Orlok has been busy sorting out a rodent problem and with humans now back outnumbering the rats, it is time for a catch up. With Prog 1988 fresh in his mind, rat poison seems like a good idea at this point…
God damn, that’s nice. I like it when the comic shows the sci-fi roots (especially retro ones) for the world to see and the old school slant on this really brought some nostalgia to the fore. As soon as I saw those three ships with the lander legs I immediately thought “Steampunk Gerry Anderson” and then grinned as I imagined Rich McAuliffe vomiting up his own kidneys in protest. That was also a nice background of Earth (with Britain clearly visible) to make the fighters pop out.
Nice tagline too.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg gives us some back history to Scarlet Traces/ The Great Game and tells us a new collection is coming in Jan 2017. That may well be worth a punt.
There’s some snarky remarks in Damage Report about crybabies and the new Ghostbusters film. I’ve seen it and it is not great so people did have a right to criticize a bland remake of a classic film whether it was done for an agenda or not. Doesn’t matter, because like the American flag at a Donald Trump rally, you can’t piss on it and expect to get out of the door without an ass kicking from enraged knuckleheads.
Psi Judge Lewis is asked to probe a perp who has been dragged in by the Texans. The perp turns out to be a screamer and this effectively fucks up her abilities. There is a montage of other Psi Judges being taken out too, and unless this is ALL of them across the city then it’s a shit tactic.
Since Control has been outsourced to the Texans, this is kept hush hush.
Let’s face it, the Psi Judges (who in every recent catastrophe have been about as useful as a strap on dildo to a Baptist couple) are suddenly a threat to be removed because they have been so effective at predicting the takeover. How’s that again?
I don’t know if this was meant to be a bigger part of the story but that isn’t made clear.
Regardless, it is going to take Lewis days to recover.
Bizarrely, in the time she is knocked out the perp has been released. So, how long was she out? She hooks up with Dredd and co (who are still at the apartment) so it cannot be very long and the perp who did this is released just like that? Since this psi screamer is rare (one in a billion) and this is not investigated further or questioned it just seems like another half-finished tale. Face it, such a thing could be an incredible weapon if hooked up to a psi amp.
During the assault of the Psi Judges we see an SJS Judge attacked. Confusingly this turns out to be Waldron who has apparently resisted or something. This is not seen and it feels like we are seeing an abridged section of this story too. Added to this is the fact that Hershey is sent to be cleaned up.
At the end of the last Prog she was sent to Med because she was apparently in need of attention, even though she seemed to have no injuries. Now, everyone is back in the room and Waldron is on a stretcher and Hershey is again escorted out, this time to her quarters.
Have we missed a Prog or something? And if this needed to occur, then why wasn’t it done last Prog during the struggle?
Oswin is fleshed out as a villain by being very human first orientated and wants to keep the bloodlines pure in her new dominion, steadily eliminating the mutant traits. This is frowned upon by Hershey even though that was Big Meg policy too until very recently.
If Oswin is looking for purity she’d better start with her fat ankles.
I don’t know where Beeny is at this point since there was an intimation that Oswin had underestimated her. So far her contribution to the grand plan is zero, so unless she ends up riding a nuke down onto TC like Major TS Kong, then I guess we’ll just put that one in the plot convenience column.
A real writing strength here is the great use of Hershey employing the Judges code (from The Killer Car) on the shower steam. How she knew to do this and the contrivance of her being watched through the camera was less good. Who is controlling or viewing this footage? If it’s just the rebels, then they set that up quick and why did they point it at her shower? How did they know she was going to be there? That scene and the divulging of info could have been done better to be honest.
It is revealed that Dolman is also the best sniper Dredd knows even though there are Sniper Judges on the force who could probably out-perform him.
The plan is to storm the GHOJ with a handful of mates and fight their way up to the top. Or maybe use that secret lift that Smiley installed when he had to get his tea and biscuits delivered.
Speaking of which, Oswin hasn’t mentioned Smiley (who knows everything that goes on) and I am sure he will save the day at some point.
Bottom line, this is oddly paced and feels like bits are missing to the point where it is half as good as it could be.
During the face off in the ducts, Bridge plays some (ahem) brinkmanship.
The bad guys lay out their stark terms and state that there is nowhere to run to. They do have a point.
