A return to form for Dredd and Button Man IV, a great send off for A.B.C. Warriors, but the worst was left til last for Stone Island…
Cover: Disappointing. Mek-Quake is a peculiar-looking robot and drawn from this angle just looks rubbish. Clint Langley can’t seem to decide whether to give him a neck backed with hydraulics, as here, or a Bisley-esque snake-like one, as in the strip inside. The guns firing just look like particularly bright torches.
To top it off, the quote from Death Ray magazine (“A very well presented, well-balanced modern comic”) sounds about as inspiring as Iain Duncan Smith. Overall, not great. Still I bought it anyway.
Judge Dredd: Mandroid – Instrument of War, Part 5. Dredd’s back in his own strip, which is always good. Slaugherhouse despatches Freetown swiftly and returns to find his wife has had the slave-chip in her brain removed.
Still no more information on the motivations behind the Old Man, and Carl Critchlow’s art looks quite rushed in places, but generally the mix of action and plot development is good after a couple of relatively inert weeks.
Stone Island: The Harrowers, Part 10. A double length finale. In brief: magic snow (yes, magic snow) appears and wipes out the baddies, David Sorrell pops up and explains everything and all the humans go home.
A very poor conclusion to what is one of the worst strips to appear in the GGC for years. It doesn’t even make sense. First of all, how does this magic snow tell the difference between the aliens and the humans and warped, alien-like humans? Secondly, if David Sorrell’s became this angelic being when the aliens took over his body before the start of the first Stone Island series, how come he seems to know Harry and Sara? He can’t have ever met them? Thirdly, if the pocket universe was designed by the Great Old Ones to be impossible to escape physically, how come that is more or less exactly what the aliens end up doing in book one? And if they didn’t, how come the humans could come back through the same dimensional gateway physically?
Overall, this strip has been so exposition heavy that JK Rowling might have written it. The “witty” banter became quite irritating quite early on and it has ended up becoming little more than an opportunity for Simon Davies to draw penises (Sorrell is semi-erect – but within BBFC guidelines – throughout this episode for reasons that are not explained). This is particularly disappointing coming from Ian Edginton, given he has the talent for so much more.
A.B.C. Warriors: The Volgan War V.2 E.10. Volkhan makes his break for freedom, assisted by Mek Quake. Meanwhile, the Warriors arrive in Marineris City where it emerges they need to free Zippo from prison.
A fairly perfunctory final part, but the asylum break scenes are effective and it gives you a taste of things to come. As with earlier episodes, Clint Langley barely draws Steelhorn, suggesting he hasn’t go an angle on him yet. One gets the feeling that he will be a pivotal part of the third volume as we will be getting his backstory. Unlike the other Warriors, we know very little about him in that he was turned into mush in the very first episode he appeared in and he hasn’t really been explored as a character since. Since the character returned in 2000, he’s always been an expository device more than anything else. Apart from this one more flashback, the next volume should also finally be an opportunity to get on with the main story.
Regardless of my misgivings about Clint Langley’s art, I’ve enjoyed this series which has been brimming with ideas. Looking forward to volume 3.
Button Man: Book IV – The Hitman’s Daughter. Harry’s back, and back in the game. Lots of running around and shooting this week, juxtaposed by Harry talking with his Voice in a pub garden. We still haven’t seen how his story will intertwine with Adele’s, but I’m quite enjoying this slow burn. And Fraser Irving continues to surprise and impress.
Next week: Dredd gets closer to tracking down Slaughterhouse, ‘revelations’ in Button Man IV and… who knows?