Another look at Dogbreath 27, this time from Luke Foster… who STILL hasn’t submitted them a story despite having written his own comics for years. No pressure though Luke. No pressure. Anyway, on to his review :
This was my first time reading this “Strontium Dog” fanzine, and I have to say I was pretty impressed with the quality. Everyone involved clearly loves the source material, and it shows. To break it down, section by section:
Cover, by Ben Willsher: an awesome wraparound of Johnny Alpha blowing away a mutant troublemaker. The linework and coloring work well together and create a nice piece of art.
All I Have, by Shaun Avery and David Broughton: Johnny has to take down a mutant who’s gone on a killing spree after hearing a song that triggers a bad memory. A well-done story, with a villain you can’t help but sympathize with even as he’s killing people. The art was solid for the most part, but there were a few spots (the last panel on page five and the second-to-last panel on page six) where too much was happening simultaneously. Both would have benefited from being broken down into multiple panels
Apocalypse Then, by Richmond Clements and Bolt-01: A Vietnam veteran tells a mysterious man named Johnny about the time he fought monsters during the war. One of two prose stories in the issue, this was probably my favorite story in the whole book. It was cleverly constructed, and even though it was nothing but dialogue from the veteran’s point of view, you always knew exactly what the two of them were talking about. The spot illustrations were a nice accompaniment, embellishing the story without being distracting.
Special, by Kehaar and Stevie Denyer: A Strontium Dog saves his adopted town from a band of marauders. A fairly straightforward yet fun piece. Like Rich said in his review, it’s clear Kehaar loves wargaming, and his story read like what I imagine a Warhammer 40,000/western film would be like. The art is beautiful and clearly done, and Denyer is able to draw machines and living creatures equally well, which is easier said than done.
Casefiles – the Rammy, by Leigh Shepherd: A review of “The Rammy,” a classic Strontium Dog story from progs 554-553.
Neon Nights, by Lee Robson and Bolt-01: Durham Red hunts a mind-controlling mutant, who tries to force Red to go on a killing spree to distract the cops and let the villains make their escape. Another solid story that felt like a classic Durham Red tale, as she tries to keep herself from giving in to her vampiric urges. The story could have been a little bit clearer at the beginning, since it wasn’t obvious who was doing the voiceovers, and, in panel two, if it was Red flashing back to her own past, or the mind-controller thinking about Red. The art was good overall. I had one or two small quibbles, but overall it did the story justice.
Starscan – Johnny Alpha, by Graham Neil Reid: This is an excellent pinup piece.
Malak’s Brood, by Shaun Avery and John Hutcheson: Johnny Alpha hunts down a cult of Malak Brood worshippers. This was another favorite of mine, with a clever story and amazing art that looks like it came from the best of classic 2000AD. This was actually my pick for favorite artwork. It had great linework and shading, was very atmospheric, and did a good job differentiating between flashback and present day.
Maeve the Many-Armed – One-woman Army, by Richmond Clements and Nigel Dobbyn: Maeve the Many-Armed and Kid Knee team up to take down a bounty. Clements’ second prose story in this magazine was very different from his first one, much more comedic but still very enjoyable. The super-competent Maeve was a great counter to Kid Knee, who reached new levels of ridiculousness in this story. Dobbyn’s spot artwork in this one was also a great complement to the story, especially the drawings of Knee in his “disguise.”
The Gilpin Extraction, by Richmond Clements and Bruce McLaren: Johnny and Wulf are captured by a torturer while hunting him for his bounty. Clements wraps up the issue and finishes his trifecta (no pun intended, 2000AD fans) of stories with his first comic. This was a clever one with a nice little twist at the end. I also liked McLaren’s artwork, and you can clearly see the Ezquerra influences in his linework. My only minor critique with this story is Johnny is abruptly put in the torture chair in panel five of page two that I had to reread the page and realize the villains actually had him at gunpoint. Having Johnny in that panel, or having a transition panel between the two, might have helped. Other than that, it was a solid story overall.
As well as helping us out, Luke also does daily webcomics. Check them out at the links below