One Mad Dog

Strontium Dog – The Early Cases (John Wagner, Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra)
July 9, 2020, 9:05 pm
Filed under: 2000AD, 8 Stars, Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra, John Wagner, Strontium Dog
  • The Galaxy Killers (Wagner, Ezquerra)

Epic space story with SD fighting a universe domination race.

  • Journey Into Hell (Wagner, Ezquerra)

Long story where our heroes dimension warp into a hell like world .

  • Deaths Head (Wagner, Ezquerra)

SD up against an alien adversary Blanko in a short but intense chase.

  • The Schicklgrubber Grab (Wagner, Ezquerra)

SD time warps to kidnap Hitler with other SD trying to get in on the action.

The book itself has a fantastic full color Cover Art. The contents are  in Black and White to represent the original comic content.  Printed on good quality paper.

Note : Alan Grant is credited on the cover but on none of the stories

Summary : Classic Strontium Dog Tales with excellent Ezquerra artwork. Solid 8/10




[ISBN 1-4012-83-4]

[Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 02] – (Pat Mills, John Wagner, Mike McMahon, Gary Leach, Brendon McCarthy, Dave Gibbons, Brett Ewins, Ron Smith, Brian Bolland,

Volume 2 collects the Judge Dredd appearances in 2000AD from prog 61 through to Prog 115 but unfortunately with several progs missing due to copyright infringements. Missing from this collection are progs 71-72 and 77-78. This book contains two epic story arcs in the form of “The Cursed Earth” (Progs 61 to 85) and “The Day the Law Died” (Progs 89–108 and prologues in 86–88) which are themselves linked together. It also collects “Punks Rule !” (Prog 110), “The EXO-MEN” (Progs 111 – 112), and “The DNA Man” (Progs 113-115)


  • Pat Mills (“The Cursed Earth” – Progs 61-70, 73-76, 81-85)
  • John Wagner (“The Cursed Earth” – Progs 79 and 80), (“The Day the Law Died” – Progs 86 – 108), (“Punks Rule” – Prog 109), (“The EXO-MEN” Progs 111, 112), (“The DNA Man” – Progs 113 – 115)


  • Mike McMahon  (The Cursed Earth – Progs 61-64, 66-68,73-76, 79 -80,83-85), (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 89-91, 96 -97, 99, 100)
  • Brian Bolland (“The Cursed Earth”  – Progs 65,69,70, 81,82), (“The Day the Law Died” – Progs 86-87, 94-95, 98,  101 – 102,  (“Punks Rule” – Prog 110)
  • Ron Smith (“The EXO-MEN” – Progs 111,112), (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 104 , 106, 107, 108)
  • Brett Ewins (“The DNA Man”  – Progs 113 -115), (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 88,92, 105)
  • Dave Gibbons (“The Day the Law Died” – Prog 87
  • Brend0n McCarthy (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 88, 105)
  • GaryLeach (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 94 -95, 103)

Both main story lines in this volume are classic Judge Dredd at his prime.  The story telling is witty and sharp and the epic arcs format read very well in collected form. The shorter stories in this book are also a really good read.

There isn’t any bad artwork in this collection but there are some distinct differences in style. Mike  McMahon’s art is quite rough and gritty at the start but seems to improve in it’s level of detail and clarity as the progs progress.  Bolland’s artwork is crisp and highly detailed and he is my favorite Dredd artist in this collection. It’s just a shame he didn’t get to draw more progs.  Ewins and Smith also do some really good artwork and they both approach Bolland’s  attention to detail.

Volume 2 of the Judge Dredd case files is a must read for Dredd fans. ISBN-13: 978-1906735999. 8/10.

[Kingdom: The Promised Land] – (Dan Abnett, Richard Elson)
July 12, 2011, 10:42 pm
Filed under: 2000AD, 9 stars, Dan Abnett, Richard Elson

This trade paper back contains two story arcs from the 2000AD comic book series Kingdom.

  • “Kingdom” originally published in 2000AD progs #1518 to #1525
  • “The Promised Land” originally published in 2000AD progs #1567 to #1576.

