Orlok casts his critical eye over Meg 372 and is doing so while in a hotel room in Melbourne after a heavy meal and a bottle of twenty year old syrah…
That’s a great cover with a brilliant colour scheme and a wonderful way to show Blunt’s semi simian features and keep the reveal intact for the actual story. And what’s better than seeing your reflection in a giant fucking chopper? Unless you’re the victim of Ed Gein or something.
There’s also a nice myriad of creepy looking aliens in the background, which is standard Boo Cook ingenuity, really.
DREDD,ER HANG ON…RICO:
After paraphrasing a line from Josey Wales, Crow states that by allowing the convoy to pass through their land unmolested, Koburn now owes him. Right, so that’s how that works is it?
Crow and his pals live in a hole in the ground which is a good way to get trapped and then shot down like rats but fuck it. His people also appear to be stone cold killers so why they haven’t dealt with this Thorny problem before is a mystery, especially since they have a mystic seer to assist them.
Regardless, the pack of idiots led by Thorn has disrupted the food chain for an entire city (no really, it has- stop laughing) and harangued these natives into the bargain. How can this be, you ask? There’s only a few hundred of them and his men can’t even shoot a Lawmaster for fuck’s sake? Just go with it. And stop asking questions about story logic.
Actually, has Thorn been seen to speak? Is he capable of talking? If not, how is he co-ordinating the attacks and instructing his men? Does he use sign language or hastily drawn stick figures?
Apparently Crow’s parents knews Dredd (it is never explained how and I don’t recognise the name) and Old Stoneyface is regarded as a decent sort. Maybe this is an untold story from the Cursed Earth or something. Regardless, it is never expanded upon.
There was a nice bit with Koburn going back for his beloved hat, in the Indiana Jones style, and that speaks to the kind of casual dude he is.
The weapons are destroyed at the behest of Crow and Rico doesn’t argue about this despite it being Mega City One property. Since he seems to be a bit more relaxed, you have to wonder if this would have been the same outcome with Joe in his position.
So, this is passable but still has lapses in it but is certainly much better than the Prog story.
Artwise it is nice stuff with some good battle scenes well presented by the artist’s style. A particular highlight is Rico shooting through the glass into the cab and the level of detail there from the machinery to the cracks. Thorn’s bike is also adorned with a skellington, which is nice. The only downside here is that you don’t get the sense of size we have had before and in that last panle Thorn is in the foreground and seems to be of equal size to the men at his rear. The skelly even looks the same size as him more or less. Bizarrely, Thorn also has his chopper back- didn’t it get blowed up? Maybe he had a spare stashed somewhere, eh?
REALM OF THE DAMNED:
We start with two great images of the same Warsaw street. One is full of death and destruction during the war, the other is full of life with the vibrancy of the present day juxtaposed for our eyeballs.
The fight scenes are well done, being great and bloody. I feel I must also mention the fabulous work by the letterer when Balaur’s vocal sound effects change from blood red to wolf eye yellow as he switches form. That’s a simple but highly effective detail that sets stuff like this apart.
The story is still moving forward and we start with the Nameless, who is a cultured and well-read genius. Despite all this apparent greatness he’s been slain and his body partly eaten by gravelings. These ghoulish bellends recount to Van Helsing how the vampire got him and we get a flashback to how he and Balaur fought with the latter eating the re-animated booksmart’s heart and absorbing the lightning that gave him the spark of life. Doing this has caused the vamp to gain power from it, absorbing all he can in some rite.
This is a great take on the Frankenstein’s monster story and the idea of him being more than just an unthinking beast with over a hundred years on the clock is an excellent one.
To make matters worse, Balaur has now gone after the brilliantly named Shifter King of the West (France) and since this is a half man half beast abomination this could be a reference to Gerard Depardieu for all we know.
Luckily though it appears to be huge fucking werewolf and the battle is short with Balaur eventually absorbing the lycanthrope’s powers like a foul mouthed Sylar. Of course this means killing the wolfman with a well-aimed lightning bolt to the face.
Our bad guy is really going through the gallery of classic monsters/horror villains. Frankenstein, the Wolfman, next up must be the Mummy and then finally Thatcher.
