Fresh from a conversation where a person was explaining how her daughter had been diagnosed with “fecal alcohol syndrome” here’s Orlok with his own brand of shit-whiskey…
Alright let’s start with the good. This was very colourfully full of flame as robot bikes from the future blaze away in some lovely work from Mark Harrison. Mind you, this would have been better as the cover from last week when the Straw Dogs were revealed, but you can’t change the past so let’s move on.
Sadly, the logo is slightly covered and they have once again fucked about with the brand colour and I am hoping this is not going to be a pattern. That’s your brand and it has to stand out and be as consistent as possible.
Inside, Yewtree Tharg gives us more funny observations from the 1988 Eagle Annual. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving and we’re probably going to have a six week running gag about how Hugh Grant once appeared as a model in Jackie. Oh, how we’ll laugh.
On Enceladus, Judge Sam has a sit down while his oxygen supply slowly runs out, reflecting how he saved the Big Meg from a giant alien ice spider. Luckily he is rescued and taken back to Justice Dept Psych for five weeks before Dredd shows up, gives him a pep talk and then endorses his transfer.
You see, after this act of sainthood, he realises his true calling and wants to be a Mega City Judge for reals. This is of course despite the fact that he seems to have no proper Judicial training other than architecture and not pointing Mr Happy at anyone in the locker room. Can he cope with the Big Meg beat? Well, yes it seems he can, even without any kind of chaperone to guide him through 15 years of training and diverse laws it seems. I’ll just take this as plot convenience since even the Carroll story had Texan slab jocks given a partnership deal except when it was casually discarded for story purposes.
In set up mode for what I am hoping will not be more Smiley related nonsense, he is given a mission to guard a prisoner, who is murdered before his disbelieving eyes.
It is a decent taster and I am keen to see where it goes.
The art is gorgeous and there is some lovely panel work as Sam reflects on his place in it all with colour work that is the best in the Prog.
For some reason, the Med Judge has a huge red cross on her arse cheek. Ban this filth.
Bill takes cover from the gunfire and has a pop at one of the robots but both transform and start blazing away some more. It seems the bots are tracking the old lady’s phone and with her dying breath she implores Bill to stop the Stare at all costs.
Bill blags her about him letting go of the past in order to placate her. He just lied to a dying woman and I am sure there are rules about that and you are not allowed to bullshit the moribund unless you are a priest, since they do it for a living.
Energized by the death of his comrade and fully immersed in the ways of violence, Bill takes out the robots at point blank range. He now has just one clue to lead him to the Stare; Shia Lebouef must be captured, tortured for info and then executed.
Elsewhere the Volgan police procedural ticks along and Nika deduces that Bill Savage uses the same type of shotgun shell as the killer. Ergo, Savage is the killer. She’s smart that one.
My only quibble is that the robots seem a little inept as they are zeroing in on the handler from a huge distance, taking her out easily but up close they fuck it up and even seem to stop firing to give Bill a shot at them. Other than that, this is building nicely as it is clearly going to bring the two investigations together at some point.
I love the art and there is a fantastic panel on the bottom of page 3 that shows that despite what he said, Bill has still got his anger.
There’s also a really nice image of Nika chewing on her pencil as she makes her theory known.
Let’s start with the art, which seems ok this time out though Millicom looks different to the Millicom of the past. That’s no real biggie.
PJ also seems to be a bit tongue in cheek here with the art (the dude with the big gun covered in kill scratches for one) and it seems like he is channelling Rob Liefield in places. I did like the look of the Souther deserter who had put tape over his cracked helmet, though, and I thought that was a really nice bit of atmospheric scene setting.
Storywise, the General believes that aliens are the true enemy and wants to unite with the Norts by having them conquer the Southers. The Norts are more ruthless you see, and stand a better chance of smashing the ETs. And thus we come to an issue, if you have a reduced fighting force since your strategy just allowed half of the human population to wipe out the other half, won’t you be less effective in a war in either case?
Ok this is some good backstory work from Rennie but do we need it? Do we have to understand every motivation for the bad guys so that we can see that they are really just warped examples of reason wrapped up in conflicted personalities? Darth Vader for example was weakened as a character when it was revealed he was less of a warrior who had turned to evil and more of an emo prick with a bad temper. Sometimes less is more, but let’s go with what Rennie is offering and see if it leads us to other conclusions.
As punishment for his dissident behaviour he is ordered to oversee a new initiative and as such has access to sensitive info on the GI programme which he shares with the Norts. Nice reward scheme there.
Anyway, the General has it pointed out to him the irony of him doing business with the Xianta, saying that they will be dealt with in time but that doesn’t excuse the logic of why he is doing the deal. His reasoning (to the Xianta at least) is that the GI is after him so he is trading him for a new ID, a new face and a bucket of cash. How will that help the Norts win? And if it is the GI he wants out of the picture then surely a man who can plant info inside a Nort base can spring a trap that sees Rogue and co caught by the Southers.
And that’s the issue here. In the original tale, the General was on the run and was surviving on his wits and whatever skills he still possessed. He wasn’t a master strategist with plot busting Nort access, a GI mutant batman and a person to explain the story to.
In a “D” plot we have some bounty hunters entering the mix and potentially going after Rogue themselves.
I’m still reading it but I think there are holes where there should be solid story foundations.
In a flashback to 15 years ago, Claw Carver tells his daughter that there are 7 million dinos a year going through the grinders and despite that amount of meat, there is still a European famine. That’s Brexit for you, buddy. Get used to it.
He also lets slip that the boss of Trans Time is a paedo and is taking a “special interest” in famine children, which is probably a bit of extra spin we didn’t need. Yep, I get that he is a corporate dick but the kid fiddling is perhaps overkill. However, since this is Pat Mills we have to have this badness hammered home.
With the dinos repurposed in every way, this prompts young Vegas to echo the motto of Mega City One’s Resyk in that everything is used bar the scream (sic).
In the present Cret, Vegas and her reptoid chums are going to stop the herd and she is rudely interrupted by her dad for a family reunion. Oh and he’s going to kill her for a fat load of cash since he hates Greenies more than anything, even having to put in a suppository with that claw. Jesus, this has gone very Jezza all of a sudden.
I still like the art but I am not sure if Langley is a good fit for this. I find the whole thing a little bit too dark and you sometimes cannot make stuff out because of that.
The Flesh Dozers are fucking terrifying to look at, though, but my main gripe is that Langley needs to use some other face models cos Carver is a dead ringer for Slaine.
Rather than getting wiped out, Libra’s persona resists the feedback and her true self plus the rash are still there, more’s the pity.
With Albion corp on the case, it is revealed that Libra’s dad was head of Albion security and after his daughter fell in love with the boss’s son, he was terminated. Both occupationally and actually.
I find this whole “everything is connected” trope a bit wearing and once you see this played out again and again it gets dull. I had hoped for something more to this story but so far I am having trouble finding it.
I’ll be honest, if this ended next week with no conclusion presented, I’d be fine with that.
The art is still an assault on the eyeballs though I did like the Ringo Starr lookalike on the top of page 2, resplendent in his Sgt Pepper knock off. I also liked how the Albion HQ looked like Tharg’s head but not how Starflight himself looked like a cross between Efil Drago San and Donald Trump from 2019. Actually, they could be the same person.
I have to admit that I am getting a little bored of the namechecks now.
Still Savage this week although the Dredd was pretty damn good for the art alone.