“Kingdom” is the story of  “Gene the Hackman” who is a lifeform derived from a genetically modified dog soldier. In an apocalyptic future world, Gene and his kind patrol the lands of Antarctica  trying to eliminate the “Them” who are a virulent species of evolved insects that have all but wiped out all other life on the planet.

“Kingdom” is full of action and bloody battles but it also has an interesting back story on the nature of the  demise of the masters (mankind) and hence civilization. The characters are developed nicely and the story has excellent pacing which reads very well in trade format. Richard Elson’s art is good and has a typical 2000AD feel to it. The art fits the story well although the color pallete is a bit dour.

“Promised Land”  follows Gene’s adventures after he crosses the land bridge and he finds a human colony known as the promised land.  This is an absolutely cracking story with really good art and a fantastic twist. Elson’s art and coloring is exponentially better than the first story and helps define this as a true 2000AD classic.

ISBN-13: 978-1907519871. 9/10

[Zombo: Can I Eat You Please?] – (Al Ewing, Henry Flint)
April 21, 2011, 4:44 pm
Filed under: 2000AD, 7 stars, Al Ewing, Henry Flint

“Zombo; Can I eat you please ?” is writen by Al Ewing and illustrated by Henry Flint. It collects :

  • “Zombo” originally published in 2000AD Progs #1632-1639
  • “Merry Christmas Mr. Zombo”  originally published in 2000AD Prog #2010
  • “Zombo’s Eleven” originally published in 2000AD Progs #1678-1684.

Zombo is a half human half zombie prototype developed by the government to fight off another weapon that they developed to fix the aggressive sentient planets problem. Zombo is a polite zombie hybrid who asks first before he eats someone.

Zombo is classic 2000AD in as much as it is has a warped and sick sense of humor that is nicely garnished with a satirical poke in the eye of authority.  There is violence a plenty, as you would expect in a Zombie comic, but it is much lighter hearted than something like “The Walking Dead. It also has a much more Sci-Fi setting than your average Hack/Slash Zombie comics.

“Zombo”  is a “Lost” style story involving a Spaceship crash landing on a planet where everything is out to kill the survivors. As if the planet itself was not bad enough, the few people that do stay alive end up encountering a “Deliverance” inspired bunch of hillbilly cannibals. “Twister” will never be the same again.

“Zombo’s Eleven” is a send up of modern talent shows, Disney and Youtube with a humungous dose of Zombie gore thrown in for good measure.  It is even less serious than the first story but just as over the top in the violence department.  The strange bunch of EMO suicide freaks that Zombo met in the Christmas one shot play center stage in this tale.

Henry Flints artwork suits the story well and is brimming with ridiculous amounts over the top gore and violence.  His art in the main strips is pretty good but his cover art, which is included in the Bonus material, is excellent. I especially enjoyed the cover of issue#1675. Henry also draws some inventive supporting cast in the shape of the Zombies, inbred cannibal hillbillies and the sentient planets themselves. I really like his art on Zombo himself and Zombee is pretty impressive too.  He doesn’t seem to lavish the same amount of detail on the human extras but the over all affect is still pleasing (or do I mean sickening ?) to the eye.

This should appeal to 2000AD fans and people who are fans of stuff like Chew or the Goon. [ISBN-13: 978-1906735968]. 7/10

[The Complete Bad Company] – (Peter Milligan, Brett Ewins, Jim McCarthy, Steve Dillon)

“Bad Company is the story of the human race at war with a strange alien species known as the Krool. Raw recruit Danny Franks is fighting on the planet Ararat where he is assimilated by a rogue platoon known as the Bad Company. Bad Company are no ordinary group of soldiers but instead they are a sadistic collection of freaks and maniacs led by Kano. Kano is part man, part Krool and bears more than a passing resemblance to Frankenstein’s Monster. Bad Company is “Saving Private Ryan” meets “Starship Troopers” meets “Kelly’s heroes”.

