Tooth Review: 1553 (obligatory spoiler warning)

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Prog 1553Spoilers below…

Cover: A Hellraiser-esque image of “Sorrell” (what’s left of him) from Stone Island by Simon Davies. Eye catching and I like the touch of incorporating the logo into the wires surrounding the body.

Judge Dredd: Trial By Dury Part 2. A few good jokes based on misunderstanding the judicial system and a predictably bloody conclusion. Suffers from the problem common with most two parters of this type: once the basic premise has been set up, there isn’t really anywhere else for the story to go. In retrospect this would have been better as a one-off.

Stone Island: The Harrowers Part 4. Far too plodding for my liking. It shouldn’t have taken us four episodes to get to this stage, where our heroes finally enter the baddies hell-world. It seems clear that Sorrell, the main character in the first series who turned out to be a monster, will be making something of a comeback at some point (the fact that his corpse is currently being used as a dimensional portal is, I’m sure, a mere technicality).

On the plus side, the final page was fun, and the understated “oh bugger…” a nice touch.

A.B.C. Warriors: The Volgan War V.2 E.4. Again, the photoshopped people ruin the art for me here. The comedy elements however do make up for it. The premise that Blackblood thinks he is getting closer to a grand conspiracy organised by a certain “General Public” is executed rather better here than in episode 2. Pat Mills has always had fun when writing robots and their failure to comprehend things that humans take for granted (given that the main protagonists here are meant to be speaking Russian, it is a moot point whether the gag would be lost in translation, but there you go). On the negative side, this episode tells us nothing that we don’t already know.

Caballistics, Inc.: Ashes Part 3. Okay, it looks like I was wrong about Dali, as this whole episode takes place outside the gallery. For shame. Magister is a great villain though – it turns out his decimation of Glasgow is entirely due to settling a score with one of his prison guards. If he is despatched rather too easily at the end, it is at least credible and, as it turns out, takes the plot in a new and interesting direction.

Button Man: Book Four, The Hitman’s Daughter, Part 3. Wagner and Irving continue to experiment with the narrative structure, with this episode combining Adele’s interrogation of one of her father’s killers with a scene immediately afterwards when she rather less brutally interrogates her nan over a cuppa. In case that wasn’t enough, they then throw in a couple of flashbacks for good measure. So, points for experimentation, and points for managing to continue to combine exposition with action. In fact, despite its real world setting and the aforementioned fact that much of it revolves around two women sitting in a lounge drinking tea, it manages to be the most action packed of all the stories in this week’s comic. Kudos to John Wagner. Frazer Irving’s art is also the strongest: he too is showing here a willingness to experiment. It’s barely recognisable compared to his early work like Necronauts and while he seems to be painting in oils with the Simping Detective, here he appears to be using watercolours (of course, that might just be different Photoshop filters – what do I know?).

Next week: Dredd takes a “test flight”, The Harrowers continue their mission in Stone Island, Blackblood and Lara go head-to-head in A.B.C. Warriors, Caballistics, Inc see what they can do with a pet psychic and the return of Harry Ex. In the meantime, a message from our sponsors.

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