Review by Eamonn Clarke
This collection from IDW has been out for some time but it was on special offer in Forbidden Planet so I caved in. Turns out there might be a good reason for the reduced price but I’ll get to that in a moment. This features stories written by John Wagner and Alan Grant that date all the way back to the Bank Raid story that was supposed to run in the first Progs. It goes on to include a number of classic stories including Fungus, Destiny’s Angels, the Starborn Thing and some other stories from around the Apocalypse War.
Good stuff first: this is presented in the same large format hardback binding as the splendid IDW Apocalypse War reprint . The artwork is reprinted at a slightly larger side than in the original Progs, and of course the stories from that golden age of 2000AD are great, but that’s about it for the plus points.
Unlike the beautifully coloured Apocalpyse War collection this is a black and white book and there have clearly been some issues with the reproduction of some pages. This is most notable on the first two pages of each story chapter, the pages that usually got the full colour centre spread back then in the Prog. Here they appear in monochrome with large chunks of the pages just reduced to heavy blocks of black with no detailing visible. It looks exactly like the result you get if you run a coloured comic page through a slightly dodgy photocopier. Other pages are also spoiled by odd splashes of black that didn’t appear in the original comics.
Clearly there has been a problem with the reproduction. I don’t know if IDW were able to work from the original plates or if they just had scans of the Progs, but somehow this has been allowed to slip through without the editors knowing (or caring). And I don’t have a one off dodgy copy, the reviews on Amazon mention the same problems.
The last story in the book is The Man Who Knew too Much from 1985 and here IDW has dropped the ball again and managed to miss out the last two pages of the story completely. Extra features include some classic Carlos covers printed in black and white apart from a couple of more recent covers which are in colour.
This was a major disappointment from IDW. I know it was one of their earliest releases of collected 2000AD material and maybe they managed to sort out the reproduction issues by the time they got to the Apocalypse War. I note from other Amazon reviews that there are similar problems in the first Brian Bolland collection. Although Matt Smith and Keith Richardson are thanked in the book for their assistance I can’t believe they were involved in the final product. It doesn’t seem likely that anyone from the House of Tharg would allow such a shoddy product to go, especially when they have been producing such high quality hardbacks of their own in the last few years. If anyone deserves a high quality artist’s edition type collection it is Carlos.
0 of 5 stars. Get your King Carlos fix elsewhere and avoid this mess of a book.