The Complete* Bad Company contains:

  • “Bad Company” written by Peter Milligan with art by Brett Ewins and Jim McCarthy (2000 AD #500-519, 1986–1987)
  • Bad Company II “The Bewilderness” written by Peter Milligan with art by Brett Ewins and Jim McCarthy( 2000 AD #548-557, 1987–1988)
  • BAD Company II “The Krool Heart” written by Peter Milligan with art by Brett Ewins and Jim McCarthy ( 2000 AD #576-585, 1988)
  • “Young Men Marching” written by Peter Milligan with art by Brett Ewins and Jim McCarthy (2000AD Annual 1989)
  • “Simply” written by Peter Milligan with art by Brett Ewins and Steve Dillon(2000 AD #601, 1988)
  • “Kano” written by Peter Milligan with art by Brett Ewins and Jim McCarthy (2000 AD #828-837, 1993)
  • “Down Among the Dead Men” written by Peter Milligan with art by Brett Ewins and Jim McCarthy(2000AD Annual 2001)
  • “Bad Company 2002”  written by Peter Milligan with art by Brett Ewins and Jim McCarthy (2000 AD prog 2002 and #1273-1277, 2001–2002)
  • “B.A.D. Company” written by Alan Grant and John Wagner with art by Carlos Ezquerra

* According to wikipedia there is a story missing from this collection called “Ararat”  that originally appeared in the 1990 2000AD Annual.

“Bad Company” is classic 2000AD and it contains all the key elements that made 2000AD popular in the 80’s including side swipes at authority,dark humor and great B/W art.  I don’t remember reading Bad Company in the weekly issues but I think it is a match for such greats as “Strontium Dog” and “Rogue Trooper”.  The two main characters “Kano” and “Danny Franks” couldn’t be more different but they really hold the plot together. Kano is the Frankenstein’s monster like killing machine and leader of the troops and Danny is the raw recruit who becomes a war hardened veteran. The tale is told through the perspective of Danny’s diary. The story is well paced and interesting and it has a “Saving Private Ryan” type of feel to it but with Alien Krool rather than Nazis.  Brett Ewins Pencils and Jim McCarthy’s inking are great and give the story some real weight.

Bad Company II “The Bewilderness”  carries on from the the first story with Danny forming a new company of misfits in search of a monster that is plaguing a planet. This is a good follow on to the first story and it starts to take on more of science fiction feel as the strange nature of the Krool is explored.

BAD Company II “The Krool Heart” follows on the story of the new Bad Company with Kano back in charge, but going out of his mind, and their quest to destroy the festering Krool heart. This is another great story that becomes even more spaced out and strange but still packs a punch. I particularily enjoyed the way they ended this story arc.

“Young Men Marching” is a short story that appeared in the 1989 2000AD annual and although the story is OK the coloring of the art is horrendous. it looks like it was colored by someone on mind altering drugs and is painful to the eye. The art itslelf also looks bad and lacks the punch and detail of the original B/W stuff.

“Simply” is a short morality tale with inking done by Steve Dillon rather than Jim McCarthy and  in my personal opinion the art suffers as a result. The images lack the detail and depth that Brett Ewins usually does so well.

“Kano” is another move to color for the series but this time done much better.  I still think the art works much better in Black and white. The story fits into the continuity of Bad Company but has a departure in the way the narrative is presented in that it is presented through Kano’s point of view. “Kano” is the story of  Kano’s attempts to settle down with a wife and kid on a strange world where ghosts manifest and time runs backwards for one hour every day. I can see how this story could alienate “Bad Company” fans as it attempts to humanize Kano the insane killing machine but I still found it to be an enjoyable story.

“Down Among the Dead Men”  is a good setup issue for the next Bad Company story arc where Kano attempts to get back to the Krool heart. The inking was little heavy handed in places in this story but the art was OK.

“Bad Company 2002” wraps up Bad Company and is a pretty good story but it suffers a little from a lack of character development in the new “Bad Company III” members and also for not being particularly inventive. There is a pretty strange ending too but it is worth a read.

The Pilot episode included at the end was a real treat for me as I am a big fan of Carlos Ezquerra’s artwork.  I have to say that the art did look a lot like that found in  “Strontium Dog” so it was probably a good thing that the actual series was drawn by Brett Ewins.

