Judge Dredd: The Cold Deck, part five
Script: Al Ewing, Art: Henry Flint
Things take a dramatic step forward as Judge Dredd, after having been talked down to by Chief Judge Hershey, decides to confront Bachmann. Turning up to her office with a group of SJS (Special Judicial Squad - an internal investigation unit) he reveals that he and mystery figure Smiley had swapped the Wally squad list with a list of ne’er-do-wells and miscreants back in Prog 1806, and he has evidence that Bachmann sent her Black Ops troops to do the deed.
Bachmann’s face when Dredd pulls out his trump card is priceless, but things don’t end there. Bachmann is forced into initiating Plan B, and the next few issues are going to be very bloody.
ABC Warriors: Return to Earth, part eleven
Script: Pat Mills, Art: Clint Langley
Okay, I’ve finally got my head around what’s going on in ABC Warriors. Back in 1978, Hammerstein was originally introduced in Ro-busters, a strip in the comic Starlord and written by Pat Mills. It was a Thunderbirds-esque sci-fi strip where robots went on dangerous missions to save humans, and Return to Earth has been a long form secret origin story, reintroducing Hammerstein’s old head, comic relief Ro-Jaws, and this issue the maniacal, malevolent and moronic Mek-Quake.
It’s a good strip this week. The introduction of Mek-Quake is amusing and intimidating in equal measures, and the opening tournaphon, in which world political leaders dual to the death to settle international disputes (it’s less barbaric than war) is cleverly satirical, and gives Clint Langley an excuse to draw guys in Blood Bowl armour knocking gorey chunks out of each other.
How much longer Pat Mills can spin this storyline out for I don’t know. Unless he’s know going to retell thirty year-old Ro-Buster stories, the narrative is at a comfortable point to wrap up.
Low Life: Saudade, part six
Script: Rob Williams, Art: D’Israeli
Dirty Frank kicks all the butts this week. Proudly telling Mr. Overdrive that the expensive list he bought is inaccurate shuts the shark up for awhile (until he bites a chunk out of Frank’s arm). Frank even gets off some great action-movie one liners.
But is it too late? In desperation, Overdrive launches Operation Olympus, and at the end of the strip, the God City begins to rise out of the moon crater, presumably to swim through space and launch an attack on Mega-City One.
It’s another great strip from Williams and D’Israeli, with plenty of humour and action and even a Total Recall reference.
Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds, part eleven
Script: Ian Edgington, Art: I. N. J. Culbard
The lot moves forward nicely this week. Wren, C-17 and Ramkin the butler form an uneasy alliance: they’ll take him off world if he helps them find the secret maguffin.
It’s a tense, quiet conversation in an issue that has had three action heavy strips before it, and is all the more subtle and better for it. Culbard’s art is brilliant as usual, especially the opening image of the giant four-faced child’s head where the city’s rulers live; it’s a cool metaphor or something, but I’m too tired to work it out. Wren also shows an actual bit of character and motivation this strip, actively confronting a problem, rather than just reacting to events or being talked at by other characters. The writing and art is top-notch.
The Simping Detective: Jokers to the Right, part seven
Script: Simon Spurrier, Art: Simon Coleby
Jack’s at his lowest point. Mind-washed by the Simpologists and about to be executed by a Black Ops judge, it takes the warm words of a woman who loves him (and the thought of her “chesticles”) help Jack to finally fight back.
Jack also discovers something potentially disastrous for the Judges: the sleep machines used by Archmime Turner to brainwash members of the Church have been distributed to Sector Houses (Judge stations) across the Meg. Jack has a tough decision to make at the end of the strip, but it seems his part in the final fight to save the Meg will be an important one.
Strip of the Week!
With Bachmann’s coup d’état, Overdrive’s city-sized warship and Turner’s brainwashed troops, things are not looking good for the Meg... but great for us readers. As usual the writing and art has been great across the strip. But the highlight of the strip this week has to be, once again, Low Life. The image of a pudgy old man in his pants acting like the hero of an action-movie is just perfect, and the strip is a joy to read. However, it was a close call this week, with ABC Warriors coming close to claiming the title. The mix of humour and tension was masterfully done by Mills and Langley, and actually connected with me this week.
Luke Graham is a writer and graduate. If you enjoyed this review, follow him @LukeWGraham and check out his blog here.