One Mad Dog


[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)

Writers:

  • 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)

Artists:

  • 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.

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[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



[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