A nice change for rebellion as this one is printed on great quality glossy paper that really makes the art work jump off the page. It also has color sections too.  This book deserves a place in any 2000AD fans collection. [ISBN-10: 9781907519468]. 8/10

[Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01] – (John Wagner, Pat Mills, Brian Bolland, Ian Gibson, Mike McMahon, Gerry Finley-Day, Peter Harris, Kevin Gosnell, Malcolm Shaw,Massimo Belardinelli, Ron Turner, Joe Collins)

Even if people have never heard of the top UK Sci-Fi comic 2000AD they have most likely heard of Judge Dredd. No doubt this is as a result of the rather poor Stallone movie rather than the excellent comic books.  For those who have not heard of Judge Dredd, he is a lawmaker of the future fighting crime and dealing justice on his trusty lawmaker.  His adventures are set in 2099AD in a very hostile version of the earths future.

Volume 1 collects all the Judge Dredd appearances in 2000AD from prog 2 all the way through to Prog 60 including :

  • “Judge Whitey”  written by Peter Harris with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #2)
  • “The New You”  written by Kelvin Gosnell with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #3)
  • “The Brotherhood of Darkness”  written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #4)
  • “Krong” written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Carlos Ezquerra (prog #5)
  • “Frankenstein II”  written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #6)
  • “The Statue of Judgement”  written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #7)
  • “Antique Car Heist”  written by Charles Herring with art by Massimo Belardinelli (Prog#8)
  • “Robots” written by John Wagner with art by Ron Turner (Prog#9)
  • “Robot Wars” written by John Wagner with art by Carlos Ezquerra (Prog #10), Ron Turner (Progs #11, 13 & 16), Mike McMahon (Prog#12 & 15) and Ian Gibson (Progs#14 &17)
  • “Brainblooms”  written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#18)
  • “Mugger’s Moon” written by Gerry Finley-Day with art by John Cooper (Prog#19)
  • “The Comic Pusher” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#20)
  • “The Solar Sniper” written by Gerry Finley-Day with art by Ron Turner (Prog#21)
  • “Mr Buzzz” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#22)
  • “Smoker’s Crime” written by Gerry Finley-Day with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #23)
  • “The Wreath Murders” written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#24)
  • “You Bet Your Life” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#25)
  • “Dream Palace” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#26)
  • “The Academy of Law”  written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#27) and Mike McMahon (Prog#28)
  • “The Neon Knights” written by Pat Mills with art by Ian Gibson (prog#29)
  • “The Return of Rico” written by Pat Mills with art by with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#30)
  • “Devil’s Island”  written by Gerry Finley-Day with art by Ian Gibson (prog#31)
  • “Komputel” written by Robert Flynn with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #32)
  • “Walter’s Secret Job” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#33)
  • “Mutie the Pig” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#34) and Ian Gibson (Prog#35)
  • “The Troggies” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#37) and Ian Gibson (Prog#36)
  • “Billy Jones” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#38)
  • “The Ape Gang” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#39)
  • “The Mega-City 5000” written by John Wagner with art by Bill Ward (Prog#40) and Brian Bolland (Prog#41)
  • “Luna 1” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#42)
  • “Showdown on Luna 1” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#43)
  • “Red Christmas” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#44)
  • “22nd Century Futzie” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#45)
  • “Meet Mr Moonie” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#46)
  • “Land Race” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland (Prog #47)
  • “The Oxygen Desert”  written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Progs#48 & 49)
  • “The First Luna Olympics” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland. (Prog#50)
  • “Luna 1 War” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland (Prog#51)
  • “The Face-Change Crimes” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland. (Prog#52)
  • “The Killer Car” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Progs #53-56)
  • “The Oxygen Board” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland (Prog#57)
  • “Full Earth Crimes” written by John Wagner with art by ???? (Prog#58)
  • “Return to Mega-City”  written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #59)
  • “Firebug”  written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #60

Bonus Stuff:

  • “The First Dredd” written by Pat Mills and John Wagner with art by Carlos Ezquerra.
  • “Walter the Wobot : Tap Dancer” written by Joe Collins with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#50)
  • “Walter the Wobot : Shoot Pool!”  written by Joe Collins with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#51)
  • “Walter the Wobot : Walter’s Brother” written by Joe Collins with art by Brian Bolland (Progs#52 – 56)
  • “Walter the Wobot : Radio Walter”  written by Joe Collins with art by Brian Bolland (Prog#57) written by Joe Collins with art by Brian Bolland (Progs#58)

