One Mad Dog


[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

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[Strontium Dog:Search/Destroy Agency Files: Volume 1 ] – (John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Brendan McCarthy, Ian Gibson, Alan Grant, Keith Page)
December 2, 2010, 8:13 am
Filed under: 2000AD, 9 stars, Alan Grant, Brendon McCarthy, Carlos Ezquerra, Ian Gibson, John Wagner

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



[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



[Robo-Hunter: The Droid Files Vol. 1] – (John Wagner, Alan Grant, Ian Gibson, Jose Luis Ferrer)
August 5, 2010, 10:18 am
Filed under: 2000AD, 9 stars, Alan Grant, Ian Gibson, John Wagner, Jose Luis Ferrer, Robo-Hunter

Robo-Hunter is my favorite comic characters of all time. This collected edition was a real treat for me as it includes story arcs that I have never read before. The first story arc “Verdus” is fantastic and has all the great hallmarks of the series. I cant believe I have never read this . The second story is One of my all time favorites in the shape of “Day of the Droids” . The final stories are based in “Brit City” and include “The Beast of Black Heart Manor”, “The Filby Case” and “The Killing Of Kid” and they are really good. I wish they would do a deluxe version in color but even in its original black and white Ian Gibson’s artwork is a real treat.

“Verdus”  was originally published in 2000 AD progs 76 to 82 & 100 t0 112 with artwork by Ian Gibson and Jose Luis Ferrer and script by John Wagner . it seems 2000 AD were unhappy with Ferrer’s artwork and got Ian Gibson to redraw some of it and retouch other bits. There is an interesting explanation here on Gibson’s website.

“Day of the Droids” was originally published in 2000 AD progs 152 to 174 with artwork by Ian Gibson and script by John Wagner.

“The Beast of Black Heart Manor” was originally published in 2000 AD progs 259 to 265 with artwork by Ian Gibson and script by Alan Grant.

“The Filby Case” was originally published in 2000 AD progs 266 to 272 with artwork by Ian Gibson and script by Alan Grant.

“The Killing Of Kid” was originally published in 2000 AD progs 275 to 281 with artwork by Ian Gibson and script by Alan Grant.

This collected Edition is a  great example of  2000 AD at its finest.   [ISBN-13: 978-1906735210] . 9/10



[Robo-Hunter: Day of the Droids] – (John Wagner, Alan Grant, Ian Gibson)
April 21, 2010, 6:12 am
Filed under: 9 stars, Alan Grant, Ian Gibson, John Wagner, Robo-Hunter
This is my favorite comic book story of all time. The excellent writing and great artwork still feels as fresh as when I first read it back in 2000AD. A Milestone British comic. [ISBN-13: 978-1904265351]. 9/10