Orlok reviews sucky number seven. Welcome to a unique Dredd story that probably plays OK to those who don’t know the character. If you do, however, this couldn’t be more offensive if it were done entirely in blackface…
I like it. The multitude of faces making up the helmet was an innovative and eye catching design. It is simple but effective and really makes the thing stand out, especially when you can zoom in on the digital copy and see the facial differences.
This is a different matter entirely.
Imagine someone on meth stumbling across a late 80s 2000AD, reading the shitfest that was Dry Run and stating “I can do better and can make a post-Gamergate political statement that will get me punched in the face”. Well, my friends, do I have the comic for you.
So, Dredd’s on boat and is greeted by a dude in a cape (Charles) and because he is written by someone who doesn’t know the character, Dredd’s an absolute cunt to the guy who greets them firing off a “what’s that in your hand, creep?” as a salutation. This is the sort of exchange that usually takes place in a Newcastle bar right before the ambulance crew gets another busy night.
The thing in the guy’s hand turns out not to be his penis but a personal security drone and this lasts a few scenes until Quill smashes it.
Ok, I get that trust is difficult after what has happened, but when Chuck tries one more time to recruit them to the refuge, a brief chat ensues and while Dredd is gassing, the girls then decide to sneak into the very place they were untrusting of. And Dredd is of course dedicated to looking out for them and doesn’t seem to know or care that they have gone in. I had to check I was actually reading the right comic and not the diary of a kid with ADHD.
But I’m getting bogged down by the story logic here which is silly because the writers clearly haven’t given a fuck about that and are just plucking this out of their asses.
Inside the block it is beautiful and for some unexplained reason it wasn’t affected by the GRASS like the rest of the city we have seen (Why? Because, fuck you, that’s why!) and appears to have flourished into a society of civilised folk.
Once inside the girls kick off more violence before they are overpowered and have some neck implants fitted. “Appropriate trigger warnings are being evaluated” as part of the orientation process and with my SJW needle already in the red from the last tale I have decided that if they say the phrase “safe space” again I may have to get on a plane and commit an atrocity at the IDW offices.
We are given no clues as to how much time has passed but the girls apparently know Dredd has volunteered for guard rotation. How do they know this? They haven’t seen Dredd since they snuck off so this is absolute fucking bullshit scripting.
Meanwhile, Lolo is a psycho and a violent sadist (Ok she has some PTSD but really…) and beats an old guy to death, imposing herself as the Law around these parts.
In mid convo, Charles says “Oh, Berger!” prompting Dredd to ask if Berger is in the refuge. Hang on, didn’t he just find her body in that weird bunker scene that went nowhere? Did I imagine that?
Anyway, Berger is regarded as a fable and is now just a name to be invoked repeatedly the same way we mention the Tortoise and the Hare or Jimmy Savile.
Upon hearing that Lolo has been overpowered and imprisoned Dredd goes mental himself, probably realising that he was meant to be looking after her and not partying with friends in the Praia Da Luz local.
When it is quite correctly pointed out that Lolo is a murderer, Charles loses his temper but Dredd wants to hear it from Lolo. That’s the Dredd we know. He’s seen her assaulting people on an hourly basis but faced with a still warm corpse and a prime suspect he wants everyone to shut up he can think. Because cohesive story logic is surely the last thing we expect now and the writers have worked tirelessly to meet our expectations in spades.
The art is almost irredeemably awful. A good first panel with some excellent composition soon breaks down into mistakes, poor panel work and a problem with sizing. On page 5 Lolo looks to be the size of Dredd in the fifth panel and this pretty much continues throughout and that’s just bloody shit. I dislike saying that but you can’t argue with the facts.
At one point Lolo also looks like Jimmy Olsen and the red X is gone from her face and then re-appears in the panels with Dredd.
If the artist cannot be arsed it really makes you wonder how long it will be til this gets rebooted again.
In summary this is awful. There is probably the caveat going around that this “is not meant for the regular Dredd readers” or some such bollocks but the fact is that even if you were not a Dredd regular, this is so far removed from any Dredd characterisation, setting and narrative flow that it is an abomination that feels like a workman doing the worst job he can before his contract runs out.