The return of Slaine gets the variant cover treatment, Simon Davis on the left, Clint Langley on the right. My natural dislike of Langley’s hyper-realistic, photo real computer manipulated art naturally prejudices me against the second one. As for the actual strip… well, read on…
Judge Dredd – Scavengers Part Three by Rob Williams and Carl Critchlow
The very worst thing about this? The fact it’s the final part of this. Seriously, I wanted to see much more. It could have been done, I’d cheerfully have read more pages of Dredd being super-duper sarcastic to everyone, watch many more pages of the two factions battling it out for control of the God City’s nukes, listen to more of Rear Admiral Sensitive Klegg’s chat.
But no, we simply have three episodes. Not enough, but it will have to do. Three excellent episodes, with Williams’ tongue absolutely lodged inside his cheek, with some great lines and Critchlow’s art looking fantastic. One thing to mention here is the very clever use of underwater scenes to establish pace, and to give the sense of silence. That panel I’ve shown you above, where everything has built and built to Klegg overdoing the explosives to knock out the missile silo control base is followed immediately with this…
Gorgeous. But also a perfect silent underwater scene, the calm after the storm, a moment to breathe again.
I shall look forward to more from both Williams and Critchlow soon. Another great team to add to the ranks of Dredd writers and artists.
Defoe: The Damned by Pat Mills and Leigh Gallagher
Defoe, face to face with an old friend guilty of a terrible betrayal does the thing most expected of him by all, but then does something completely unexpected to follow it up. Which sort of covers my ongoing relationship with Defoe. There have been times I’ve enjoyed it, times I’ve not. Here we’re doing okay, Mills’ characters are sound, interesting yet stereotypes, his dialogue here mostly works. It’s the plotting I have an issue with. It’s very much A to B to C to D, with the requisite story elements slotted in where necessary. But this time we’re in the realms of the shock twist, and it does its job.
Thing is, despite all that, it’s still a routinely okay sort of strip.
Slaine: The Book Of Scars by Pat Mills and Clint Langley
You know where I’m going with this yes? Well maybe not.
Yes, fair enough, Clint Langley just turns me off when he’s in super-real computer style art mode. And he does here. I’m sorry but it’s just horrible to my eyes. Incredible skills involved absolutely. But horrible, Artificial, dead.
However, reading it, there’s a spark to Mills’ writing here, and I’m always a reader who can ignore art if I’m enjoying the writing, so I got to page 7 of this first episode and realised I’d actually enjoyed it. Now, some of that could be the prospect of what’s to come, but some of it is undoubtably down to Mills’ obvious love for this character. The whole story here involves Slaine’s book of scars, his own body mapping out his history, each scar a tale to tell, and an ancient thingy deciding to send Slaine back in time, to revisit his greatest adventures, but this time those enemies will be warned that he’s coming.
And the fun thing is that each trip back will shift art styles. We’re starting next week with Clint Langley switching to black and white (yah!) and working in the style of the late Massimo Belardinelli on ‘The Wickerman and the Bride of Crom.’ And after that we’ve guest episodes featuring Mick McMahon, Glen Fabry, Simon Bisley and ending up once more with Langley.
It may not be a great story, but it’s a fun concept. Hopefully my poor knowledge of the legends of Slaine wont hurt my reading too much, because I’m genuinely looking forward to this as a bit of time travelling over the top fun.
Age Of The Wolf III: Wolfworld by Alec Worley and Jon Davis-Hunt
More fun and frolics amongst the werewolves and witches of this perpetual full-moon bathed world. Rowan, the Grey Witch, in trouble on the flying machine, her protection rune damaged, her ‘daughter’ in mortal danger.
On the final page we get a neat twist, an insight into how Rowan’s been able to keep wolf-free all this time, despite pushing her luck again and again.
Enjoyable. Not deep. But enjoyable enough.
The Ten-Seconders: Godsend by Rob Williams and Edmund Bagwell
The Gods came to Earth and near destroyed it. The Gods’ parents, even bigger Gods came to Earth in this series and administered punishment. And to do that they took Malloy, poor doomed miserable Malloy, and turned him into a God to right his world.
So far, he’s made a complete balls-up of that.
Mortal men given the power to do anything, especially those with a real screwed up mental state, tend to do the wrong thing. Hence the dead are returning, damaged, and tsunami’s ravage the planet, and generally nature is in uproar. Thing is, according to the Scientist, the trickster God who came to Earth originally, his parents do like to do this with planets their offspring have played with:
“It relieves them nicely of any moral responsibility and they get to sit back and be entertained by the mess that follows.”
Lovely line, as I’m coming to expect from Rob Williams. This really is coming along nicely. I’ve no real idea where he’s taking this, and I like that. Bagwell, meanwhile, does such a grand job under the confines of such a limited colour palette. All in all, Ten-Seconders has been a real pleasant surprise every week.