It’s 2001 and Orlok is standing on a rock and beating off a monkey (with a bone, in front of a black obelisk). After he’s finished he’ll flick through the latest prog…
Well that’s just like a reverse Jaws or something and counting the figures at the bottom I see one more than the regulation seven as dictated by the Pat Mills standard. Changes are indeed afoot so one of the reptoids needs to die to address the balance.
Overall this is a contender for cover of the year and is really simple but effective. Sort of like Jessica Simpson.
My only quibble is that the figures at the bottom are too indistinct in terms of detail.
Inside the hallowed pages, Yewtree Tharg hands down another Droid Life featuring an ABC Warrior “joke”. I was uninspired.
The Damage Report is a little more revelatory and in it we say goodbye to Denise who helped me out with many mashed up subscription copies before I switched to digital. It seems the KTT has been reinstated which is weird as there is still nothing for Burdis or the late Stewart Perkins. Maybe they got lost in the post. I should call Denise…oh wait…
The artwork is a cracking combo from Kitson and Hairsine and you can really see the hands of both in this so it will be interesting to see if one style becomes more evident in certain scenes.
Page 5 has a great last panel as the Judges get ready to go to work.
The story itself is a little weak and I suspect this has something more to it than a simple revenge story (which would be extreme if the Big Meg is selecting some random Sovs in a prison complex to get wiped out to address the balance) since they can scarcely afford to create more tension these days. So my guess is that they are there for something else, otherwise they would just use one of the satellites to level the place as a big “drokk you” to the Sovs.
There’s a lot of exposition here with characters going to the trouble of explaining the background and plot to the casual reader. That seemed somewhat forced but I guess some sort of narrative device is required to bring us up to speed.
With Dredd and his team riding giant moose across the Urals there is some “whacky humour” before the Sovs twig their game and arm up.
I loved the translator chips on throat as it was a nice hark back to the Judge Child mission and the nanobot flies were a nice touch.
One member of the gang is still covered up for a big reveal next week and so this is either a Muslim or it is the wisecracking Judge Anderson who must be hidden from view.
I am still undecided about this as I am having 90s flashbacks and some of the dialogue is a bit on the nose (“Cabs haven’t kidnapped anyone since the last Uber riots”) but the action flows well and seems to have a charm all its own. How long that lasts is down to the art I guess.
This is colourful stuff and has some nice touches such as the credit box being displayed as LEDs.
There were also some funny background pieces like “Orbital Comics- ThrillPower Overload”, Tharg’s Play Pit (which sounds like a Yewtree minefield) and the Good Times Club which has a logo made up of a cock and balls. Ban this utter filth.
The upshot of this tale is that Lulu is able to lose her pursuers and goes to Gene for a new ID but during this she reveals her true identity which just so happens to have strong ties to Albion.
So now we understand why she is being hunted.
After all the American Reaper identity theft stuff I am not sure this will reach any dizzy heights but the main issue will be with a character that shifts identity so often we have nothing to grab onto. A character has to have consistency to be durable and unless the real identity becomes the mainstay then we have zilch to latch on to.
There is something to be said for photo-realism but when you have a strip that has roots in Prog 1 with a strongly drawn style to deliver and augment a story it seems somewhat jarring not to have it. I guess that was why McKay fitted so well.
It also seems a little stiff somehow which is a weird thing to say about the style, but there you go. The art is certainly beautiful but I don’t know how it will be sustained as such over multiple parts since it does have a saturation point and seems overly complex at times. Here though we have an amazing Fleshdozer on first page which is jaw droppingly good. Ditto for the gruesome panel of Gorehead chowing down on the Presidential Candidates – why can’t that happen now?
The story is basically a long recap including the tale of how Gorehead became the cuddly lizard we know and how Pastor Sunday has seized on the 666 to liken him to the great beast and spread his foul biblical lies to anyone dumb enough to listen. Gorehead and Boots McGurk are of course no more, having died in each other’s arms in a swamp. Unless the dino has miraculously survived of course.
Meanwhile, General Butler is now President and is secretly working against The Man, putting in place a ban on Trans Time Missions. This anti-corporate action results in civil war and I’m sure this will lead to Pat giving us a long talk about the necessity of communal activity vs the evils of Big Steak.
Is this a fresh take on the events or simply a rehash for the sake of it? My initial thoughts stray to the latter as Rennie seems to have become King of the Retreads, walking a path blazed by better writers before him. The one off last week was interesting but I’m not sure what else can be gained by dipping into the General’s motivations and I was hoping that at least we would get to see something more of why he does what he does. Here though he seems to be a ruthless murdering asshole so there is nothing to identify with unless you’re Bashar Al-Assad or OJ Simpson.
Bizarrely, despite his GI hatred, the General has hooked up with GI abomination Dron (Nord backwards- groan) and changed his speech pattern to resemble that of a Bond villain (“Ah, my dear”). Seriously who talks like this apart from characters in Rennie stories?
After he and Dron wipe out a Souther rescue team, it is revealed that Dron can apparently plug in different biochips to complete different tasks such as flying a Hopper – that’s new. I wonder if he has one that is a Thai hooker with a Singapore grip?
By the end of this we get the revelation that the Xianta want to capture Rogue and the General is going to make a trade to get the GI off his ass.
The art is a little better since PJ does a horrific Traitor General and there is a little more detail here than we have seen with some of his other stories which have a tendency to look rushed. I hope he can sustain this but also hope that his Rogue is rendered better. What we get here is our favourite GI looking like someone who has made a last minute cosplay decision with an oversized Helm and Bagman.
I did spot a Flint maddening lens flare and a circle panel to make The Whittle happy.
With Bill posing as Herr Wilder (hang on does that make him Billy Wilder) he is worrying the other members of the resistance with his psychotic episodes. Why you ask? Well, all is revealed in an opening flashback dream when Savage witnesses his hot missus killed because her son Vinnie pulls a Tiananmen Square strop which gets them all a tank round in the face. Wasn’t the original story a stray tank round that hit the house? Or maybe this is how he imagines it to further vilify the dastardly Volgs and form the nightmare for Bill 16 years later.
And every year, Bill celebrates being released from his marital vows by gunning down some unfortunate Volgans with both barrels blazing.
There is a new Volg weapon out there and only a psychologically damaged Cockney with a shotgun can stop it. It’s a Second Amendment wet dream.
The art style seems to change a little in the telling and I wonder if this is done to emulate the early days of the strip.
The design work is nice and I liked the concealed weaponry in the shelving.
Best of all was the interesting way their faces change from young soldiers to snarly faced invaders as they spot Savage. This is some really good work by Goddard.
Savage punched all the buttons this time out.