Judge Death Action Figure by 3A
Review by Seth
“So, are you enjoying your new doll?”
“It’s not a doll”
“ You can tell yourself that, but it is indeed, a doll”
“It’s not a doll, it’s a collectible action figure”
And so on… Is the conversation above in anyway familiar?
It is a fairly regular one in my household. To be fair, my wife is very tolerant. Assorted 2000ad and non 2000ad, but similarly geeky merchandise are all on strategic display around the premises, with little complaint from the missus, maybe the occasional roll of the eyes.
I’ve been impressed with 3As figures so far. My 1/12 Mongrol has pride of place above the fish tank. Judge Death was one I missed when it was first advertised, I only noticed it after I’d ordered my Sam Slade, back in July. I hesitated, I deliberated, I told myself “you don’t need it”. But one late night and a bottle of wine later, 3A got more of my money.
JD arrived the end of last month. It took until this weekend to open him.
After spending £48.94, and then waiting around 5 months, I hesitated over opening the pack. I’m not a speculator, I don’t buy these things for them to increase in value, but I get a little OCD and hate the thought of it getting damaged, marked, or breathed upon.
In the end I saw sense, but wasn’t going to tear open the blister pack in a hurry, I was going to savour it.
Actually, that’s my first issue with this product. Blister pack? I didn’t spend the thick end of 50 quid to have my action figure (not doll) sent in a bit of card with a plastic cover. I wanted a box, a proper high quality cardboard or plastic, pucker box – like Mongrol or Ro Jaws were sent in. It takes the edge off a bit, I can tell you.
Craft knife to hand, off we go. Semi successfully splitting with blister pack from its baking board, only tearing the board a tad (honest), Death is free (if only he was, and not £48.94).
To be honest, I was disappointed with his size, I thought it’d be bigger (which is also what my Wife said, boom boom) – but that’ll teach me to read the description, rather than get all click happy. Bank balances beware, 1 bottle of wine, a credit card and the internet are a lethal combination.
He comes with interchangeable hands, fingers closed or fingers slightly splayed apart. Colour me underwhelmed. A dimension jump, or something else Death related would have been more appropriate – Re:Action’s came with a D jump and a heart – gruesome perhaps, but it made sense.
Detail is excellent, though he does look a little well fed for the usually skeletal death. He’s surprisingly well articulated, even down to the feet. Joints are hidden by the fabric of the (well kept and surprisingly intact) uniform.
Am I asking too much for better packaging and even a stand? Despite these reservations, 3A’s Judge Death is small , but almost perfectly formed (which is what I always tell my wife). It’s an excellent figure and bodes well for Sam, Judge Fish and the Gronk (this side of Christmas 2016?)
In the meantime, negotiations are about to begin on where this fella can be displayed ……..
2000ad Prog 1950
Review by Seth
Not before time, we have a jumping on prog’. Leading up to this the Prog has been seriously iffy. Jumping on progs are always sprint starts, nice and strong, exciting. But the prog flags around 12 issues later. Some of the last few issues’ content has been pretty chronic.
Wrapped in a nifty cover from Quitely clone Chris Burnham, we have 4 stories starting this issue. Largely they are nice jumping on points, even Bad Company, but not so Brass Sun – which has a ton of back story. Speaking of drawn out plots, the fifth slot in 1951 is filled by Sinister Dexter. At Least Patrick Goddard is on art duties for this outing.
Wagner and MacNeil craft the much anticipated return of PJ Maybe. PJ leaves Dredd clues to locate other serial killers, for what can’t be altruistic purposes. Wagner excels at the inner monologue of the serial killer (which is kind of worrying), coming up with even more imaginative ways to off his victims, and fine detail on the procedural. I’ve been looking forward to this, it doesn’t disappoint so far. MacNeil’s art is suitably atmospheric, lots of blacks and some great colouring from Chris Blythe.
Ah Defoe. Defoe, Defoe, Defoe Defoe.
Defoe – how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Titus has retired as reek hunter, and shacked up with Tomazine and started a family. However, the reeks aren’t finished with him, and they invade his home. Mills introduces the “London hanged” reeks that have been executed following criminal convictions. Gallagher is one of my favourite artists in the prog’, his black and white work is superb, creepy, gritty and suitably grisly, smashing camera angles. Kicks arse. Mills’ work has been hit and miss for years, ABC Warriors is going full circle, Flesh can be cringey and overly shlocky. Defoe is proof positive that Mills has still got that spark.