A nifty flashback to Judge Death Lives and the assault on Billy Carter Block seen through the eyes of a juve who loses everything when the Dark Judges hit. This is well paced and there is a good effort to make Alice immediately likeable both as a victim and someone human we can identify with in the face of the Dark Judge assault. There was also a cool idea of Judge Bear being employed to detect/channel psi sensitives.
One small fuck up. Dredd and Anderson didn’t leave the apartment after twatting Judge Fear. They beamed out to Deadworld instead.
Sadly this isn’t just a photostrip story all about Emily Blunt’s magnificent derriere, and instead it is another Dan Abnett story featuring yet another Mega City Colony world.
Despite the potential for a retread of similar tropes, this is a decent enough start, with a crash, a search party, an outsider called in to do the hard yards and a planet full of terrors.
The shuttle Monarch is brought down by (ironically) a butterly swarm, which looks directed and makes me immediately think that the ecosystem is rebelling against the human interlopers.
Volunteers being rounded up to go to the rescue and there was a nice scene where the uplifts say they won’t go to the Argossa Wilds for an unspoken but well-known reason. They implore their fellow colonists not to go as there have been stories about the place and no good can come of it. With lives in the balance, this is ignored and the outcast Blunt is “volunteered” for the mission. His unpredictable nature makes him a liability in the eyes of the mission leader so it will be interesting to see how those two get on and my guess is that they won’t and this will lead to the expected schism in the party. One minor thing…the motto of the colony is “ad stellarum in paradisum” which I’m sure is a butchering of “the garden in the stars”. It’s been about 35 years since I did Latin so I’m a little rusty.
I’m not the biggest Boo Cook fan in the universe but clearly he’s a frigging genius and his layouts are superb. He’s also not afraid to fuck with the borders, too. Standouts are the great panel of the crashing ship with a smoke ring around it and the last page where Blunt is revealed in all his mutie glory.
He’s also thrown in some nice clothing stuff what with the Black Flag shirt and the uplift outfit with “Uplift Mofo” on it.
A cracking continuation with the story picking up from the shooting and Pettifer saying how the gun has changed her.
We get a bit of back story for our rotund desk jockey discovering that even at the Academy she had a knack for clerical work and is forever at home behind a desk. After blowing the gunman away she doesn’t know herself, which is some smart characterisation that Abnett is exploring. Coming on the heels of how a firearm changed lives for the worse in Orlando, this is salient stuff.
The Badrock Council are impressed with her, offering her the job of Marshal. They seem somewhat too eager for her to step in, probably as she will be a better fit than Lawson ever would. She won’t take the job yet because doing so would mean that she is admitting that Lawson is not coming back.
She goes to see the Robo-priest and the metal bastard pleads ignorance to body harvesting, as you would expect really. A roomba attacked my mate two weeks ago so I’m sure the fuckers are up to something. Reverend Tinribs does offer her some solace in the face of her troubles, reminding her that her actions in blowing away one dude saved the lives of many. There is some balance there, even in the optical diodes of a godless machine.
This realisation makes Pettifer take the job on temporary basis and she is going to bring the law and some chits to Badrock.
Yeah and the art is fucking great and dripping with detail. There was a nice compliment to the script with the gun being the focal point during Pettifer’s dining on ashes and a fantastic panel of her curled up in bed trying to gain some comfort.
That was also a great image of her talking to Mr Grossums (her teddy).
The Interrogation is an expose on James Robinson who has no 2000AD credentials but he is a fan so let’s give him 7 pages. Really? 7 fucking pages?
What’s next? Perhaps an artist who has never read the comic but has seen the Stallone film. Yeah, let’s give him a dozen pages and a car park space. They need to tighten that shit up, as it is just looking like an advert for industry mates now.
The Letters page sees two readers pick apart the hypocrisy over the outrage concerning the language and imagery in Realm of the Damned and there is universal praise for the story in these letters. I bet someone will accuse these of being cherry picked, of course. Though the story is not Dredd related, it is clever, adult and beautiful to look at. If there are no Dredd stories available then yes, it is a very worthy addition and we’re fucking lucky to be reading it.
The floppy material was Second City Blues. I know the name but I can’t remember it and there is probably a good reason for that in that it was passable only. I very much doubt I’ll remember my second reading of it in six months’ time.
Realm of the Damned just pips an excellent Lawless this month. Those two are really neck and neck.