Firmly in the “Not 2000AD, but by dint of theme and creators could definitely fit in”, Luke checks out the first volume of post apocalyptic actioner V2A : The Wasteland Chronicles
Now that 77 #6 Kickstarter has launched, Luke finally gets around to reviewing issue 5.
The 77 Issue 5
Review by Luke Williams
Neil Blackbird Sims delivers a knock out cover for his swansong, illustrating a short text story by Dave Heeley. This is very much a transitional issue as a few strips make their (temporary?) swansong and there are three debuts.
In comes the intriguing Red by Day and Black by Night, with an interesting intro written by Jo Heeley, set in alternative world where occultist shacks up with Elizabeth the 1st and introduces fairies to England, but without straying into Neil Gaiman territory. The art on the strip proper by Rupert Lewis Jones is remarkable.
Continuing their tradition of attracting well established creators artist Mike Collins and letterer Annie Parkhouse make their 77 debut in a “Future Shock” type strip, hosted by“The Traveller” written by Mike Powell. Not a particularly original twist, but well executed some nice nods to 70s and 80s culture those of a certain age.
Paul Goodenough & Ian Stopforth’s “Extinction 2040” has a striking art style, redolent of a coloured Dave D’Antiquis of “Brigand Doom” (if you can remember that far back). Story wise so far this seems standard post apocalyptic fare, roaming armed gangs in a desolate landscape. The story is a little confused, but its’ early days and its a bold and confident start.
Brendon T Wright’s “Martian Law’s” whimsy on speed, exits stage left with this issue. A very eccentric, but appealing, light hearted sci-fi western.
Speaking of whimsy, but of the non threatening horror kind, David Thomas & Jon Roydon’s ”Penny Pentagram” reaches the final episode of its run, cell shaded loveliness, but with added bad jokes.
Following “Martian Law” and “Penny Pentagram” through the stage door is Joe Dunn and Jeremy Dunn’s glacial “Undertow”. It’s well written and lovingly drawn, but the pace of the strip has hampered it. Hopefully the pace will pick up in the next chapter.
Dave Bedford and Mac’s “Trackless Depths”, also gets its coat. The art is beautiful; greyscale, soft pencils and fine detail, but the story has been slight. It needed to build up some steam (or more appropriately more wind in its sails). It’s clearly building to something, but like “Undertow” needs to get there a bit quicker. Hopefully it won’t be absent for too long.
After their brief interludes from last month, Regular thrill “V” by Steve Bull and Ade Hughes, with vibrant colours from Darren Stephens takes a left turn from being confined to the gladiatorial arena to a broader sci-fi “Spartacus”. Dave Heeley and Sinclair Elliot’s “Division 77” gains a new artist to replace the departing Elliot. In comes Gary Burley, whilst Darren Stephens stays around to colour, introduction to the Division and it’s world out the way and plot elements are seeded.
In “The Cell” Andrew Sawyers’ pen is set to “psychedelic haze” mode (not a criticism) and he also supplies the eye catching back cover. Scripted by Bambos Georgiou the story remains bleak, a little levity wouldn’t go amiss.
Finally, you can always rely on the “‘77’s” “Captain Hurricane” (but with better jokes) “Sgt Shouty” to be silly, but fun.
“The ‘77” feels like it has found its rhythm. Editorial have got the balance of “light and dark” about right, too much nihilism can be a wearing. It over used statement, but yes there is indeed something here for everyone. If there is one criticism, it’s that some of the stories are a little too “decompressed”; with the large (though regular) gaps between issues it would be better to have faster paced strips. Collected, they’d read well, but in episodic format there needs to be more action per instalment.
Reaching issue 5 in the British Comics market is quite a feat. As this is written, the Kickstarter for issue 6 has launched. Issue 6 previews promise exciting content, definitely worth checking out.
Is it 2021? What happened to the murderous road race that was to take place in 2020 across the North American continent? Luke looks into what could have been.
Pat Mills, Tony Skinner, Kevin O’Neill, Trevor Goring, Dan Schafer and Digital Chameleon
Published by Roger Corman’s Cosmic Comics
Review by Luke Williams
Luke takes a look at the latest (ish – been a few weeks now) release from the stable of the mega successful 77, the homage to boys adventure comics Blazer, brainchild of 2000AD editor Steve MacManus.
Exploring the teetering Tower of Babel and cat hazard that is his reading pile, Luke finally gets to issue 4 of the ‘77.
Sentinel Issue 6 – Bad Kitty
Script Alan Holloway – Art Morgan Gleave
Review by Luke Williams
For those who don’t know Sentinel is a comic that is based on what could reductively be described as DC Thomson’s sci fi / fantasy version of Commando : Starblazer. Like Commando, each issue of Starblazer was a complete, mostly self contained sotory, with the occasional recurring character. Well thought of, it ran from , 1979 to 1991. It was a nice contrast to serialised tales especially when you just want to pick a single story with no cliffhangers, dig around and you’ll find work from Grant Morrison, John Smith, Colin MacNei and Alcatena. I have a small collection of these from a lorry driving family friend who used to hand them over once he’d finished with them.
Entitled “Bad Kitty”, this month’s adventure stars professional thief Carlos Harrison, with a scheme to rob the very rich resident and owner of the Midas Hotel Rover Kingston – known as Lucky Dog after striking it rich in mining. Carlos scams his way into the best room in the hotel to steal a flymon crystal, the source of Lucky Dog’s wealth. Outwitted and trapped, he’s given an option: work for his would be victim or suffer a more deadly fate.
Lucky Dog’s family is slowly being picked off, LD suspects the culprit is a grudge bearing cat his family adopted when he was a pup. Lucky thinks that Carlos’ has the brains to help him stop the cat’s caninicidal rampage.
Tongue in cheek and not taking itself too seriously, plot and script are littered (heh) with dog and cat tropes and nods to classic strips. There are homages to cartoons from our childhood and dearly departed artists. It even guest stars rock band “Cats in Space” (or at least their logo)
’77 regular Morgan Gleave’s art is bold, expressive and highly stylised, redolent of the NME and Self Made Hero artist Jake, or perhaps a less intense Marc Hempel . It’s lovely work, a great example of coherent storytelling with consistent and recognisable characters. The Starblazer influence extends to the panel count, nothing more than 3 per page.
If there’s a criticism, it’s that the lettering is a little stiff , but its a minor gripe. This is loads of fun. Recommended.
Kickstarter for Sentinel issue 6 : “Bad Kitty” goes live on the 1st of February
You can buy back issues here : https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SentinelComics