Judge Dredd Case Files Volume 1 is mainly made up with one shot issues about Dredd fighting crime and upholding the law. Looking at the list above it can be seen that pretty much every issue of 2000AD  changed the writer or artist (or both) between consecutive issues which sounds like a recipe for disaster.  Reading a collection with such a diverse collection of writers and artists  is usually a bit of an unsatisfying experience as a trade lends itself much better to longer story arcs. That isn’t the case with this book and I ended up really enjoying the overall experience.  Although most of the stories are one shots there are still some developing themes that run through the books such as Dredd’s robo servant Walter, the odd criminal, Mega City 1 and Luna 1. The artists and writers obviously did their research before they contributed.

Its hard for me to single out particular stories that I enjoyed but the longer arc about a robot revolution (Robot Wars)  stood out. Even though it a pretty common story premise across the different characters in 2000AD/Starlord it was good to see Dredd’s character flesh out a little over a multi-part story. This story also introduced his somewhat annoying sidekick Walter the service droid who got his own strip eventually (see bonus material).

The “Case Files Volume 1 ”  is drawn by a bewildering array of artists including some of the cream of 2000AD.  Although Dredd does look different between consecutive issues I think the old 2000AD editorial team did a great job of keeping the feel the same. The artwork is generally from black and white originals although it does appear that some of the scans have been made from color sources. The reprint quality is pretty good and it captures the original feel of the comics well. It is hard for me to choose a favorite Dredd artist from this collection but the good news is that there are no standout bad interpretations. My least favorite Dredd is Mike McMahon’s interpretation where Dredd has a Mick Jagger lips.

The US edition is printed on a coarser paper stock than the UK  collections I have but it has a nice weight and suits the content perfectly.   The bonus material is also a nice touch even if you are not a huge fan of Walter.[ISBN-13: 978-1906735876]. 8/10

[Strontium Dog:Search/Destroy Agency Files: Volume 1 ] – (John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Brendan McCarthy, Ian Gibson, Alan Grant, Keith Page)

Strontium Dog is a comic book series created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra for the British Sci-Fi comic Starlord back in the late 1970’s. It features the stories of “Johnny Alpha” with his friend “Wulf Sternhammer” and his alien medic “The Gronk” . Strontium Dog is set in a post apocalyptic future where the mutating effects of the radioactive isotope Strontium 90 has caused portions of the population to mutate. The mutated people are treat badly by the normal population and are forced into ghettos where the only job they have open to them is that of Bounty Hunter.  Johnny alpha is one of the best of these bounty hunters (Strontium Dogs) and he uses his mutated eyes, that now emit piercing Alpha rays, to see through solid objects and into mens minds.

Volume 1 Collects: (Stories by John Wagner and art by Carlos Ezquerra unless otherwise stated)

  • “Max Quirxx” (Starlord #1-2, 1978)
  • “Papa Por-ka” (Starlord #3-5, 1978)
  • “No Cure For Kansyr” (Starlord #6-7, 1978)
  • “Planet Of The Dead” (Starlord #8-10, 1978)
  • “Two-Faced Terror!” (Starlord #12-15, 1978)
  • “Demon Maker” #17-19 (with art by Brendan McCarthy (17) and Ian Gibson (18-19), Starlord #17-19, 1978)
  • “The Ultimate Weapon” (in Starlord #21-22, 1978)
  • “The Galaxy Killers” (2000 AD #86-94, 1978)
  • “Journey Into Hell” (2000 AD #104-118, 1979)
  • “Death’s Head” (with co-author Alan Grant, 2000 AD #178-181, 1980)
  • “The Schiklegruber Grab” (with co-author Alan Grant, 2000 AD #182-188, 1980)
  • “Mutie’s Luck” (with co-author Alan Grant, 2000 AD #189, 1980)
  • “The Doc Quince Case” (with co-author Alan Grant, 2000 AD #190-193, 1980–1981)
  • “The Bad Boys Bust” (with co-author Alan Grant, 2000 AD #194-197, 1981)

