Cover: A simple yet impactful shot of a hand holding a gun against a blood soaked background. Once again Frazer Irving shows off his sense of design.
Quote of the Week:
The Voice: Harry, listen, it wasn’t my fault. They forced it on me. I was very … content with our arrangement.
Harry: I’m glad to hear that, Steve. I thought it was something like that. Fair enough, no hard feelings then.
The Voice: You-you mean it?
Harry: Sure, am I the kind of man to bear grudges? Oh, by the way, I dropped by your house this morning and strangled your wife.
– Button Man
Judge Dredd: Mandroid – Instrument of War part 12. On learning that he has been betrayed all along, Slaughterhouse kills General Vincent before blowing himself up.
Bit of an anti-climax here (but then, that’s John Wagner for you). Vincent’s death is satisfyingly brutal and over the top enough, but Slaughterhouse’s lacks a certain poignancy. Possibly it’s the way Critchlow has drawn it with him pointing a bunch of missiles at his head – I’m afraid it looks slightly ridiculous.
The real kicker though is the little twist at the end. Dredd, as you will recall, has been giving Wittle a hard time for letting Slaughterhouse escape in the first place. But it is Wittle who gets the last word in. We are invited to consider that “in the old days” Dredd should have just blown the mandroid away in the first place. “If you ask me, the old man’s going soft…”
Of course this leads directly into the ongoing metaplot about Dredd’s “doubts” and, specifically, Fargo’s deathbed pronouncement that the system has failed and needs to be overturned in Origins. Add to this the fact that the degree to which Vincent’s conspiracy has infiltrated the judges has still not been fully explored, and it looks as if this isn’t over by a long shot.
Time Twisters: Back to the Fuhrer. Hitler uses a time machine to flee Berlin in 1945 only to find he has arrived in the past somewhat earlier than planned…
A fun story from Michael Carroll with a great punchline at the end. Two things: firstly, the time machine appears to be made out of that Supermag stuff kids play with instead of Lego these days. Secondly, the scientist responsible for the time machine appears to be Albert Einstein – something which, given his Jewishness, ranks as a WTF?
Bob Byrne’s Twisted Tales: Tale #5. A redneck has an encounter with a space alien and ends up coming a cropper.
Another fun wordless tale from Mr Byrne. I like the way he ends up weaving quite complex narratives into a six page strip. This one was slightly above par in my opinion.
Button Man: Book IV – the Hitman’s Daughter part 16. The climax in which… nobody dies! Well, not quite.
Another slight anti-climax from John Wagner, but this one is more satisfying. Instead of the brutal execution of the Voices that I was expecting, the strip takes an entirely different turn. Adele doesn’t kill her uncle. Harry doesn’t kill the Voice who betrayed him. Instead, Harry persuades her to simply run away and let go of the revenge that is in danger of destroying her before vanishing himself.
The short scene where Harry fools his Voice, a high court judge, into thinking his wife’s been murdered is surprisingly touching. Wagner’s strength of character is such that I have to admit that I assumed Harry was telling the truth – it’s the sort of thing he’d have done in the previous Button Man stories.
Where does the strip go from here? Hopefully nowhere as I think they’ve covered the murder-for-sport idea from all possible angles now. Overall, I thought that Book III was stronger story wise (admittedly despite not having read it in seven years). I also felt that Irving’s art looks a bit rushed in the last few episodes.
Nonetheless, this has been a strong strip throughout its run and hasn’t outstayed its welcome. Definitely one of the highlights of 2007.
The Red Seas: War Stories part 5. Nazi robots and the evil wizard get wiped out by a kid waving a staff around.
This strip has only ever served as an interlude. As such, the ending seems more like a new beginning with our heroes walking off into the proverbial sunset (sunrise technically, but who’s paying attention?).
As I predicted a couple of weeks ago, it is revealed that Jack Dancer is still alive and we can surely expect a new series before too long.
The Underworld/Hollow Land epic outstayed its welcome and I was a little doubtful that this strip had anywhere more to go. But this short story has reinvigorated my enthusiasm for it.
Next Week: Prog 2008 and I begin my reviews of the Megazine with its respective Christmas special (see preview). Plus, my review of the year.
Oh, and a bit of news to wrap things up: starting from next issue, 2000AD goes digital (and thus global). Paper is so last century.