Cover by Karl Richardson
Quite a disappointing cover compared to last week’s for me. There’s nothing that I would say is wrong about it in way of potential mistakes or anything – it’s just a very generic pose and image from my perspective. That said, for readers who only joined the comic with the jump on Prog, I suppose it’s quite eye-catching, especially if you were just passing it in a store. A cover for any of the other strips this week would have been my preference though.
Judge Dredd: Mega City Confidential (Part 2)
Excellent once again, and I’m sure will be for a third time in a row too. On the contrary to what I said in my last review, it turns out that there is a bit of humour after all. Partly of the dark variety in fitting with the mood of the story – Erika expressing relief that the Judges won’t be able to arrest Guff being juxtaposed against him being put in an Isolation cube for three years – but I liked the smiling hot dog stand, Max Blixen’s talk show and “Through the door, sir” made me chuckle. Anyway, I’m still very curious about what the big secret of Section 7 could be. If it actually lives up to all this mystery I’ll be very impressed because, honestly, we’ve seen the Judges do a lot of none-too-pleasant things in the past, so it’s hard to imagine what could be so terrible this time. Either way, I’m continuing to love the chilling atmosphere of it all, and this is truly Dredd in Full Bastard Mode.
Colin MacNeil continues to compliment the tone wonderfully of course. I absolutely adore that panel of Dredd being reflected in Styler’s glasses, reinforcing how much of a creep that guy is but depicting Dredd in a blue gray tone that makes him look robotic at the same time. In fact, I’m not sure which of these two characters we should be more frightened of. Directly opposite the page we find this panel on we get another look at the ruined state of the city since Day of Chaos, a highway in the background abruptly ending. Loving these little details, and hope we’ll be seeing more.
Outlier (Part 2)
Still getting mixed signals about this one. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the writing or art – neither just seem very interesting. Though I want to say that the former has all the makings of a cliche revenge story, I’m still waiting to see what the deal with the ship is. I mean, I presume there’s something about it, seeing as its the title of the series. And, to be fair, there was something I didn’t notice when I reviewed the opening of the story last week – Carcer and Caul share some very similar poses, and even a line of dialogue at the end. It would only appear to be emphasising the sort-of connection between the two and nothing more (unless I’m missing the possibility of some other suggestion?), but it’s interesting all the same. There’s nothing quite like that in this second episode unfortunately, it being a more straightforward affair, but we could be getting some answers next time. Third time lucky, maybe?
That will hopefully go for Karl Richardson’s art as well. Like I said, there’s nothing noticeably off about it – it’s just that for a new sci-fi story in the Prog, I guess I was hoping for original character and world design, which I feel this is lacking. Plus, I’ve decided that I simply can’t take Carcer seriously whenever he appears on panel, since he either looks ridiculously pissed off for some reason or like he’s trying to hold back a massive shit.
Slaine: A Simple Killing (Part 2)
There are no such weird things about Simon Davis’ art in this strip to make me raise my eyebrows, except of course…another eyebrow-raising final panel! To be honest, I feel like I might love this story, small Slaine fan or not. The last I read was Carnival and it took itself way too seriously for the crap that it was. But this is neither trying to tell a complicated tale or take itself seriously, and that’s actually fine with me. The title of this first book in The Brutania Chronicles implied that it’d be spent going after this Kark mentioned in the last Prog, only things would get more difficult along the way, and thus the title would be ironic. Instead, in this episode Slaine finds Kark and, after listening to his tale (barely, which was really funny), decides to go after the Sea Devils – who look amazing by the way – that are now in possession of the Goddess’ treasure that Kark stole, sparing him and apparently intending to rescue his daughter. It’s a much more interesting choice to make, yet I presume will still make the title ironic in the end. Hopefully it won’t get too comfortable with the idea of introducing a new plot point in each Prog that leads Slaine from chapter to chapter.
Meanwhile, Simon Davis continues to kick ass. It’s so good, in fact, that unlike last week, I find it difficult to decide what’s the best thing he does. The opening spread? Page 3’s changing expressions of the characters? Page 5’s panels being framed by Sinead spitting on Quagslime? Slaine himself taking up the background of the last page? Man, I just do not know. I really do hope that this level of quality is maintained for as long as the story lasts because it’s simply stunning.
Sinister Dexter: Gun Shy (Part 2)
Weakest instalment of the Prog this time, both in story and art. The former speaks for itself, so I won’t even bother, but the latter was a bit of a surprise as I thought it looked fine last time. The difference would appear to be that Smudge had a lot of exterior shots to draw last time as the duo went across the countryside, whereas this time we’re stuck indoors for the most part, meaning we get a lot more close ups and the like with little to no background detail. But, to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t be caring even if the art was good. The sooner this is over, the better as far as I’m concerned.
Jaegir: Strigoi (Part 2)
Another slow episode with lots of dialogue, but quite revealing. There’s certainly no mystery here, but it is turning out to be a quite horrifying tale. That very first page alone says it all. Bloody dreadful, though in a good way. But, yeah, I’m really liking the direction that this is headed in, grim, dark and slightly depressing or not. The addition of a team at the end is a good thing. The lead character having the unpopular job that she has makes me wonder if we’ll maybe dig under the surface of those characters and find that they’ve done terrible things of their own. That could certainly make for some interesting developments. Either way, brilliant stuff. The art is typically good stuff from Coleby, though I’m thinking quite perfect for this series actually, especially when combined with Len O’Grady’s colouring. The second to last page on which we see the development of the Strigoi virus just goes to show how perfect the two fit together. Great stuff.
Overall, it’s another solid Prog, though interestingly enough, one filled with stories setting up their next episodes. Indeed, I wonder if that annoys the less patient of us, especially since I believe that Dredd and Jaegir will at least be two of these to continue at a slow pace, though it wouldn’t surprise me if Slaine were to do so as well. But I’m loving it. It’s truly great to be back collecting this, I must say. Highlight of the week for me is again Jaegir, with Dredd being very close behind. Hopefully Prog 1876 will be another excellent one.