Tooth Review: 1556 & 1557 (obligatory spoiler warning)

A double helping this week due to illness and the conference season.

Prog 1556Cover (1556): A fantastic black, white and pink affair by Frazer Irving of the Hitman’s Daughter. The juxtaposition between the grown up assassin and the frightened child she used to be adds a level of poinancy to the image which might otherwise appear too stylised.

Prog 1557Cover (1557): Dredd, old school style, courtesy of Keeper of the Flame Rufus Dayglo (2000AD was 2.0 before 2.0 was invented – the fans have been the content generators for some time now). An eye-catching image with a slogan with an obvious-but-fun Star Wars reference.

Judge Dredd: Mandroid: Instrument of War parts 2 and 3. Nate Slaughterhouse escapes from prison with the aide of the mysterious General Vincent, who agrees to rebuild him. It remains unclear what price Nate will end up paying. Carl Critchlow takes over from Simon Coleby on the art chores from episode 3 which is a bit annoying as I always prefer strips to be drawn by one artist, but that’s no reflection on Critchlow’s style. Overall, this strip remains in the ‘wait and see’ category.

Stone Island: The Harrowers, parts 7 and 8. The aliens attack, more people die, aliens get blown up. I’m passed caring really.

A.B.C. Warriors: The Volgan War, V.2, E.7 & 8. Deadlock hunts down and destroys Volkhan’s “son” (a robot made by a robot, reminiscent of Mills’ seminal Metalzoic. Plus, is the name Kal a reference to Superman?), while reciting O Fortuna. He then goes on to defeat Volkhan as well.

It all seems to happen a bit quickly and easily. Again, the art looks gorgeous, but I can’t help but wonder what a more dynamic artist like Henry Flint might have made of it: all the angles are terribly conventional and the ultra-realism of Clint Langley makes Deadlock’s bike look impractical rather than kewl.

Caballistics, Inc.: Ashes parts 6 and 7. Once again, I get the sense that I really should have studied harder before reading this latest series. Caballistics has a rich backstory, but it has been told sporadically over several years now with very little in the way of a recap. So, instead of this latest story feeling like the culmination that I’m sure it is, I keep being distracted by wondering how much of it is new information and how much has already been revealed. Ethan Kostabi is an angel?! Solomon Ravne is a golum!? Kostabi made Ravne?! Much of this seems familiar, but a recap at the beginning would have been very helpful.

I still love it though. Kostabi and Ravne have a confrontartion in Spitalfields in part 6, while in part 7 they put their respective things in order (in short, they kill people) before the expected showdown in part 8. It all plods along quite nicely, but I’m expecting a twist somewhere.

Button Man: Book 4, The Hitman’s Daughter parts 6 and 7. In part 6, we learn a bit more about Adele’s past as it emerges her uncle Max sent her to ninja school (as you do). Back in the present, Adele tracks down the Voice who ordered her father’s death. In part 7, Adele decides against killing the Voice and has a confrontation with her uncle Max. But her decision to not kill the Voice has severe repercussions as her aunt is attacked in her home.

Not much to say here that I haven’t said several times already. Frazer Irving’s ability to weave several different narratives together continues to impress. Adele’s story and Harry’s story have yet to converge but it is clear they will, and having two lead characters gives the strip a richness that takes this beyond the more predictable Kill Bill territory. Great stuff.

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