As usual I’ll start with the admission that I am aware that as a sometime contributor to Zarjaz and Dogbreath I probably shouldn’t comment on the work of my nerdy peers. Mainly as I’ll get shit in the bar next comic con.
But sod it. Reading this with my 2000AD fanboy hat on. Am hopefully getting a few more reviews to post as well.
Cover – Ben Willsher. Awesome. He gets enough fluffing on this site though, lets move on to the small pressers.
All that I have – Script Shaun Avery. Art David Broughton. Letters Bolt-01
Alpha tracks down a fellow mutant who is on a tragic killing spree. Nicely done story that gets a lot of detail and character moments in 6 pages without feeling rushed or crammed at all.
Artwork all really nicely done, especially one beautiful panel showing how a person can be totally alone in a crowded room. Really nice bit of storytelling. Enjoyed Alpha’s scene with the killers mother too.
One small nitpick would be one panel where a character is obviously supposed to be giving some dialogue then getting shot, but to me it felt the other way around. Felt like it should have been split over two panels.
Good opener though which manages to make you feel sorry for the bad guy whilst still wanting Alpha to take him out.
Apocalypse Then – Cool prose story by Richmond Clements with spot art by Bolt-01
Special – Script Kehaar. Art Stevie Denyer. Letters Bolt-01
A small frontier town comes under attack and is protected by an unusual hero. Probably my pick of the issue. Nice spin on the usual “Gang ride into town to raise some hell” western theme with lots of really cool weird little details to remind us this is Strontium Dog not an average cowboy story. Can tell this is written by a wargaming enthusiast as it’s all about the planning and strategy and manages to catch you out by not starring the main character you initially think it does. Great art too which really gives the town some weight and realism. Were I a teenager I would say “respect” … but I’m not so I wont.
Next there’s a review of a ten part Stront story from 1987 written by Leigh Shepherd.
Durham Red – Neon Nights – Script Lee Robson. Art and Letters Bolt-01
Red goes up against a mark who can mind control her and has an internal struggle due to the fact the things she’s being forced to do are the things she has to fight against doing anyway.
This one may have suffered from being told in such a short space as the “I’m mind controlled… now I’m not” was all a bit quick especially as she never actually crossed the line into doing something she didn’t want to. They say the city has a “psychic sheath” which is how the mind control had less of a hold, but still, surely the psychic would have known that so it’s addition feels a bit like a cop out.
Some really nice art touches though especially when Red is getting taken over and theres a really cool split head shot. Good fight scene at the end too.
Following that there’s a gorgeous Star Scan from Graham Neil Reid.
Malak’s Brood – Script Shaun Avery. Art John Hutcheson. Letters Bolt-01
Alpha hunts down Malak Brood and his new cult of followers. Well told story with some really nice b&w artwork that has a real old school look to it. Good character work too making it feel well acted… if that makes sense.
Nitpicks? Well the tide turn at the end felt a little too easy to accomplish but that’ll be more down to the space limitations than anything else. Good strip.
Maeve the Many Armed – Another prose from Mr Clements with spot art from Nigel Dobbyn
The Gilpin Extraction – Script Richmond Clements. Art & letters Bruce McLaren
Alpha is seemingly captured but.. well, he’s Alpha. Full story told in three pages and I had to go back and recount as I thought it HAD to have been more. Really nice work. Doesn’t mess about or waste a single panel, just gets the story across. A comic book punch to the face. Result! Great artwork too especially the opening establishing shot. Shows how good this edition is that this was only my second favourite.
Overall a really strong issue with lots of up and coming talent on show. More please.