Like a ray of sunshine flooding into Pete Wells’s toilet/recording studio, here’s Orlok to tell us all about Prog 1996…
Can Atalia live up to the Jaegir Legacy?
Let’s see, that’s a strong legacy of awful dialogue, uninspiring retreads and poor characterisation?
Yeah, I think that’s entirely possible but let’s hope for better this time, eh?
Our Lady of the Blessed Daddy Issue now has an army of Norts between her legs, so I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions as to the symbolism there.
Does she cross draw that gun from her other hip or always have it out? Beat me.
It was an Ok cover though and the face and thin ankles reminded me of Ian Gibson for a fleeting moment but the rest of it clearly isn’t him and it didn’t take long to identify the real artist. The tech looks a little like some Warhammer 40k level stuff so that was interesting.
There’s no logo coverage and the colour scheme works well enough.
Inside, Tharg says Jaegir is merely a set up for the next arc, so that’s thrilling. Also on the cards is the digging up of further material in the form of Ghost of Nu Earth in Prog 2000.
Damage report states that Molcher has a PR underling. Hopefully this will mean that Burdis won’t keep beating him to the exclusives. It’s not really that he’s utterly terrible at his job, it’s that Burdis doesn’t sleep. He’s like Chuck Norris- he just waits.
I’ve been reading some more into Dredd lately and I think there is some sexual tension between PJ and Joe. Maybe should just change his initials to BJ and get this over with.
Joe lets some of this pent up frustration slip with the phrase “He’ll come. And he won’t be long.”
My word, Joey, you’re a brute!
Confusingly Dredd seems quite specific of just how the undercover Judge needs to be while dressed as a slabwalker. Is he going to have her impersonate Vienna, in which case, that’s not a flattering indication of how he thinks his beloved niece dresses. If not, then is he living out some Demarco cosplay fantasy here?
Or is he is trying to get her to match PJ for some roleplay later on?
In a surprise to Dredd but not us, PJ targets the Quite Nice bar and makes off with Mrs G after causing some mayhem. Maybe comes in dressed as slabmeat himself in order to throw everyone off guard and perhaps leave some video evidence for Dredd to gnash his teeth over.
PJ thinks that deep down Dredd respects him and that the Judge’s current actions are disrespectful to any mutual admiration that they possess. Woefully he seems to have misunderstood the situation and perhaps this is a facet of his descent into arrogant madness. It could be that black voice is his deep subconscious recognising this and compounding the doubts.
After being recognised, he pulls a gun and starts shooting the place up. Again he is cool and calm all the way through this and there is no sense of panic nor worry of capture. He has simply planned this well enough that all contingencies are within his scope.
Post abduction, Dredd admits he got it wrong and some of the teams are pulled away from Vienna’s block with dangerous consequences.
If Vienna was actually slotted, would this be a bad thing? Sure we have an anchor point for Dredd’s humanity and her previous fights for survival would have all been for naught, but uncomfortable tea breaks and family gatherings aside, is she any use? I guess she did show some mettle with Chaos Day and the time she shot Vin Diesel in the face. And for that last one we should be eternally grateful.
With PJ now dressed as an eldster, he infiltrates Vienna’s building and goes after the main prize intending to use that to hurt the old man. Cleverly, he knows Dredd’s movements well and has been watching him for a while which is creepy enough. Remarkably Dredd hasn’t spotted it, so the old man is slipping.
Carlos draws insanely hot women and he always has and even Maria, Dredd’s landlady/cleaner/stress reliever had a bangable quality to her. Maybe it was the condescending sneer or that saucy faux Italian accent but she could hadda da sausage an’ meatballs anytime. And that Mrs Gunderson? Well I’d take a mouthful of that grey candyfloss any day of the week.
With the Martian cab blowed up good and proper to scupper any chance of trace, the Theed are the main issue now and they are discussed with some scepticism. Though real, and endangered, they have taken on a semi-mythical aspect and are regarded as bogeymen in children’s bedtime tales.
We get some more insight into Ahron’s fugitive past as his parents never really immersed him in the Venusian way of life. They observed some of the Venusian holy days but he was largely brought up as an Earthman unlike some of his orthodox chums and so there is a disconnect between him and the planet of his origin.
Brilliantly, some burning plants are used to make a blue fire. This is so cold it can be physically grabbed and is not there to provide warmth but for defence, which is clever stuff. The burning of this plant supposedly gives off a scent to keep away larger predators.
In a clinical trial that equals that of homeopathy, it fails beyond all expectations and a giant fucking centipede attacks. This is not even the biggest predator around but is a force to be reckoned with until the Theed show up and kill it.
The art is great though more subdued this time. The Theed look very familiar and are almost like sea devils or something from D&D. I just can’t place it. Regardless, I don’t remember them featuring on the mural in the Great Game that showed the myriad species of the solar system.
The action sequence was great and that last panel of the Theed looking menacing is awesome.
