Interesting editorial by The Mighty One kicks off this issue, as reference is made to the negative reaction from readers on 2000AD’s Valkyries series. For those not in the know, this Steve Moore/John Lucas series deals with a SF matriarchal society, where the women spend most of their time wandering around in the nude, having sex with each other. OK, bit of an unfair description, but that is exactly how the series come across, and exactly what most readers are having problems with. There’s no disgrace in having nudity in a comic, where such nudity is justified. The content of the Valkyries strip [sic] in my opinion is there purely to titillate, it’s not there for any valid artistic reason, and this is why people are complaining – they are being used, they are being spoken down to, they are being treated like hormone-ravaged teens. Fortunately this issue sees the last part of that series, and I doubt it will be returning anytime soon.
Despite the presence of lacklustre strip, this issue kicks off on a high with Judge Dredd: Gulag, Part One by Gordon Rennie and Charlie Adlard. You can tell it’s Adlard from the first page, and Rennie turns in possibly his best Dredd hook ever, as evidence turns up that the Sovs are still running Prisoner of War Camps in their territory, after supposedly releasing all prisoners several years ago. The Heads of Departments of the Judges are almost unanimously against the idea of an armed incursion into Sov territory to find out what is really going on – after all, such a move could easily provoke another war, and this time Mega-City One would be the invading force – Dredd, of course, wants to take a crack team in, hit hard, hit fast, then get the hell out of there. Great setup, looking forward to future episodes.
Sinister Dexter: Just Business, Part Three of Three wraps up the story of the neophyte hitman in surprising style – he’s given a choice, kill your (intended) casual sex partner or forget becoming a hitman…hopefully repercussions from this will be felt in future storylines. Good ending by Abnett and Clarke.
Rennie returns, this time with PJ Holden, on part three of Rogue Trooper: Realpolitik, and it feels like a filler episode really, as little headway is made in Rogue’s mission to kill the Nort War Marshal. He meets a contact willing to help him, whilst some high ranking Nort Kapten finds evidence of treachery … we readers knew all this already, of course, so the plot only really advances for the characters, not for us. Nice detailed backgrounds by Holden, especially the opening establishing shot, must’ve taken quite a bit of work for a throwaway scene setter, good stuff.
The new strip this time is Durham Red: The Empty Suns: Book II: Part I by Abnett and Harrison; it’s continuing the future adventures of the mutant vampire against someone call Offspring, another mutant. Humans have been wiped out, and the problem is we don’t really care whether Durham Red kills the guy or not, it doesn’t matter, we’ve no vested interest in it. A nice touch parodies Marvel’s Sentinels killing mutants – in this reality they are just killing the weak mutants with crap powers to weed them out, and ensure that only the stronger mutant genes procreate.
Overall, an improvement on last time thanks almost entirely to Dredd; if you like Durham Red feel free to add an extra half-mark.
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