It’s winners and losers this week with 1987 bringing back memories of things both good (NZ goes nuclear free) and bad (Michael Ryan tells his mum he is just “shooting up the shops for a bit”). By a stunning coincidence Prog 1987 is full of stuff equally as good and bad…
Well the logo coverage is creeping back in but this time it is only about 20%.
The image is striking and my eye was immediately taken to the bright red fist reaching out which is an image I’ve not seen since that pool party at Barrymore’s house.
Simon Davis of course models the image of Slaine on himself and manages to pull off a good perspective shot with my only quibble being the arrow point which is not really in perspective considering the size of the other arrow heads in view.
Striking though it is the muddy brown does it no favours apart from lifting the reds off the page.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg gives us a shot of The Order Part 3, with two metal bastards blazing away with future weapons. They’re still wearing armour though, which makes me think this is still set in the 17th Century. Or a 21st Century Rhyl after Brexit takes hold.
The green one also informs us that Black Shuck is halfway through the current run. Since fuck all has happened so far this is turning into a real trudge.
We begin more or less where we left off last week. Giant is on the ground with three Texans (who I will repeat are NOT partnered with Meg Judges despite what was said in other parts) about to hand him a beat down. Of course, they don’t give chase to the mutant who was just there and instead decide simply to give the black man a hiding. Because racism.
And for the sake of the story every Texan in the city appears to be a bad ‘un, with no adherence to the Law whatsoever. I have to be honest and say this is one note characterisation in really poorly thought out way. Even the “see Dredd and die” Sov Judges had more character about them than this.
Giant of course kicks it off and hands their asses to them thanks to the luckily placed crowbar and then tells them to tell their boss that “Judge Giant wants them the hell out of his city”. I was actually cringing at that line.
Better was the fact that Dredd has apparently told Giant about Charlie Joyce which pleases Fintan no end.
We’re also given the updated figure that there are now 4000 Texans in the Big Meg (all loyal to Pamelina) meaning that they must now outnumber the Meg Judges two to one according to Carroll’s maths and the Justice Dept “don’t have the numbers” to resist Oswin. Yeah, right.
At a meeting to discuss the situation, the increasingly shit Hershey examines their plight and receives some pro-Oswin sentiment from Farrow. No matter, though because Oswin busts in because she has unfettered access and a panto villain flair for the theatrical and knew exactly where and when the meeting was and what it was about so is prepared to strike. Lucky.
There’s brief resistance from Hershey but this is fruitless and they are all pacified. Except for Beeny who is conveniently away.
Oswin of course has underestimated Beeny as a threat and reveals that she has a silo on Lake Louisiana with 400 biological weapon warheads aimed at MC1.
She notes that The Council are more useful alive than dead at this stage, which is an important point to remember for the future.
I’m sticking with it out of sheer bloody mindedness at this point but it really is a ridiculous mish-mash of set pieces that together make no coherent story.
Artwise it is classic stuff with a great use of the silhouettes in the punch up and a nice close up of Hershey’s pert ass on page 3 for no discernible reason. Lovely sunset too.
Gododin fucks with Slaine’s head recognising that the barbarian oaf has romanticised his mum into a free spirited hippy rather than the rampant slag she apparently was. Further twisting he knife he shows Slaine her three secret lovers (Uncle Slaine, Swordmaster Trego and Duban the druid warrior) exploring how their interactions with the boy were possibly the result of parental shame. There’s also possibly a fourth man in the frame to be revealed at some point. If this turns into a Gododin being Slaine’s father moment I’m going to smash my tablet in protest. We’re going to get to that fourth man eventually. Maybe.
We get (groan) another flashback to the big chariot race where old man MacRoth manoeuvred Macha into racing against the king’s chariot, getting her trampled in the process. Slaine relives the moment where he watches his mum go under more horses that Catherine the Great and psychologically this isn’t good for him.
