Yeah, that Henry Flint Dredd cover… it’s, as I’ve said already, something I should damn well love, but it’s not quite doing it for me. A bit more on Dredd maybe, I don’t know. However, don’t worry, Flint fans, I’m going to praise the shit out of him in a moment….
Judge Dredd Enceladus: New Life – Part 3, Rob Williams, Henry Flint, Annie Parkhouse
Bloody hell. Bloody hell. Bloody hell. This is just perfect, absolutely, completely perfect, the tone so good, the art so great, this is Dredd with a weakness, an ageing icon whose flaws just can’t be hidden, no matter how important he is to the idea of law in MC-1. This is Dredd with import, the stories pitched so well it becomes essential.
Williams and Flint create something quite perfect here, a Dredd that’s absolutely believable, utterly engrossing, completely bad-ass, and totally flawed, his age creeping up on him. It’s all to do with Nixon of course, the experience on Titan still getting to Dredd, and the experience on Enceladus making us think differently of Nixon. This is a classically great Dredd tale where Flint foregoes the incredibly effective reds of last episode for the utterly cold blues of Nixon here. Fabulous art.
Orlok, Agent of East-Meg One: The Rasputin Caper – Part 3, Arthur Wyatt and Jake Lynch
The Oz Mutanty have Nostradamus-mimicing artist Jiri Rasputin, and Orlok finds himeself teaming up with the (frankly ridiculous) Black Widowmaker, East Meg-1 meets East Meg-2, Orlok’s unimpressed to say the least, but then again, things could be worse, Mega City-1’s new Deputy Chief-Judge is a fish.
It’s a bit of a pause here, and the whole thing still doesn’t feel as well constructed and mildly farcical as the last Orlok series, despite the characters here being deliberately ridiculous. Last time it worked because the tongue in cheek part sat alongside a very 70s-ish espionage thing. Here, we’re not quite sure what it is… yet. And Lynch’s b&w art really does seem more suited to the dark shadows of Euro-Cit buildings than to the light of the Oz Outback.
Sláine: The Brutania Chronicles – Primordial – Part 3, Pat Mills and Simon Davis
Sorry. It’s the same as before. Wittering on about stuff. I know Sinead’s dialogue is meant to sound as though she’s addled, but frankly I’m staring at each page of Slaine here as if it’s written in Latin, I’ve simply got zero connection here beyond looking at all of the pretty pictures from Davis. I know a lot of you love your Slaine, but not me, sorry.
Grey Area: Another Day On The Job – Part 3, Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison
“So, in simple terms, lets appraise out shitty situation…”
Yep, Bulliet pretty much nails it. The Grey Area they’re all used to has been swapped for one halfway across the galaxy, where the indigenous population have absolutely sod all interest in space, complete indifference to any species that rock up, they simply lock them away to ignore them. Oh, and there’s a God-Star bearing down on them all and only the Exo-Squad have any idea.
Effectively this is Abnett doing a good thing very well, the police procedural given a twist, the fascinating thing here being the alien presence (well, actually the indigenous population, but you know what I mean) and their determined lack of involvement, the Exo-Squad merely curiosities, nothing more. That’s a lovely twist to things, and Harrison’s artwork really does suit this brave new world so well.
Strontium Dog: The Stix Fix – Part 3, John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra
Ok, so on the plus side, at least I can read this and stay aware enough that I don’t feel like I’ve no idea what’s going on. But the problem is, having paid attention, there really isn’t an awful lot going on of interest anyway. Strontium Dog is in somewhere very North Korea like, on a mission to rescue Jim Jim Jong, the country’s kidnapped leader, and it’s all got something to do with those Stix Brothers.
This follows that, follows this. Events just happen, Johnny Alpha takes a bit of personal time, follows a lead, argues with his NK minder, puts the interpreter in harm’s way. This after that after this. There’s a simple structure but it doesn’t flow. Maybe it’s simply Wagner adopting a different writing style, completely different from his Dredd style I enjoy (normally) so much, but I’m not into it.
Ho hum, I make it a total draw, 2 great strips, 2 I don’t like at all and one I’m not at all sure of. Dredd’s on blistering form, Grey Area continues to impress, Orlok’s something like a score draw right now, skating by a little on how great the last series was. Slaine and Strontium Dog just aren’t doing it for me. Not at all.