Orlok was dreamin’ when he wrote this, so forgive him if it goes astray…
As expected, this is a very colourful effort from Boo Cook but it has a Burdis maddening 9 link chain and a Flint annoying bit of logo coverage. Still I guess the latter doesn’t matter anymore as the new logo will be ushered in to the sound of Scojo gnashing his teeth in rage.
With the old age cits about to be splattered, Dredd is standing by. Or is he?
Dredd is now wearing his Lawgiver in his left boot so either we are in some Ron Smith two gun territory or Dredd has been replaced with a gammy handed imposter.
Maybe those conspiracy theorists are right.
With varicose veins and wrinkly stockings on show to distract me, I was looking for easter eggs in the piece and the only real thing I kind of spotted was the G. Roper which I’m assuming is a Bryan Murphy homage.
Inside Yewtree Tharg looks forward to Prog 2000 and shows off some lovely art from the great David Roach. I’m looking forward to that as he, Ranson and Dowling are the top three Anderson artists in my book.
This was a simple and rather meh tale of two juves running amok and despite the warnings to the contrary, Dredd fails to shoot them both dead. Still I guess this is a new level of community policing that takes place in the same universe as Beeby’s Anderson.
The maguffin of the piece is an invention of a Steve Jobs-alike (only without the cancer and the bullshit attempt at a cure) who, like his real world counterpart, ignores his offspring and is obsessed with everything about his product being just right at the expense of everyone else’s time and sanity.
The son therefore goes on the fucking rampage to get attention from daddy, regardless of the consequence. I guess the apple didn’t fall to far from the tree there, eh?
So, a simple premise, a simple chase and a simple end should wrap this up but once more we are left with a writer who doesn’t quite get the subject material and throws together what is essentially filler. I think Dredd even says “terrif” at one point; a sure sign we are far from the path of the lawman we know and love.
Sure Dredd gives the Faux Jobs five years and the kids get two apiece in the cubes for their rampage, but by the end of the story, both are still not in cuffs and Dredd is just standing there while the dad is being interviewed about his product. Sorry, is this a Judge Dredd story where arrested perps are cuffed and then hauled off to the Iso-Cubes or are we watching a Heartbeat homily?
Best line was the frankly brilliant “I’m damp again, Barbara” but the rest was weak.
The art is very nice and we should have some more from Marshall on Dredd as he provides some really cool visuals in the parade such as the stay dry underpants.
There was also a circle panel to ensure Whittle gets her money’s worth from her own stay dry underwear.
We’re a little tropetastic this week.
A Nort hit squad are ready to strike, a phone call is made and Atalia channels her daddy issues to do what she should have done in the first place.
Let’s talk about the Nort hit squad first as these are donkeys led by donkeys. The Norts know where their quarry is and even have a man on the inside, so why don’t they just drop a smart bomb through the window and then go in with a dustpan and brush to clean up? This isn’t Operation Neptune Spear in a foreign country where you have to get in and out with a short window; this is Nort territory so they can take their own sweet time.
Or, here’s a wacky thought, have your inside man walk up behind him and pop him in the back of the noggin and then call when the job is done.
No, both of these are too easy, so it is better to send a team in and have ‘em bunch up like they are at Bull Run while their target takes them out with a pistol. While he isn’t even looking.
Mind you his own troops are no better as they fall victim to this crack team as they are looking the other way while on guard.
Then there is the man himself, who we now know he is a wrong-un because like the Master in Dr Who (mass murder isn’t quite evil enough, let’s have him beat his wife) he has a shitty attitude to women to hammer the point home. Here he disses his daughter’s inherited traits from her “slut” mother.
And from Atalia’s perspective he created the taint which has forced her to shoot Welsh kids in the face, so how is his evil even in doubt? Just shoot the cunt and be done with it.
He’s also a one man army able to take out whatever is thrown at him by using only a pistol so why does he need Atalia’s help exactly?
What does work well here is how the different firefights intersperse and Rennie should do more of this. Even if this were a joint effort with the artist, it works.
At the end we are given the threat/promise that “Jaegir will return”.
We are a few series in now and it is really getting no better so I can only hope that Rennie can pull something out of the bag that astonishes all of us and turns this from a pile of clichés to a story that we actually care about. C’mon, man, develop the characters into believable human beings instead of stiff stereotypes talking like they are in a school production of Hamlet.
The art is great and rather than go on about Coleby’s skill (though that is a magnificent last panel) I’ll mark out Len O’Grady’s colours for special attention as they are fucking amazing in this. Be it the deep and vibrant reds of the castle interior or the dark greys and browns of the landscape outside, the whole thing oozes atmosphere.
The only bad thing about the art is the old firing while not looking cliché which is starting to annoy me now.
The Mentat does some sort of katra shit on Ahron, forcing him to flee while the Theed are slaughtered to a man, er, reptile. There’s some really good character work here with Ahron on a journey of self-discovery and hopefully redemption as he comes to terms with accepting that the woman who gave him life was a total bitch.
While this goes off, Irya and Ikyarus have a domestic moment where she admits she did all of this to give the baby a chance. Despite the protests from her lover, she wants to be on the only side that can possibly win this.
The only escape for our heroes is a shit covered joiurney down the Mentat’s privy. That toilet hatch is a revelation; just how does the Theed Mentat use that loo? You know what, never mind, I’d rather not know. Like the location of the clitoris and the inside of a Turkish prison, there are some aspects I am happy to remain blissfully ignorant of.
