The next two volumes in the Mega Collection arrive bearing gifts in the form of some Judge Dredd coasters and two books that could be excellent contenders for that always tricky dilemma of what to hand to a new reader in the hopes of luring them in to the world of Dredd.
First off, Origins by John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Kev Walker and Colin MacNeil, with that famous Brian Bolland cover image. This does an excellent job of covering the back story that led to the Judges taking control of America while at the same time showing how Joe Dredd’s character has developed since those early years. And along the way there’s plenty of kickass action with cursed earth mutant gangs, deluded townships, and some bonkers robots. This is easy to review as it has several of the 2000AD elite creators all performing at the top of their game. The reproduction is perfect and there are some extra features with sketches by Carlos, an introduction by Matt Smith and a nice afterword by Michael Molcher. I think this is a great book to hand to a Dredd newbie and in fact that is what I plan to do with these volumes once they overtake the space I have available for them (about now in other words).
The Anderson Shamballa volume is similarly beautiful to hold and behold. Alan Grant explores all his interest in mystical matters while Arthur Ranson’s artwork is simply stunning. As well as Shamballa this also includes the stories The Jesus Syndrome, Satan, The Protest, and R*Volultion.
Again it is all beautifully produced with another Matt Smith introduction and a very interesting five page essay by Mr Molcher. I have a friend who is into French and other European comics and I think I’m going to pass this one on to him as Ranson’s glorious art reminds me of some of the work produced by Moebius and other European artists.
The Mega Collection continues to impress and excite.
Flint is joined by Rich and, briefly, Burdis to talk the normal rubbish, look at prog 1921 and as this is the 200th episode, prog 200
As always, spoilers, swearing etc
Podcast available via itunes or the Libsyn Webpage as a direct download
ABC Warriors – A Potted History 2 of 6
Part 1 can be found here
Out of retirement : Hanging out with the Warlock
It’s been said Mills has said that there was a large gap in their appearances due to the nightmare of scheduling in the first series, which also explains the variety of artists that appeared. It’s said that Nemesis was initially going to be the return of Deadlock from the ABC Warriors. But in book 3 of Nemesis we had strong hints that there may be a return in the offing for the war robots. Mek Quake, the bulldozer foil from “Ro Busters” still functioning thousands of the years in the future, is part of a Terminator invasion force, almost unrecognisable from his early days in the disaster squad of distinction. Reassuringly (:D), there is no change to his moronic, cowardly, and fundamentally sadistic character.
The end of the book finds Nemesis’ wife Chira dead and his son, Thoth thought to be, but very much alive and in the care of a Terminator called Sir Hargan on Termight (earth, thousands of years in the future),
In Nemesis Book 4 : “The Gothic Empire” Hammerstein’s old Ro Busters side kick, Ro Jaws resurfaces working on the hotel staff for the hotel Majestic on the Goth homeworld. The Goths : an alien species heavily influenced by the radio transmissions from 20th century Earth. The Goths were the latest target of the Terminators. Having suffered some serious losses in their galactic crusade, the Terminators reinforced their invasion with the ancient robot armies, which included a battered, war weary and cynical Hammerstein and his new comrades Hitaki, a samurai robot and Mad Ronn, a former bomb disposal robot.
A reprogrammed and kill crazy Hammerstein is prevented from assassinating the Queen of the Goth’s by a disguised Nemesis. Freed from his assassin programming, Hammerstein inspires Nemesis to reform the warriors to help save the Gothic Empire. Except, there is no chance of a reunion. Sadly, Happy Shrapnel is dead, and the Mess had been left on Mars. Conveniently, the remaining Warriors all live on the free robot planet of Mekaka.
A now more verbose and heavily redesigned Joe is working as an undercover police officer, Mongrol works in a circus as their main attraction, Blackblood is a “respectable” business man and Deadlock – well Deadlock, turns out is Nemesis. Deadlock, a worshipper of Khaos, meditated for hundreds of years to raise himself to a higher level, and finally met his god – Nemesis. In a condensed version of the recruitment drive we saw in the original run (and a plot device we will revisit repeatedly in the future), the warriors are reunited.
Together with Mad Ronn and Hitaki this was the “meknificent” new line up. Kev’ O’Neill starts the run, with his usual bizarre characters and designs, but it is completed by Bryan Talbot, who retains the feel of the strip, but lends a darker atmosphere with his extensive cross hatching and innovative design work. I’ve said it before, but this is my favourite 2000ad story ever.
The Warriors stick with Nemesis and Credo (the alien resistance organisation) in fighting the Terminators. Between books Mad Ronn is killed, but is replaced by Mek Quake in Book 5 of Nemesis “ The Vengeance of Thoth”.
Nemesis finds his son is still alive, but Thoth has plans to take revenge on his father and the man behind the death of his mother – Torquemada. He hatches an elaborate plan, bringing a previous incarnation of Torquemada from the past to the future to torture him and put him into a time loop so that he dies endlessly, but he also seeks to destroy his father’s work, by destroying the galaxy. He intends to do this by destabilising the white and black holes that are at either side of Termight (Earth, thousands of years in the future).Termight would be caught between the two destroying the planet and sterilising the galaxy.
Suffice to say, Nemesis doesn’t want this to happen, and with the warriors in tow, sets after Thoth down the time wastes, tunnels where the by products from the construction of the white and black holes is stored. In the process, Hitaki is beheaded, and his body crushed by Mek Quake. Nemesis decides to continue in his pursuit of his son, but then sends the Warriors, including Ro Jaws to the control room at the centre of the time wastes to stabilise the white and black holes, preventing the destruction of the galaxy. And this is where the strips diverge again.