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]

[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

[Star Wars Omnibus: Shadows of the Empire] – (John Wagner, Kilian Plunket, John Nadeau, Timothy Zan, Micheal A. Stackpole, Carlos Ezquerra, Steve Perry, Ron Randall)
November 4, 2010, 10:03 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Carlos Ezquerra, John Nadeau, John Wagner, Star Wars

There are 3 story arcs contained within this omnibus. “Star Wars: Shadows of The Empire” (#1-#6), “Star Wars: Mara Jade – By the Emperor’s Hand” and “Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire – Evolution” (#1-#5).

  •  Star Wars: Shadows of The Empire was written by John Wagner with art by Kilian Plunket and John Nadeau.
  • Star Wars: Mara Jade – By the Emperor’s Hand was written by Timothy Zan and Micheal A. Stackpole with art by Carlos Ezquerra.
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire – Evolution was written by Steve Perry with art by Ron Randall

The first arc is set in a time between the Empire Strikes back and return of the Jedi and features many familiar characters to fans of those movies. The main story revolves around bounty hunters, the attempts to rescue Han Solo in carbonite, Assasination attempts on Luke and unreast in the Empire. It’s a really good action romp with plenty of subplots, twists and betrayals.

The second arc is the story of an imperial assassin who is known as the Emperors hand. At first I found the “Blade Runner” type narration to be a little off putting but the story really grabs you the further you read. It’s a great action/spy tale with a well paced story line and satisfying conclusion. This was my favorite story in the Omnibus.

The final arc is a sequel to the first and revolves around another assassin but this time a super robot who worked for Dark Sun. Although Luke, Han, etc are featured quite a lot in this story they really feel like peripheral characters and dont add a great deal to the story. Overall though it’s is still a great action tale and  with a very satisfying ending. This was my least favorite story and art in the omnibus but not by much.

I am not a huge Starwars fan but I picked this book up because it had John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra in it. I am glad I did as I enjoyed this TPB tremendously. I thought that all 3 stories were movie worthy and even for someone with limited Starwars knowledge it was easy to follow. The artwork and colors were consistently good throughout and although all the artists had their own individual styles there were no jarring changes of art style or color pallettes. This book has made me want to check out more Starwars Omnibus’s. [ISBN-13: 978-1595824349]. 8/10

[Star Wars Omnibus : Boba Fett] – (John Wagner, Ian Gibson, John Nadeau, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Meglia, Ron Marz, Adrriano Melo, Thomas Andrews, Francisco Ruiz Velasco, Carlos Ezquerra, Andy mangels, John Ostrander)
September 23, 2010, 7:57 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Ian Gibson, John Nadeau, John Wagner, Star Wars

This Omnibus collects the following:

  • “Boba Fett : Enemy of the Empire” with story by John Wagner and art by Ian Gibson and John Nadeau.  The artwork and writing in this story is excellent especially if you are a fan of 200oAD.  Some people may find Gibsons art to be a bit cartoonish but I really like it. 
  • “Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika” with story by Mike Kennedy and art by Carlos Meglia. A pretty good story with a whole host of familiar Star Wars  characters and nicely colored cartoony art.
  • “Empire #7:  Sacrifice”  with story by John Wagner and art by Cam Kennedy. A good short  story with good artwork too.
  • “Empire #28: Wreckage” with story by Ron Marz and art by Adriano Melo. A not bad  short story with pretty good artwork. Most of the story is very light on dialogue but the ending is well written.
  • “Boba Fett :  Overkill” with story by Thomas Andrews.  This is a well written and enjoyable story. The artwork is good but quite simplistic with almost Anime cartoon styled characters and backdrops.  This does tend to detract from the story a bit.
  • ” Boba Fett : Salvage” with story by John Wagner and art by Carlos Ezquerra. A good single shot story with excellent art by Carlos Ezquerra and great coloring by Cary Porter.
  • “Boba Fett : Twin Engines of Destruction” with story by Andy Mangels and art by John Nadeau. A pretty good story about a Bobba Fett Impersonator with average artwork that didnt really capture me.  
  • “Boba Fett : Death, Lies and Tradedgy” with story by John Wagner and art by Cam Kennedy. Another good Hutt based story but with horrible looking art. The art itself isnt that bad but the coloring is really nasty. It looks like a photocopy of a cheap newspaper strip. Definitely looks out of place in this book.
  • “Boba Fett : Agent of Doom” with story by John Ostrander and art by Kam Kennedy.  A good short story about Boba Fett trying to regain some respect with good artwork.