Bonus Stories:

  • “Strontium Dog : Funfair of Fear” (writer unknown with art by Brendan McCarthy, Starlord Annual 1980)
  • “Strontium Dog” (writer unknown with art by Keith Page, Starlord Annual 1981)
  • “Strontium Dog” (writer unknown with art by Carlos Ezquerra, Starlord Annual 1982)
  • “Strontium Dog” (writer Bill henry with art by Brendan McCarthy,  Starlord Summer special 1978)

I think that Strontium Dog really started to find its feet when it moved to 2000AD where it was allowed to run longer story arcs. My Favorite story in the book is “The Galaxy Killers” and this is a classic example of  John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra hitting top form. Stories such as “Journey into hell” and “The Schiklegruber Grab” are also really good arcs.

The four bonus stories are a bit of a mixed bag and hammer home to me that Strontium Dog really needs a decent length story arc to truly shine. The art is great but looks like it might have originally been in color and it is a shame it is only B/W in this collection.

For me there is only one artist for Strontium Dog and that is Carlos Ezquerra. When anyone else tries to draw it I think that it  just doesn’t look right.  Brendan McCarthy actually does a really good job of illustrating strontium dog and his very detailed artwork is a real pleasure to look at but his Johnny Alpha still looks a bit wrong.  The other two artists in this collection are Ian Gibson who does a respectable job and Keith Page whose art I really didn’t like at all. This book suffers from my constant complaint about all these  “Rebellion” collected editions in that it has poor Quality reproductions in places, especially from the early Starlord stuff which may well have been in color. Slightly fuzzy reproductions aside I think Carlos Ezquerra’s art throughout this book is first rate.

I really enjoyed this book and could recommended it to any 2000AD fan wishing to delve back to earlier stuff. It should also appeal to fans of Star Wars stuff like Bobba Fet. Strontium Dog remains as one of my favorite comic book characters of all time.  ISBN-13: 978-1905437153. 9/10

[The Complete Ballad of Halo Jones] – (Alan Moore, Ian Gibson)
November 18, 2010, 7:42 am
Filed under: 2000AD, 8 Stars, Alan Moore, Ian Gibson

This TPB collects the three books of the 1984-1986 “2000AD” story line “Halo Jones”  in the original black and white comic format.

In Book One, the readers are introduced to Halo Jones, who lives in a futuristic ring-shaped ghetto called “The Hoop”. The hoop is a huge floating structure that is moored off the East coast of America. The story gives a background to the insane and violent culture and introduces many key characters to the plot.  When Halo discovers a good friend has become part of a cult know as the “Different Drummers” and her best friend Brinna has been murdered she decides to leave Earth for go0d.

Book Two depicts Halo’s life as a stewardess and Dolphin liason  on the ship “Clara Pandy” and her year-long space voyage into the cosmos. Halo discovers who murdered her friend Brinna and is forced to take drastic action. It is also revealed that Halo eventually becomes legendary which is a story that is continued in the third book.

In Book Three, Halo reaches rock bottom and is forced to sign up for the military to make a living.  She ends up fighting in the same interstellar war which ran as a back-story in the previous two books.  The war is gruesome Guerrilla style conflict in totally bizarre planetary conditions. This book ties up lots of loose ends and gives a satisfying conclusion to the series.

I must have read Halo Jones when it was originally published as I used to read 2000AD back then but I dont remember a single thing about it.  I have to be honest that I found the story and art in the first chapter of book one to be a little confusing and I was beginning to wonder what all the hype was about.  I have started reading this book two times in the past and each time abandoned it around chapter 3.  This time I persevered and I am glad I did. On the third attempt at reading things finally clicked into place and it turned out to be a great and enjoyable story.  I think the slang used in the book takes a  little getting used to and once you are comfortable with it the story just takes off. This saga is typical of both Alan Moore and 2000AD in that it mixes humor with social and political comment and some hard hitting drama.

