. Just love it. I hope that Abnett keeps Harrison on for the Earthbound tales.
Mike King of ROYAL Sutton Coalfield takes offense at the Brits being labelled as bad guys in the Dredd story and as a consequence comes with a rose tinted view of history second only to Nigel Farage. Then he has a pop at Tharg’s immigration status. I wonder which way he voted recently?
I feel responses may be imminent.
It is good to see more praise for Tainted which has been the highlight of the Prog this year.
Brink. The re-appearance of the titular character was a brilliant move.