Are we going to meet the creature from Ahron’s dream next week?
I’m always a bit harsh on this strip since it has a history of being poorly written and spreading the tropes like jam on a toddler’s toast. Because of that I always view every return the same way my late mother used to view icy pavements after she smashed her hip; with a mixture of annoyance and distrust.
So what do we get this time? Well, we start with Atalia off duty and being assaulted in a bar.
Men are of course angry with our heroic butterface, because she’s a woman. I mean she’s just a regular girl with daddy issues trying to make her way in the world of chauvinist dicksplashes, so why are people so cruel? It transpires that they are angry not just because she outranks them, but also because she outdrinks them and ALL men hate to be emasculated in this way since we are playing hard into the stereotypes. One such prince hits the scarred side of her face and says it will match the other side of her face- wait, what- will the punch actually remove the scarring or was that a fuck up?
Mercifully the fight is broken up by proxy daddy Col Nerria who admonishes her for hitting the sauce and for having a monster as a father. There is then a really awful third person conversation and it’s a pet peeve that I hate to see played out as it is one of those tropes that tries to lend a degree of gravitas to something but just ends up being pretentious drivel.
Since her dad has been trying to get in touch with her, she has been ignoring him and so that explains why she is out drinking and getting “punished”.
Now as a start (bad or not) this tells you all you need to know about her to get the casual reader up to speed but we then get the next bit laid on really thick just in case. After spotting a local Welsh child who is all wild of face and mutated of claw and dribbling like Stephen Hawking being fellated, Atalia gets some food and visits a local child shelter (where she regularly goes it appears) and this bit is just dire. Sure, it assists the plot slightly by saying that there are monsters even in the underclass of society too, also abandoned and vilified by the regime but it didn’t have to be so heavy handed. And if these really are tainted, then who is dealing with them before they go fucking bananas? I dunno maybe Rennie has only a limited run to tell this story and is throwing everything at it scattergun fashion but I hope he can move away from the monster of the week stuff and get his storytelling in line because when he does that he can be good.
The art is another matter. Dark and gritty, I cannot fault the design work going on and I loved the Nort Fud stand which brought to mind the Two Ronnies Swedish sketch for some reason.
Coleby really manages to pull off the look of the Nort city by making it both grim and futuristic, like an Eastern European crossed with the Big Meg.
The panel work is excellent and the standouts are the ones of Atalia watching the atmocraft depart and the close up of bloodied hankerchief as the conversant duo depart.
I’m going down the Bob Fossil route and start renaming the characters in the hopes of understanding who is who and making this more interesting.
With everyone pulling back pending the nukes being dropped, the Alliance are ready to engage the second attack fleet on its way to their military base on Ampriss. Scowly Army Man thinks it is an effort to take them out but he’s ready for them. Oh yes. He’s fucking ready.
He and Tattoo Face Scowly Man have a chat over the hologram. What, so that’s face to face is it? And why the need to bring Tattoo Face Scowly Man aboard the Alliance ship? Couldn’t he have made this call anytime? Tattoo Face Scowly Man lays it out plainly; “Resistance is futile. You will become one with the Borg, shit, sorry Hurde, I meant Hurde.”
Resist and loads will die, capitulate and just some will die. Tattoo Face Scowly Man is also affecting the comms now so he is clearly up to something.
Meanwhile on the Hurde ship, Angry No Tail is attempting to make Bald Hairyface Man compliant using the stick and stick option. Understandably he resists and is knocked out by Pouty Guantanamo Girl.
This brief pagga reveals that Scowly Army Man has naughtily rigged the Hurde ship with dark matter explosives and is going to collapse the gate once they get close. Therefore Angry No Tail’s mission is just a sacrifice to win the war.
The art is ok with some nice panels of Graegan being fucked over. Ditto for some lovely and evocative panels of the warfleet in Ampriss orbit. Some excellent background work too.
Flowers immediately forgets his judicial training and says that if Smart is protecting the shooter this will only implicate her further. That is an arrestable offence but not in Beeby’s Big Meg so we are ok and can look the other way.
I would have thought that each writer would be given a story Bible to show what can and can’t be done with the continuity and setting. You wanna write a story set in Uranium City- that’s off the map so go fucking crazy. You want to write in a well-established society with strict laws and a rich history- tow the line.
It transpires that Smart’s brother killed the cunty parents and it was implied they had done something bad enough to warrant this.
Meanwhile, with Judge Hermes under his control, the brother kidnaps Anderson because she is apparently not a very good Judge and has not reported in or been in a position to be reported missing since she was shot at the Juve block. Guess they don’t have cameras there.
The art is ok, just not to my taste and though I’m getting used to her skin tone, mannish looks and crazy hair, it does look like she is passing a large stool on top panel of last page, though.
Dredd was a bit harrowing this week with a lone lunatic taking down a club but it was certainly the best of the bunch. It’s good to see Dredd back on top.