An awesome cover by the masterful pencil/ ink/ brush strokes of Leigh Gallagher. The contrast between the white background and the image in the foreground is visually striking. And the image of Defoe and his ‘dirtye dozenne’ in the silhouette is also superb. Add to that a nice sky blue colour font for the title and we have a cover which is truly outstanding. Leigh’s fascinating process in creating the cover can be seen in his blog:
Judge Dredd – Skulls
This one parter was a welcome change after the last six part story (which was very good too by the way but I felt it went on for possibly one episode too many). The story opens with one hell of an explosion, with really gruesome results (not to mention very shocking aswell). That could easily have been Dredd and the opening monologue alludes to the fact that the city will eventually get you. Bug Boyz, or Judge Killers are on the rampage, notching up kills and trying to yield the contents of a safe at the same time. And soon Dredd has an SJS member – Gerhart – by his side for back up. But it seems the two of them have some past history.
I really enjoyed this story. Rob Williams script was really enjoyable and Trevor Hairsine’s artwork was outstanding. I’m aware that this is Hairsine’s first work on Dredd after a very long ‘Terrence Malick-esque’ hiatus, 15 years as the mighty Tharg informs us, but on this evidence I wish we could see more from him.
Cadet Anderson – One In Ten Part Four
We finally get to learn what ‘One in ten’ actually means. And we get an example of this when it happens to someone close to Cassandra herself. I thought that was a really strong and affecting moment in the story. As I was hoping in my review for last weeks prog, the story definitely does pick up here. Carlos Ezquerra’s artwork is great, I especially love how he renders the disturbing nightmare episode in the opening.
Defoe – The Damned Part One
Great to see the return of Defoe – not to mention Pat Mills (whom we last saw in Savage), and of course, the great Leigh Gallagher! And what a treat this opening episode was too! The opening double page spread just left me speechless….it was absolutely fantasmagoric, no other word for it! The sense of perspective, the black line work, the meticulous detailing, everything just comes together to give a truly divine piece of work. And the rest of the artwork is also superb, in particular the flashback scene. Defoe’s past is alluded to throughout the first and second series (I haven’t read the third or fourth series – the whole ‘Queen of the Zombies’ arc yet, but i’m assuming we also get hints in that too). And for the first time we are beginning to see the true extent of the tragedy which greeted our protagonist. That whole well scene was very eerie and atmospheric, thanks again to Gallagher’s superior inkmanship. On this evidence I cannot wait for the next episode and see what horror unfolds for Titus. Thrilling stuff.
Sinister Dexter – In Plain Shite Part One
So we have another little arc starting with this episode ( which is basically a continuation of the preceding story). Some nice ‘first person’ monologuing from Finny in the opening, before our anti-hero cooks up a plan to escape from Generica, with help from one time foe Frontal. Again this was an enjoyable episode, awash with Dan Abnett’s witty scripting and John Burns’ mesmerising artwork. There seems to be two different style in the strip; the painted panels such as the first page and the more line work orientated in the following page. I must say both techniques are a joy to behold.
Terror Tales – The Death Magnetic
We have David Baillie (The Ghostship Mathematica) back again for this Terror Tale. I felt I had seen this somewhere before via the Japanese horror film Ringu and its Hollywood adaptions, nonetheless that did not stop me deriving enjoyment from it. It was quite creepy, with the whole Alistair Crowley/ black magic angle adding some macabre feel to it (I wonder if that whole trapping the soul thing is true? I’ll have to look it up!). The artwork by Will Morris (this being my first introduction to his work) was excellent.
So all in all, a damn good Prog. Some superb stuff in this weeks instalment, Judge Dredd, Defoe and Sinister Dexter being the standout for me. Oh and I can’t wait for next weeks new Dredd story which, If I’m not mistaken, is the first time we will see John Wagner writing Dredd for the Prog, after Day of Chaos. Can’t wait!