Bridge is still thinking clearly and she smartly blows the antigrav emitter which sends everything flying.
Escaping, she is reunited with Bob who says that the Boilerhouse and Bolo districts are in riot and after Bridge calls him on his bullshit, he admits he has been watching her through cameras down here in the ducts. Fucking hell, that’s two women being watched in two stories- someone is a on a voyeur kick. It transpires that he and Anish Anoor, a drive designer, are working on their own version of getting the fuck out of Dodge and starting a new future for the human race.
The art is good with blue to represent the darkness and a cracking POV shot as Bridge points the gun at the creeps. There’s also a nice sense of movement with gun especially in scenes with Creepy Bob.
Here the blues change to reds as the entire feel of the scenes shift.
Slaine is still alive for some reason and the enemy appears to have backed off. I could speculate as to why but I’m so unsurprised at this point it would be as futile as trying to reason with a Brexiter.
Zana also manages to outpace the Trojans who were just gaining on her. Again- I’m not going to go there.
This ape escape inspires Slaine since a simian (the mother of them all) being able to outrun a chariot redresses the balance of that loss he is feeling about how his mum failed to do so. He picks up the bow that he broke in half last issue and it has been magically repaired. That’s the third narrative failure I’m not touching.
He does more arrow work and goes mental, piling bowfire into his enemies with the ruthless fervour of a psychotic Lars Andersen.
With his men dying like flies, Gododin is made to look a right chump, which disappoints his father more than being dead.
There are some similarities there between him and Slaine in that they both have a dysfunctional paternal relationship.
To make matters worse, the mountain of the Archon has opened and he has built an army of stone warriors to do some next level ass whupping. Goddoin is told off for his incompetence and all living creatures on the planet are now to be expunged. Well that’s just lovely.
The Archon will ensure Slaine’s destruction. No really he will, and all will be revealed when Slaine returns for the final chapter in 2017.
The art is just beautiful with a gorgeous page of troops before and after the arrows strike, the latter punctuated with blood spatter. And that was a great last panel of the huge army behind Slaine and Sinead.
Coenwulf receives the mystery message and gets his forces together.
Meanwhile the Queen is staying in the chapel which has a weird pawprint that seems to be hovering on the doorframe. No idea why. Inside, the Bishop is trying to help by drawing dogs on the wall like he is Keith Lard.
Shuck reflects on his curse which he reveals affects people in different ways whether they are berserkers or deranged loons. He puts himself in the former camp and believes himself to be a legend. He’s like the Kanye West of the 9th Century only without giving off the vibe that makes others want to set him on fire. Speaking of which, the storehouse catches light and this is simply a prelude to an attack as arrows start to fly.
Shuck is shot in the neck but changes into wolf form and initial fear turns to awe as he saves a baby within the building like he’s a two legged Lassie.
Steve Yeowell draws this sameface infant which could be a baby or wee Jimmie Krankie.
It’s 1968 and Britain has colonised the moon with a big flag and everything.
Unlike the sleek tech and consummate professionalism of Ed Straker’s SHADO, this one is very 1960s Britain with rusty consoles patched up by tape and office secretary banter.
The nods to UFO are plentiful here with the purple hair (which aids neural connectivity) and the scrambling of the fighters (which also had a Space:1999 feel).
The inside of the escape pod is liquid like in UFO, too.
The place goes on red alert as a ship comes to Earth from Venus and being identified as a Martian design (thanks to Jane’s Visual Recognition index) it is intercepted.
Ignoring all comms from the ship the fighters engage with head honcho Burns carrying resentment from the bombing of London so he orders no quarter to be given.
An escape pod gets off and we are introduced to an alien visitor who looks a lot like Bowie. He seems somewhat unfazed by the firepower ranged against him too.
I love this artwork for the detail be it the SMASH Martian on the teacup or the Page 3 girl flashing her threepenny bits. The flight crews are even given colour coded uniforms to match their ships, which was a nice touch and I was trying to figure if the names had any cultural connotations.
The layouts are brilliant and always a joy to behold and there were some great panels of the fighters engaging and the volley fire lighting up the ships.
I also loved the spider legs (rather than wheels) used on land vehicles like in the original Scarlet Traces.
I’m kind of a sucker for the Scarlet Traces stories and so I like this jump of another 30 years in the story.