Review by Pete Wells
Kicking off, the cover by Ben Wilsonham is simply glorious! Almost a self contained Future Shock in itself, it’s clever, professional, eye-catching and chilling. I’d probably pick up the book on the strength of the cover.
Intro – We get a sexy picture of editor Owen Watts. I’ve always quite fancied him, especially after a few drinks. I like to picture him as a sexy librarian who’s going to take off his specs, shake his hair free, then punish me for the late return of a Photography Book with stuck together pages in the nudes section. A quick fumble then I’m ready to read…
Baba to the Future – this mad as a bottle of chips opener certainly adheres to the ‘Psychedelic’ theme of the comic. A trippy tale of mushrooms, peace signs, aliens, witches, gobbledegook and spunk (though I think the latter may be mine.) I must say, this one had me scratching my head which had me wondering if I was going to really enjoy the rest of the book. The Bagge-esque art by L.M. Byrne is absolutely mental with fine panel layouts, but to be honest, this style of strip isn’t my cup of ‘herbal’ tea…
The Clockwork Queen – smashing art by Dave Thompson and a gripping little four page story with a double twist by Adams. I really enjoyed this ‘un, it was a bit more contemporary than the opener which shows just what a boring square I am.
The Grandfather Paradox – your everyday tale of time travelling mice. Another confusing one for me I’m afraid, I followed it until the last page where the cautionary tale of the dangers of time travel were undone by the dangers of a story being read by someone as thick as mince.
Is It Safe To Go Back? – A lovely tale of Lucid Dreaming which brings a fresh perspective on the ‘Travel’ theme of the mag. Really nice art by Stephen Austin which brings to life a delicious concept by Arran Frood. I really liked the mixture of emotions that the ending gave me.
The Legend of the Robot Man – a hoot! This tale of a robotic saviour and an unreliable time travelling device made me laugh despite myself. Great script and unconventional art made this a stand out strip for me…
The Life of Private James Munroe – a heartbreaking, thought provoking story with masterful art by Connor Boyle. I must admit it took a couple of reads of this one to become clear, but when it did, it was worth it. On a side note, the object on the fourth panel on page two looks like a pair of balls.
Long Live the Leader – A nice little burst of sci-fi. Nothing startlingly new here but a well told three pager in both script and art.
The Royal Chronometrical Society – Loved this one. The story tells of an engineer who shapes and controls time periods, but who can he be? I really liked the art style, it really reminded me of Dean Ormstron’s work in the Megazine.
Out of Time – A very clever tale with striking art. Unfortunately, this was another that had me onboard until the last half page where the twist was lost on me, sorry!
Stand and Relieve Her – A fun, nostalgia ridden assassination of the fad-filled, Tory dominated 1980s. A clever little script that had me smiling throughout and glorious art make this another stand out tale.
A Taste of Extinction – the plot and subsequent twist is kinda given away in the title… and erm, 2000AD’s is Flesh really. Not bad by any means, and again, the art in this is tops, but the story is hardly original.
Who Killed Judy Baker? – An uneasy story of a father going back in time to witness his young daughter’s death, was it an accident or murder? Well told and well illustrated, this really left a mark on me.
Why Hasn’t Anyone Killed Hitler – It wouldn’t be a time travel book without a story about Hitler. Thankfully, this one brilliantly embraces this well trodden trope and is really, really funny. The highlight of the book for me (‘cept for the picture of Owen at the start.)
Transition Lenses – A nice little romp at the end with typically fab art by Dunk Nimmo.
In general, I enjoyed this impressive fanzine which is rare as, to be honest, I tend to avoid most non-2000AD based small press like the plague. As we 2000AD readers know so well, the joy of an anthology is that if one story isn’t to your taste, the next one may well be. This was certainly true with here and I’m sure the tales that didn’t excite me will certainly be the favourites of other readers.
The range of subject matter in the stories is wonderfully eclectic, from hard sci-fi to historical drama, from horror to all out comedy, there is something for everyone. If I were to nit-pick, I’d say that at times the complexity of the subject matter in three or four page stories is simply too much, leading to confusion for an idiotic reader such as myself. Also, the lettering in one or two strips was less than outstanding. However the range of art styles on show is fascinating; the art is never less than competent and at times is downright impressive.