Our heroes are dumped into the water far from the site and in a final reveal it looks like Captain Skellen’s body has been taken over by a fucking Martian. They have adapted to humananoid form now and there is even a Johnson on display to show just how fully functional they are.
What’s that weird city in a bottle behind him? Is it the Martian Kandor?
Bottom line is that this has been a fantastic run and it leaves with us wanting more.
The art is luscious with a great first panel from the off that is an upskirt shot of a dirty tripod. It isn’t even wearing knickers, so you can see its lower hatch and everything. Ban this filth.
There are also some gorgeous panels as the tentacles whisk Irya to “safety” as the outside light floods in.
I also liked the exit for the sewer which, thanks to the cheeks and tail, resembles an arsehole spraying rusty water and reminds me of that time I took a felucca up the Nile.
And no, that’s not a euphemism.
In a single parting look between the Mentat and Ahron we get something that says everything about the all too brief relationship and that’s clever stuff from the artist considering these are alien faces we are dealing with.
That is one fucking gorgeous start as the Graegan system explodes, taking out the Hurde and Alliance vessels alike.
With that out of the way, Carcer announces that a gamma ray burst will spread through the Alliance systems with the rads causing extinction on every planet it hits. The only chance is to join the Hurde and accept hybridisation. Because they are immune or something. Fuck knows.
In this universe, like in Star Trek, an exploding star can threaten the entire galaxy so we’ll leave the light years of distance (I think about 30 was the upper limit) and the inverse square law to the booksmarts and just accept this is the case.
Milos, he of the Luke Foster shirt, realises that the Hurde strategy to assimilate the humans has essentially been this all along…
Being a military type and taking no shit, Sornell wants to go out fighting but his second in command strongly disagrees and shoots him, giving the order for people to either fight or accept the Hurde proposal. Your choice.
So despite the revelation that Caul’s brain was probed and the Hurde were manipulated by the elite there is apparently no consequence or pay off to this. The Hurde apparently just shrug their shoulders and go back to watching The Best Of Both Worlds and Star Trek (2009) for inspiration. Like the writer, I guess. Granted they were probably too late to stop the destruction but what about after? It just leads nowhere.
Jess accepts assimilation but Caul is unhappy at the prospect since he has been down that road before. Man, that bearded guy has been fucked over so many times he should change his name to ZZ Bottom.
As a wrap up we get a future where a couple of hybrids play with some skulls and leave them in a dry and empty place.
Which is just what the creators of this strip have done with us.
She’s a talented girl, our Cass. She has somehow managed to teleport to the top of the Grand Hall in time to fool Shenker and his mates into telling her to drop the rifle. This is a rifle which she has also picked up on the way without being stopped. I wasn’t sure if this was meant to be some sort of psi projection or if this was indeed her body (the mind is elsewhere) but it seems to be the latter and that’s just bad scripting, pure and simple.
Flowers, despite his earlier usefulness, is now essentially side-lined and just gets to lord it over some Street Judges at the end to make them feel uncomfortable because they don’t like Psi Judges in Beenyworld and making the so called good guys feel shit is one up for the underdog.
One of the most worrying aspects here is Anderson possessing the Chief Judge so that she can apparently comply with Smart’s plan and then show up in front of Smart to pull the trigger. If that’s the case, why couldn’t Anderson have mind jumped into ANY of the Judges in the crowd and done the deed while Smart was talking. It makes sense only when you work backwards from the end, meaning it is again another set piece not planned out well.
I’m surprised the gun worked actually as Hershey didn’t say “standard execution” before she fired. Maybe Hershey only has one setting on her shooter.
Anderson has never been shown to possess another human to my knowledge but has occasionally been able to control lower life forms with a little bit of telepathic shenanigan. This outright control is something new to me and smacks too much of deus ex cassina. Unless Beeby is saying something about Hershey being a lunchpail toting simpleton, which is apparently true these days.
Anyway with the story wrapped up, Anderson is remarkably not sent to the big house (I think the cubes are full or something because Smart wasn’t incarcerated after she was apparently arrested by Anderson in the second part) and is simply given desk duties for two months by way of a telling off.
There’s also that tired old cliché of “not yet” when Anderson ruminates on the option of changing things.
And while we are here, let’s talk about that. The concept of Anderson being able to shape the city and then taking the party line is worthy of much soul searching and discussion about how much of her is free spirit and how much is judicial machine. Post decision she could appeal to the Chief to do things better or even have sneakily planted the seed in Hershey’s mind. But no, it’s thrown away and will almost certainly never be remarked upon in canon. It feels like a wasted opportunity and overall this felt like a piece of fanfic gone astray. Beeby will have to do a lot better than this to make a tight coherent story in future.
The art is a lot better as Willsher is drafted in to finish off and of course has to follow the designs Dyer has laid down, including the Chief Judge having two shoulder eagles instead of the usual two pads. To my memory the only Judge who had two eagles was the head of Psi Div (Judge Omar in The Haunting Of Sector House Nine springs to mind) so it’s all a bit random. Hershey also has the gun on the hip to follow suit.
Willsher pulls off another brutal headshot with aplomb and that is rapidly becoming his signature piece when he is not giving us bike porn or graffiti extoling the dubious morality of the Megacast ladies.
My only two criticisms here are that Anderson has a different (and more sensible) haircut to what we have seen in Dyer’s work and she seems to have lost 20 years in one or two panels. Still, at least she doesn’t look like she’s going to burst into “Drop The Boy” at any moment.
Scarlet Traces is simply stunning and I cannot wait for this to return.