2 out of 5
A pause in the normal monthly packs to make way for the holiday issue; the brevity of only getting a couples issues together plus a combination of a particularly boring batch of stories…
Going backwards, Defoe’s recent adventures conclude with two extra-sized additions. While the “reek” infested nastiness as depicted by Leigh Gallagher and the oddball steampunkish superhero setting really made this seem like a world worth investigating, I really have to say I had no clue what the hell was going on half the time, and needed the beginning issue recap. Even here, at the conclusion, the story still seems to jump around rather ridiculously. I didn’t know if I was coming or going reading this.
Brass Sun concluded with, as usual, a whimper, and a poor reason to continue the story – more hunters! Edginton took the build-up of the past few progs and let it peter out. The ending isn’t illogical, I suppose I just felt like we were going to build up to something more definitive. Silly me.
Bad Company waves its story wand and The Enemy Is Us! …Which is about in line with the expected heartless-Kano “twist” of the original Bad Company. (Spoiler?) BC is some cool visuals – not as cool as the original Ewins / McCarthy team-up, I’m sorry to say to Mr. Rufus Dayglo – and a pretty standard story.
David Baillie also gives us a short terror tale about a priest and exorcism which proves Bailie to be the champ of good ideas without any ideas as to how to pace them.
So really, the only strip really worth reading here (by my opinion, of course, of course) is Wagner’s The Beating, which, though it concludes sort of along the lines of how we figured it must’ve, has Dredd playing things super close to the vest in a compelling way. This could have been a longer serial, but it also works fine at 3 parts. I doubt it will have lasting effects, but it would be cool if it did, as Dredd essentially sacrifices his public face to do some good ol’ justice. This would be Dredd business as usual, except it seems like only we (the readers) and a select few others – not including the chief judge – know what’s actually going on, which is a pretty interesting move 30 years or whatever down the line. Wagner: writing Dredd all this time and still able to write a wrench into things.