I think Ian Gibson’s art in the first book is a little sparse as if it were rushed but he regains his usual form from book two onwards. It is not as good as his work on Robohunter or Star Wars but still a great example of the genre. All three books collected in this edition are good but I think the final one really hits home the hardest. “The Complete Ballad of halo Jones” is a satisfying and rewarding read that draws you in as the story progresses. [ISBN-13: 978-1905437184]. 8/10

[Rogue Trooper: Tales of Nu-Earth Vol. 1] – (Gerry Finley Day, Dave Gibbons, Colin Wilson, Eric Bradbury, Cam Kennedy, Brett Ewins, Mike Dorey, Alan Moore)

Rogue Trooper is a classic 2000 AD comic strip that was created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons. It follows the adventures of Rogue, a G.I. (or Genetic Infantryman) and his search for the traitor that ochestrated the massacre of his entire unit. What makes Rogue unique is that he has been genetically modified to be able to survive the poisons of new earth and that he carries the personality of 3 of his fallen comrades around with him in the form of biochips implanted into his helmet, Backpack and gun.

Rogue trooper is one of the classic series from 2000AD and ranks amongst my favorite strips. Considering it was originally published in the eighties it still feels fresh today.  Most of the stories are pretty short with a satisfying start and end within only a few pages (designed for weekly comics) but there is an overlying story arc throughout all of them. Reading the stories in collected form really helps to hammer home the ongoing plot which I wasn’t as aware of when I originally read the weekly comic episodes. Rogue Trooper is a bit more serious than other 2000AD stories of the day.

In this volume the following issues are collected (all written by Gerry Finley Day).

  • “Rogue Trooper” with art by Dave Gibbons (2000 AD #228, 1981)
  • “Nu Paree” with art by Dave Gibbons (2000 AD #229, 1981)
  • “Glass Zone” with art by Dave Gibbons (2000 AD #230, 1981)
  • “Clash in Doomsday Valley” with art by Dave Gibbons (2000 AD #231, 1981)
  • “Terror of the Decapitators” (with art by Dave Gibbons (2000 AD #232, 1981)
  • “Raiders” with art by Dave Gibbons (2000 AD #234, 1981)
  • “Scum Sea” with art by Dave Gibbons (2000 AD #235, 1981)
  • “Ascent To Buzzard-Three” with art by Colin Wilson (2000 AD #236-238, 1981)
  • “The Rookies” with art by Dave Gibbons (2000 AD #239-240, 1981)
  • “Blue Moon” with art by Colin Wilson (2000 AD #241, 1981)
  • “Poison” with art by Mike Dorey (2000 AD #242-243)
  • “Fear of the Machine” with art by Colin Wilson (2000 AD #246-248, 1982)
  • “The Dreamweavers” with art by Dave Gibbons (2000 AD #249-250, 1982)
  • “The Buzzard” with art by Colin Wilson (2000 AD #251-253, 1982)
  • “The Petrified Forest” with art by Mike Dorey (2000 AD ##254-257, 1982)
  • “War of Nerves” with art by Colin Wilson (2000 AD #258, 1982)
  • “Bagman Blues” with art by Colin Wilson and Eric Bradbury (2000 AD #260-262, 1982)
  • “The Body Looters” with art by Cam Kennedy (2000 AD #265, 1982)
  • “All Hell on the Dix-I Front” with art by Colin Wilson, Cam Kennedy and Brett Ewins (2000 AD #266-277, 1982)
  • “Assassination Run” with art by Cam Kennedy (2000 AD #278-279)
  • “Hats Off to Helm” with art by Cam Kennedy (2000 AD #280-281)
  • “Marauders” with art by Colin Wilson and Cam Kennedy (2000 AD #282-289)
  • “Fort Neuro” with art by Brett Ewins and Cam Kennedy, (2000 AD #290-310)
  • “Major Magnum”  with art by Brett Ewins (2000 AD #311-315)
  • “Bigfoot” with art by Cam Kennedy (2000 AD #316)
  • “Bio-Wire” with art by Cam Kennedy (2000 AD #317)

Two Specials written by Alan Moore

  • “Pray For War”  with art by Brett Ewins (1983 2000AD Annual)
  • “First of The Few” with art by J Rendondo (1984 2000AD Annual)

There is great B/W art throughout and surprisingly for a long running comic series there is great continuity between the different artists. Out of all the artists I liked Bret Ewins the least and Dave Gibbons the best. At times Ewins art seems a little heavy handed compared to the rest but it did not detract from this excellent collected edition.

