‘Finn’ , a short lived spin off from ‘Third World War’ which ran in ‘Crisis’, came to prominence a few years ago when there was an upsurge on social media of discussion on reprinting the series. Rebellion have finally relented and it’s going to be collected, but why the fuss? Is this just a 90s “Slaine” clone or something more substantial. Luke finally gets around to writing it up.
A Potted History Part 1 of 2
For those who aren’t in the know “Finn” originated in the, “Third World War” created by Pat Mills and Carlos Ezquerra in sister comic to the ‘Prog “Crisis”. Launched in 1988 “Crisis” had a political bent and was Fleetway’s first attempt at cashing in on the “mature” comics boom. The lead story, “Third World War” was a look at the early 21st Century in a world ruled by multinationals and corrupt governments. Globalism had run rampant and the masses were lied to and oppressed, and the gap between rich and poor had got wider, think the Russell T. Davies BBC series “Years & Years” without the subtlety. Small protest and terrorist groups, such as the “Green Army” led by their leader ”Finn” resist and attack governments and multinationals alike.
As much as the series was a little ham fisted in its politics, proselytising and overly earnest, it did create some memorable characters. In the first series the lead character, Eve Collins begins a tour of duty in Central America with the quasi military support / occupation force known as “Freeaid”, working in conjunction with a multinational corporation, where she meets her on off romantic interest Paul Phillips : Finn.
Eve was attracted to the mysterious who appealed to her for his amorality and shady past. A series of “mishaps” and sabotaged Freeaid operations confirms raise Eve’s that Paul is the Eco Terrorist, Finn.
Returning to a divided, deprived and depressive UK, Eve radicalises and Finn returns to the Green Army.
Over the course of the series, we learn of Paul / Finn’s back story, a former squaddie, with a traumatic tour in NI under his belt, where he deserted and formed the Green Army before being conscripted into Freeaid.
By this time “Crisis” was living up to its name. It had always struggled with circulation, and was now, thrashing around in a bid to regain its readership, a shift to a monthly format and the shift of focus to reprinting European strips couldn’t save it and it heralded the end. More on “Third World War” can be found in volume 1 issue 3 of Comic Scene (written by yours truly), Rebellion are collecting the series in the New Year.
In the meantime, Mills and his nineties writing partner Tony Skinner worked on salvaging something from the wreckage. They had begun laying the groundwork for a spin off series from “Third World War” by introducing the “Newts”, elder gods, a Lovecraftian race of inter dimensional beings that are controlling humanity.
Launching in prog 770 “Finn” retained some of the supporting cast and the continuity of Third World War, but stripped back the pontificating (but not all of it – this IS Pat Mills), becoming more action orientated and faster paced. Paul / Finn became a humble West Country cabbie by day, a mystical gas masked behelmed wiccan eco warrior by night; a soldier in an eternal war against extra dimensional super beings with the power to fold time and space.
The Newts are aided by earthly agents “The Shining Ones” imbued with powers by their masters, organised on Earth into the society of ”Freemariners”.
Finn and his coven are Earth worshippers, they want to stop the Newts destroying the natural order of things by introducing concepts like good and evil and cutting Man’s links with nature.
The first two books setup the status quo and the supporting cast, but without the need for knowledge of Finn’s history. Finn is tasked with killing Shining Ones, captains of industry and influential politicians, to attract a Newt and steal its Tabula Rasa, its source of power. Some of them look very familiar..
The rather appealing art for books 1 & 2 is provided by Jim Elston and Kevin Wicks, expressive, well lit and detailed.
The opening storyline is redolent of the ABC Warriors “Khronicles of Khaos” storyline; a list of people to kill, a quest and khaos magic. Responsibility for that may lay with Pat Mill’s writing partner and wicca consultant Tony Skinner. Script wise, this is sardonic, cynical black humoured Mills & Skinner. Violent and action packed. You know…. fun.
It was a hit, but it was two years before the next series appeared.