Cliff Robinson really does do a grand job in generic Dredd covers doesn’t he? Not meaning to knock him for that either. That’s a great cover.
Judge Dredd – Bender Part Three by John Wagner and Ben Willsher
Judge Bender drops a cit off a roof. Bad Judge Bender.
Judge Lock is none too pleased, but he’s also non too strong, sufferering from post Chaos Day trauma, not really fit for active service but covering for it pretty well. There’s presumably a reckoning coming at some point, but not before Bender and Lock, and now Dredd, head off to follow Bender’s lead on the zizz drug den. Whether Lock ends up bringing Bender down or joining him is anyone’s guess. Trust in Wagner.
The thing is, Bender’s a good judge, knows how to do it right, gets results. The problem is two-fold; Bender may be a damn good Judge, but he’s seen too much, allowed himself to value getting results above the rule of law. The other side of this is that post Chaos Day, everyone needs the Judges out there, and it’s all too easy to see Bender’s results and not ask too many questions. And that includes Dredd.
Bender’s shaping up to be something good, Willsher’s art really good to look at, and Wagner’s writing crisp and good. Not a major strip by any means but a great example of how to spend some time developing characters whilst delivering a fairly thrilling tale.
Defoe: The Damned by Pat Mills and Leigh Gallagher
How to spend some time developing characters whilst delivering a fairly thrilling tale. Not a phrase I could use about Defoe. Last episode time, and it’s mopping up time. Defoe the great rebel has done the job, saved the day, and wouldn’t you know it, those bad bad people in power are coming to claim the credit, and the poor little people go back to being oppressed. The whole thing is a setup for getting Defoe out the door and against the government.
For all its faults, Defoe ends really well. Sure, Mills may be going over the top with the little man of the people stuff but the ending is well played, stylish final page or two, all done of course with Leigh Gallagher’s brilliant black and white art, looking grubby and nasty all the way through. Next time someone at 2000AD suggests Gallagher for an artist, for God’s sake someone take his coloured paints away – so much better to see him deliver good old fashioned b&w!
The Ten-Seconders: Godsend by Rob Williams and Ben Willsher
Bloody hell, talk about the end of the world. The Scientist turns out (to no one’s surprise) to have been manipulating things most of the way through, everything leading up to this moment, the whole world, quite literally, in his hands, Damage and Jennifer can just stand idly by, and isn’t that line “Damage is scared, Jennifer. Daddy is very clever.” just a chilling moment?
We’re surely reaching the end of The Ten-Seconders soon? Not that I really want to, just that I can’t see how much higher Williams can ramp the events.
One bad part this time round; the art, for the first time, is a little lacking. Ben Willsher’s stuff looks good, but he’s lacking some of the sense of scale Bagwell did so well, and some of the old Gods are beginning to look a little too small. That said, the rest of the art… lovely.
Age Of The Wolf III: Wolfworld by Alec Worley and Jon Davis-Hunt
The wolves get cuddlier and cuddlier here, more Build-A-Bear than nightmares to scare the children with. Whatever, here we have a poor, poor episode. Talky talky stuff, setting everything up so damn obviously, unrealistic actions from captive Keira, and a final conflict looming that we could all see a long way off.
Still, last line of the episode was good. Apart from that, nope, not this time.
Slaine: The Book Of Scars by Pat Mills and Glenn Fabry
Okay then, we’ve had four episodes now. The intro, where Slaine gets told he’s heading back to fight past battles with the twist that the opponents not only know he’s coming, but know what to do about it. Then we get an episode each from guest artists revisiting their particular part of Slaine history. So first it was Clint Langley doing a neat homage to Belardinelli, then Mike McMahon making a welcome return. This episode it’s Glenn Fabry looking great in black and white once more.
The problem isn’t with the art, the problem is with the story. Look, I understand that the whole thing here is an excuse to wallow in nostalgia, but was there really no way Pat Mills could think of making it a little more readable and understandable to those of us not familiar with the stories the first time round? Surely?
This time, it’s El women, protected against iron unlike the first time round, so it’s a good job Slaine happens to have the other thing that does them in on his belt isn’t it?
So, as with McMahon’s episode, pretty but pointless.