My favorite stories in the book are  “All Hell on the Dix-I Front” and “Marauders” and these really are up amongst the cream of classic 2000AD stories. The longest story in the book is “Fort Neuro” which reminds me a lot of the “Robohunter” or “Judge Dredd” style of writing. It has more of a comedic style which at first felt out of place to me but the story got better as it progressed and the end was very satisfying. The two Alan Moore stories are a nice bonus but I prefer Gerry Finley Day’s take on Rogue Trooper.

This book is highly recommended to British SCI FI comic book fans.  [ISBN-13: 978-1906735340]. 8/10

[Robo-Hunter – The Droid Files Vol.2] – (John Wagner, Alan Grant, Ian Gibson, Peter Hogan, Rian Hughes, John Smith, Chris Weston, Simon Jacob)

The first collected edition of Robo-Hunter included some of my favorite comic strips of all time. The ones included in this second volume were all new to me and seem to be a bit of a mixed bag. This book contains 6 arcs most of them written by Alan Grant and John Wagner. The stuff that wasn’t written and illustrated by them is not up to the same standard as book 1.

“Football Crazy” first appeared in 2000 AD progs 283 to 288. Not a great story this one unless you are a mad football fan.  I found the whole thing to be a bit predictable and pointless. Great artwork by Ian Gibson though.

“Play It Again Sam” first appeared in 2000 AD progs 292 to 307. The story is actually pretty good and Ian Gibson’s artwork is first rate but I found it incredibly annoying to read. It is set up like a rock opera where the dialogue is all sung. I am sure this is a pretty novel concept but it really didn’t work for me.

“The Slaying of Slade” first appeared in 2000 AD progs 312 to 330.  When reading this as part of a collected edition the first thing that strikes you about this story arc is that the level of detail in Ian Gibson’s art has been toned right down. It must have been a cost cutting exercise but it is still really good. This story is classic Robo-Hunter and is right up there with the likes of “Day of The Droids” or “Verdus”.

“Sam’s Last Case”  first appeared in 2000 AD progs 331 to 334. Its a short story but a funny one,  as Hoagy and Carlos attempt to get fat old Sam to come out of retirement. As always, Great art by Ian Gibson.

“Farewell My Billions” first appeared in 2000 AD progs 435 to 443. This story is a satisfying conclusion to the Alan Grant and John Wagner written and Ian Gibson illustrated Robohunter saga.  This is a very well written story with all the classic Robo-Hunter elements. Great art by Ian Gibson.

“Winnegan’s Wake” first appeared in 2000 AD progs 852-854 although it looks like it comes from the Beano.  Horrible child like artwork, virtually illegible lettering and poor dialog.  This is a very poor story indeed and Rian Hughes artwork is definitely not to my liking. I would hate to think this was someones introduction to robohunter.

“Metrobolis” first appeared in 2000 AD progs 904-911 and features the childlike artwork of Rian Hughes. The art is better than in “Winnegan’s Wake” but it is still very sub par and still would look more at home in the Beano or Dandy. At least in this story they have a decent letterer.  Peter Hogan actually puts together an interesting story this time but the dialog and interaction between Hoagy, Carlos and Sam is not a patch on Wagner and Grant’s work.

There are also some one shot stories in the collection that are not bad. “War Of The Noses” by Peter Hogan and illustrated by Rian Hughes, “Something For the Weekend”  by John Smith and Illustrated by Chris Weston, “Slade Runner” by Peter Hogan and illustrated by Rian Hughes and “Fax and Deductions” by Peter Hogan and illustrated by Simon Jacob. Weston and Jacobs artwork take Robo-Hunter in an altogether more modern comic style and look like they were originally in full color. The black and white reproduction here doesn’t really do them justice.

Three arc’s in this book would deserve  9/10 but the overall score of this book is dragged down by the other stuff especially the strips illustrated by  Rian Huges.  [ISBN 978-1-906735-43-2]. 7/10