2000ad FCBD 2015
Review by Seth
Is it mean to review a free comic?
I had to pay for it, my comic shop didn’t stock it so I had to prowl E Bay, searches, best offers, bids – but a doddle in the end. Paid £3. Yeah, it probably is mean, but I paid for it (like the fool I am) so I’m going to do it anyway.
So, what have we got?
These FCBD issues are always a mix of reprint and original strip work. The original strip work can have tantalising glimpses of upcoming storylines, or act as prologues to new strips. Between a fabulous, perfectly fitting and VERY 2000ad cover by Henry Flint, and a nicely understated tribute to the great Brett Ewins on the back cover is an interesting selection.
Kicking things off is a Judge Dredd strip, by Tharg Matt Smith and Matt Hawthorne. Smith proves again that he is an absolutely great fit for Dredd. This 6 pager is a perfect introduction to Dredd, demonstrating the bizarre nature of the MC1s citizens, the authoritarian rule of the Judges, and as a satire on modern life. Dredd is drawn into a dispute over using the front entrance to a block. Hawthorne debut 2000ad art is clear, uncluttered and easy to follow, fab’ stuff.
Next up an old reprint of a Mike McMahon strip, a mysterious figure fights his way through a series of hazards, and ends with a punchline which we have seen quite a few times since. Having said that, McMahon’s art has gone through around 5 styles since, this really is quite old. But hey, whatever he does rocks. Lotsafun.
Before we delve into “Death Rock”, I must issue a spoiler warning, if the title hasn’t given the surprise away, this review is likely to. Written by the pseudonymous (surely?) Barry Krishna and drawn by the awesome Ben Willsher. An interstellar traveller arrives on what was thought to be a previously undiscovered planet, only to find that: yep, someone does actually live there. The twist is the reappearance of a character long since absent from the Prog’ (and I mean LONG), the clue to their identity is in the title. If you are a looooooooooooooong term reader, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The plot is more than a tad clunky, and the dialogue at times painful, which makes me think Gerry Finely Day is writing it. And if you haven’t guessed it by now, then you never will.
On a more general note, I’m a bit concerned about what seems to be the trend in revivals in the Galaxy’s Greatest. 2000ad always used to have a balance of new strips with old favourites, but I think they are looking far too much into the archives. Nostalgia should be a thing of the past. Remember when they said “The Future Is Now?”
“Nemesis The Warlock – The Tomb Of Torquemada” – I’m willing to be corrected but I think this was a poster prog from the 90s – it’ll be in the attic somewhere. Synopsis : We find Torquemada making preparations for his funeral (which he hopes is many years hence) and his final resting place. As you’d expect, Nemesis comes along to spoil the party. Gorgeous art by the mighty Kev’, but aside from a few builders jokes, all a bit predictable, even the gratuitous violence. Nemesis hits Torquemada, Torque’ punches back and it gets a bit gruesome. Like the rest of the Nemesis strips from this period, its treading water and looking for which way to swim.
“Doctor Sin” – billed as another revival – one of the Mills’ droids supernatural creations. Never heard of it before (though my braincells are beginning to atrophy, so memories may have resided in the now dead part of my grey matter), ably scripted by a personal fave Rob Williams and drawn by Luca Pizzari, scratchy linework kind of like the Fiumara brothers of “Abe Sapien” fame. Not original by any means, the now venerable Doctor meets a descendant who has inherited his powers, one off or prologue to a series? Who can tell, but Williams is always worth reading.
A 5 page reprint “Dan Dare” is up next from Finley Day (at least it reads like him) and Dave Gibbons. Gibbons never disappoints, but this second 2000ad reinvention after the Belardinelli rebirth is space age hokum. Nice art though. Tease? Or genuine hint that these old 2000ad strips are going to be reprinted?
Simon Davis has revitalised the look of “Slaine”, even if the story seems to flow like cold treacle. Beautiful work this is a reprint of the first episode of the “Brutannia chronicles”. Davis’ depiction of Slaine as tired, a little world weary, feels fresh even if the script doesn’t. Perhaps it needs to be read all at once?
Two Ron Smith Daily Star ”Judge Dredd’s” (one of the best adverts for the strip) and some of Henry Flint’s brief but witty “Tharg’s Alien Invasions” round off a package that whilst patchy, is a good representation of the ‘prog. Plus if you have a fancy smart ‘phone and a bar code / QR reader application, there are lots of freebies. I have investigated these, but I like my comics to be the product of deforestation.
Anyway, this does the job. Tidy!