With this week’s prog 1934 bringing a selection of new stories, I thought I’d look back at the last few month’s highlights.
JUDGE DREDD – ENCELADUS: NEW LIFE (prog 1924-1928)
SCRIPT – ROB WILLIAMS
ART – HENRY FLINT
This sequel to last year’s rather enjoyable ‘TITAN’, also by Williams and Flint, picks up the story of the rogue ex-judges who escaped from the penal colony on Titan. Jumping back and forward in time (a little confusingly at first, it must be said) we learn that the escapees have landed on Enceladus, which very possibly is the one place worse that Titan. Meanwhile, back in Mega-City One, Dredd appears to be suffering from PTSD after his ordeal on Titan. Then the story ends, really rather abruptly.
I was expecting another epic like Titan, but rather surprisingly, Enceladus appears to be the set-up for a latter epic. What we did get was good though, especially Flint’s art, which I feel gets better with each page – for my money when it comes to the more epic, action-packed Dredd stories he’s currently the best there is.
JUDGE DREDD – BREAKING BUD (prog 1929-1933)
SCRIPT – JOHN WAGNER
ART – RICHARD ELSON
A lot less serious than Enceladus is Breaking Bud, a sequel of sorts to ‘Dead Zone’, a story that ran recently in the Judge Dredd Megazine. In the story, Dredd and the Justice Department got their hands on some rather advanced future technology, which is stolen by the titular Bud, a citizen who’s having a rather crappy time. Lighter in tone than similar stories, such as the dark ‘Mandroid’, this is an enjoyable enough romp, but nothing special.
ORLOCK, AGENT OF EAST-MEG ONE – THE RASPUTIN CAPER
SCRIPT – ARTHUR WYATT
ART – JAKE LYNCH
Orlock returns in a story that finds him in Oz, trying to find an artist with pre-cognitive abilities. Unlike earlier Orlock stories, this one is played more for laughs, with Orlock up against every Australian cliché, stereotype, and thinly-veiled cultural icon you can think of. Which is kind of a shame as, although the story is enjoyable, playing the premier assassin of a future cold war for laughs doesn’t really work for me. It’s also a shame as there are some nice moments here, especially the foreshadowing (chronologically-speaking that is) of Judge Giant’s death and the fate of East-Meg One during the Apocalypse War.
STRONTIUM DOG – THE STIX FIX
SCRIPT – JOHN WAGNER
ART – CARLOS EZQUERRA
Having missed Johnny Alpha’s return from the grave a few years back, I have avoided his most recent stories (until I catch up) as they have all been connected to his return. Here though, with the multi-part return now over, we have a relatively straight forward strip, with Alpha hired to find the leader of North Korea, who has been kidnapped by old enemies, the Stix, in order to avoid a potential world war. Wagner falls back on funny accents and silly names for most of the humour, which feels a little dated in 2015. Neither Wagner nor Ezquerra are on their best form here and overall the story does not rank as a great Strontium Dog tale, but it is still pretty fun.