Brass Sun returns. We’re where now? Who are these people? Am I going to go back through my progs to catch up?
Am I hell.
At the risk of repeating myself (again), this would work best as a collected edition, a slow burn, thoughtful sci fi epic. I like the concept, but it’s dragging on a bit. Edge’ writes some great stuff – I’m a big fan of Helium, but some dead iffy stuff that went past its’ natural life (Red Seas). Culbard’s work is stylish, but a little too indistinct, it’s difficult to distinguish between his characters.
Is Bad Company’s resurrection ill advised? Possibly, but I’ll reserve judgement until the end of the series. This was always a favourite of mine and I groaned when I heard it was being resurrected. Rufus Dayglo is a great replacement for the late Brett Ewins, more fluid, but with the same subversive bent and Jim McCarthy’s inks provide consistency with the earlier runs. Milligan’s strengths have been his quirky plots, strong characters and sharp dialogue. But some of the scripting here is a bit awkward and plotting a little forced, if I am being polite. Anyway, aren’t all these guys dead? Please don’t tell me this is one big retcon. The last few series of this have been a massive letdown. Here’s hoping this won’t go the same way.
Prog reviews, Prog reviews…how do they go again? Is it just ill informed synopses or does everything have to be completely biased towards positivity? Orlok does forget these things over time…
Judge Dredd Megazine 362
Review by Seth
No Prog or Meg reviews from me this month, let’s just say they are both on terrific form, but you probably know that already. Instead let’s turn to the lovely hardback which dropped into the sweaty hands of most 2000AD readers recently, John Wagner and Greg Staples’ lovingly crafted Dark Justice.
First and foremost is the look and the feel of the book which as most reviewers have already observed resembles a good old fashioned Christmas annual. It looks and feels wonderful with a stunning cover and the dramatic endpapers illustrating Staples’ glorious art. Just holding it brings back those wonderful feelings of when you got a top annual in your stocking. Jumpers for goalposts and all that. Marvellous.
Story wise it does read better as a single volume. It’s quite clear what its inspirations were and it plays out quite nicely in a fiends on a space plane fashion. There are a number of unanswered or half answered questions such as how Judge Death returned exactly, how fast the Justice department ship must have traveled to catch the Mayflower, and how far out of our solar system they are stranded at the end of the story. Anderson seems to survive a lethal attack from Death, Dredd is issued with a new Mark 3 Lawgiver whose only purpose is to jam at a crucial moment and leave Joe using farm implements and harsh language to defend himself. I’d also like to know how poor old Logan is getting on and, of course, what happened to P.J.Maybe, who surely must still be alive to return in a future story.
John Wagner is the heart and soul of 2000AD, the Goliath who has shaped Dredd’s universe from day one. He has produced some of the best comic writing ever in stories like America, Mandroid and Day of Chaos. Dark Justice doesn’t quite hit those heights and maybe John really is finished with the Dark Judges, but it’s still a very entertaining read.
Turning to the art and I’m going to run out of superlatives for the products of two year’s hard work by Greg Staples. On this lovely glossy paper in the beautiful hardback it all just pops. It’s stunning and clearly worth the price of admission alone. Hopefully the lucky so and so who bought all the original pages will exhibit them in a gallery somewhere so we can all go along and drool over them.
Tharg has also given us plenty of extras. It’s fascinating to read the exchange of emails between the creators as Greg persuades John to write a new Judge Death story. Then there are the covers in all their glory, Steve Green’s 3D designs for the new Lawgiver, Greg’s sketches and the intermediate stages on the way to the production of final pages. Plus there are a couple of images from the photo shoot which Greg used to plan some of the action scenes. And if you can tear your eyes away from the lovely Lauren Stables you might recognise Steve Green and Senior Street Judge Burdis hanging out with the cool kids again. That’s what we want, Mr Tharg, pages of extras that we can feast our eyes on.
Overall it may not be the best Judge Dredd story ever but it’s certainly one of the most beautifully illustrated, and presented in this excellent hardback format it’s a winner. There’s a lot of tugging on the purse strings of the avid 2000AD fan at the moment, and yes some of those new figures do look pretty great, but come on you have to have this back on your shelf. It’s pretty cheap on Amazon but they suck, buy it from the 2000AD shop instead, or better yet get it in your local comic shop if you are lucky enough to have such a thing, and let’s keep this Rebellion revival rolling along.
Dark Justice, clearly 10/10 and recommended to all. I’m now off to lovingly caress something hard and glossy again.