The final straw is Gododin showing Slaine an image of his mum admitting her slaggery and our hero breaks the bow in despair, sitting on the ground dejected. That’s it then. He’s absolutely dead this time since he’s surrounded by enemies that Sinead can’t fight off alone. Why they haven’t chopped off his head while he’s standing there going through home movies in his head is a miracle. Or completely nonsense. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
Anyway, this all presents a problem since Slaine and Sinead are trying to cover Zana as she flees the scene like a face eating chimp. With the Trojans closing on her, things look bad for the Kerry Katona alike.
The art is still aces and I love the mouth of Gododin showing in Slaine’s eyes as his speech controls what he sees.
Bizarrely it looks like Sinead has shooters in one panel and I could not figure what she was holding.
However, that’s a great last panel of a Gododin and Slough Feg looking down on the broken Celt and savouring their victory at long last.
There’s not much to this week and it’s just a chase scene.
When he is needed most, Brink vanishes, much to the annoyance of Bridge who is on her own again.
Not for long as it turns out since a gang of cult cunts happen by and they mean business.
Escaping by her wits alone she pulls a shooter and waits for them. There’s going to be a fight.
The art is nice and the frenetic escape is well done with a lovely sense of claustrophobia in the air vents. I really love the attention to detail in this story with regard to the tech and the “L” drawn on the inside of the touch sensitive door panel to lock it was just smart.
The panel work really does convey the pace of the story too and though not a great deal happens it does flow.
Right, so we get a bit more on folklore of black dogs and to drive this home, Shuck’s missus has dream of two such black mutts (or giant rats – hard to tell with the art) ripping apart a deer. It’s an omen I tell you. Possibly one about the way the two neonate lycanthropes in her womb will ruin her Singapore tight mimsy on the way out.
Meanwhile, a mysterious man in black with an earring who looks very much like a young Lemmy hears of the Dene and acts intrigued. This sneaky fucker later sends a note to Coenwulf to tip him off that the Vikings are in town and are essentially breaching medieval immigration protocols.
Elsewhere, Shuck is fighting a stripped to the waist Aryan hunk. In no time these two bears sweatily lunge at each other and tumble to the ground as one calls the other “dirty”. Then one of them gets his weapon out and is about to shove it into the other when they are interrupted by Black Shuck. Hang on, so the other guy is not Shuck, but looks exactly like him…how can this be? Oh, the artist is Steve Yeowell? Point made.
On this score, the art is getting no better and on page 2 that first panel is a perspective shot that fails badly since the neck is tiny compared to the massive shoulders and even the head. You can’t fault him for trying I guess.
We get some nice skies courtesy of the colourist and this lifts these panels from the mundane.
With the Harmonius Free ushering in a new era and creating an entirely new calendar we draw a line under this adventure and head back to Earth. Bitch and Odour are going to too as part of an exchange programme. They’d better put some clothes on since all the men on Earth are rapists and the SJWs will be out in force.
Kymn has apparently stated that he can swing a place for them in ETC, and there was a brilliant awkward handshake that outlines the cultural misunderstanding between the Free and humanity. This will doubtless lead to incidents back home as Bitch settles into her role.
As a precursor, Bulliet gives Bitch some choice words to say as a parting gesture that will be remembered for all time by the Harmonius Free. He really is a cunt.
After a ropey start of formulaic monster of the week turgidness, this strip has really come along and I hope that this momentum can be maintained as the gang return to Earth. The right combination of character strength and terrific art has really made a difference to this story and it has been a delight.
Loved the side panel on page 2 as the different alien creatures are interacting and the richness of detail here is just amazing. Ditto for the one on page 4 that just oozes scif-fi appeal. Harrison is also great at dropping in sound effects to further bring the scenes to life.
And that last panel could easily have been a still from Close Encounters.
Dredd is ridiculous, Slaine is silly and Shuck’s boring so this comes down to Brink and Grey Area. I’m giving it to the latter for the art and the humour.