December is here and again there is no Megacast, so here is Orlok with his own review of Meg 378.
A nice Ryan Brown special which is dominated by a gorgeous looking Dreddhead with a slightly imperfect helmet. Not the art, just the fact that it has seen some use.
The face is grizzled and the uniform looks brilliant though there are no links to comment on for full Burdis approval. This uniform is the standard we should be working to since it is only natural that there will have been incremental changes over the decades which have culminated in this version.
We also have three Dredds for the price of one on the cover and one of these is riding a Lawmaster along a daystick like it is a James Bond title sequence.
There is some logo coverage, but you can’t have everything. Anyway, one of the covers of the year without question.
At the Institute for Troubled Psychics, shit has gone down.
Artistically, Trevallion’s work is excellent and his composition and angles are sublime. He uses the latter intelligently to bring focus, especially in the panels with the creepy entity (a task he learned from Absalom). And also it is gory as hell.
He also pulls off some nice tech of the phone being literally in the palm of the hand.
Storywise, it flows well and I liked the old couple being forced to tell what they saw or get five in the cubes. When the stories don’t quite match they get booked anyway. There were also some really nice scenes with the records Judge trying to nail down the MO of the perp.
When Dredd goes to see Shenker he gets the info that the perp resembles the Psychic Slasher from 12 years ago and the key to stopping it lies in the broken Judge Havers. This is therefore a nice set up for the next round and hopefully the momentum can kick up.
Well the colours here are amazing and there is a truly great panel at the bottom of page 1. If I didn’t already live in a paradise, I’d want to be there. The breaking of dawn over three panels is well done too. I have just watched Rogue One so that sort of simplicity in the scenery really resonates with me.
The gigantic half circle on page 2 will either make or break The Whittle and it could go either way.
Storywise, I’m finding it hard to care about the characters and the only nice bit for me was the momentary misunderstanding when they think Blunt is going to slot Boyd as he is a liability.
Some more redshirts die the death of dogs so that the numbers are reduced to a handful and after an encounter with a flare gun, the monster runs off burning, never to be seen again. Oh wait…
Bloody hell, that first page is amazing with some great perspective work that disappears into the dust.
We get some lovely colours here too and some great close ups of the eyes to aid the expressions and focus what is being said. Best of all was the panel of the marauders bearing down on the settlement which had a real Mad Max 2 feel to it. And that last panel lets you know they have the kid and have raided the settlement which is in flames behind them.
We get a small flashback to remind us that Angel is a killer and knows full well how to use a firearm. He gets teamed up with two other posse members who overstate their own ability to handle a shooter and when the ambush takes place they are cut down easily. This plays nicely to bring Angel’s killing ability to the fore.
The only problem is that there is too much talking in the gunfight. That just doesn’t happen and it takes you out of the story a little.
Cass pulls the pin off a gas grenade with her teeth so she doesn’t have to holster her weapon and then procedurally deals with her perps with close quarter gunfire. She is going totally by the book on this showing that she is well trained over her 12 years in the Academy and I like this aspect to her. Clearly being with Dredd has rubbed off on her and galvanised her training and experience.
She loses her gun in a legit way as it comes down to a lifesaving grip or a fall to her death. She therefore has to rely on her psi powers and calls in a sitrep on the way. There’s no panic here, just procedure so again there is continuity with her independent ability.
By the end of this she is slightly more desperate and projects the voice pervading her head outwards, defeating her perps and winning the day, but this comes at cost. With her perp apparently free of the possession there is a presence with her at the end. This is beautifully underplayed which is very nice and sets it up well for next issue.
This is well written stuff and I like it.
I’m loving the art too and there are some really nice touches, such as the face of Fernandez which is all crazy smiles and the look of the kids when an armed Judge stumbles onto their roofspace.
Thrill Power Overload- It’s 2012 and a film about a future cop is due out, meanwhile the Prog continues much as it always has.
There is a good section here on the development of Grey Area from a simple cops on the border story to something much grander in scale. The story has evolved as a result of its reception by the fans and that is something really nice to see. Though I was a detractor of the tale at first, the expanded scope of this has been a tour de force by Abnett.
The What If stories are discussed and were a bit shit if I am honest and utterly without point.
The batshit insanity of Zilk is brought to the fore and Brendan’s designs (reproduced here) look more like something from the Reeves and Mortimer sketchbook than a pitch for the Galaxy’s Greatest.
It is revealed that Alan Grant has no burning desire to return to Durham Red and feels a stronger passion for Anderson. I totally get that as he has much more time and effort invested in the Psi Judge and Durham Red is a bit dull.
Wagner reveals he found Chaos Day depressing and notes that it is an allegory for how violence breeds violence and that is something that is being played out even as I type. Regardless, the Chaos bug has had two knock on effects. One was that it paved the way for Trifecta, which was even more depressing in my opinion, and the other was that it gave a chance for other writers to shine and I totally agree with that last part. It has been a kickstarter for innovation for all of the stable of Dredd writers, except for Rennie who has thrown in the towel. Luckily Carroll is there to pick up the slack. If you read my reviews regularly you will know why I think he is the one to take up the reins should Wagner ever mosey into the sunset. He is not without faults as I have mentioned many times and on some of the grander stories his logic can be flawed, but of all of the other writers his “feel” for the character, the city and the underpinning humour has been consistently bang on and that counts for something. Carroll himself states that obstacles like this force writers to dig deep, adapt and improve. And that is better for everyone; we as consumers get stories that thrill or even confound us and the creators get to knock it out of the park and build on those strengths.
Rennie himself has stuck to his reboots although puzzlingly he states that in the case of Blackhawk, he simply changed his name, added a tattoo and made him black. Really, you made him black? That’s nice of you, considering that he was a Nubian beforehand which is exactly what he is in your story too. Dear oh dear, Gordon.
Letters- Another mixed bag with some cheeky Swede seemingly wanting the floppies without the Meg. It’s an outrage.
One precious 38 year old adult complains about having to read the word “cunt” in an adult themed strip. Because of this he now cannot hand the comic to a child to enjoy. This is a good move because said child might get upset at that word and also by the amount of violence in say, Angelic, which you seem quite happy to expose them to so long as there is no c-bomb. I get that language is a sensitivity for some but there is also a fine line between a comic that features someone being bopped on the jaw and another which has a murderer chopping off the hand of a would be child abductor. One is suitable for kids and one if suitable for adults. Use your 38 year old brain to make that distinction.
Interrogations-Glyn Dillon is given seven pages to chat predominantly about Star Wars. I had to check the front of the comic to see if I was reading Star Wars magazine. It turns out I wasn’t.
By comparison there is a two page tribute to his brother Steve and good as this was I would have liked to see those page quantities switched around.
Floppy- I skipped it as I have read It before and have no desire to do so again.
As not a fantastic amount happens in Angelic, I am giving this to the Anderson story which has left me hungry for more.