Although I am not a huge Star Wars fan I am a big fan of John Wagners writing and Ian Gibson’s and Carlos Ezquerra’s art work so I purchased this omnibus for their work. I wasnt dissapointed by any of their contributions and the rest of the book was good too. This Omnibus has a wide variety of artistic and writing styles but works well as a whole and it is a light and fun read. The only fly in the ointment for me was the presentation of “Death, Lies and Tradgedy” which really didnt match the quality of the rest of the book. [ISBN-13: 978-1595824189 ] 7/10

[The Complete Battlefields Vol 1.(HC)] – (Garth Ennis, Russ Braun, Peter Snejbjerg, Carlos Ezquerra)
September 17, 2010, 9:41 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Carlos Ezquerra, Garth Ennis, John Cassaday, Peter Snejbjerg, Russ Braun

This hardcover collects “Night Witches” , “Dear Billy” and “The Tankies” from Garth Ennis’s new war story series “Battlefields”.

“Night Witches” is a story set in World War II on the Russian front. It is the story of women bomber pilots flying night missions for the Russian’s in outdated planes. It is also the story from the point of view of the German Infantry that the Night Witches are trying to bomb.  Garth Ennis is on top form in this story and the way he entwines the stories of both the hunter and the hunted  is excellent. Garth doesn’t pull any punches in “Night Witches” and the stark brutality of both sides is shocking and yet believable in the context of a brutal battlefront.  The consequences of being caught by the enemy are shocking and add a great deal of bite to the narrative. This is amongst some of  Ennis’s best writing and it is backed up great art work by Russ Braun and some pretty good John Cassaday covers.

“Dear Billy” is unusual for a graphic novel in that it is written in the form of a letter to a lover by a woman involved in the Pacific conflict. As a result of this, it is quite text heavy and took me  a few pages to adapt to the style. Peter Snejbjerg’s  art work in Dear Billy is pretty simplistic but it does work well with this type of story telling.  Garth has managed to pull off yet another gut wrenching tale of the brutality of war and this story really packs a punch.  He manages to achieve a impressive sense of realism in his WW II writing and it just goes to show that he doesn’t need tons of gore and profanity to capture the reader. I didn’t enjoy this as quite as much as Night Witches but it is still a great thought provoking story.

“Tankies”  is a story set in the aftermath of the D-Day landings, featuring the Allied tank Crews and their desperate battle against superior German tanks. Out of the stories included in this collection this is by far the most light hearted but it still amply hammer home the absolute horror of being in a tank on a Battlefield. It is probably the weakest story of the three but is blessed with the best artwork. Carlos Ezquerra’s art is absolutely gorgeous, intricately detailed and colored to perfection.  I think one thing that spoils “Tankies” is Garth’s attempt at portraying a Geordie character. It just comes across as a bit silly and must confuse the heck out of non UK readers. Tankies is an enjoyable read with first class art.

“Battlefields” also has some great extras including an article explaining the facts behind the fiction and some artist pencils and character designs. [ISBN-13: 978-1606900796].  8/10

[The Best Of Battle] – (Various)

I never read “Battle” when I was a kid and read their rival “Warlord” instead. It looks like I  really missed out on some great stories and this book provides a taste of what I missed.  I enjoyed all the stories in this book and they capture the cream of British war comics admirably. The Black and white artwork is excellent throughout and even the B/W  printed versions of the color strips look good.  The only strip that I had read before was pat Mill’s excellent “Charley’s War”.

My only real criticism is that because they included so many different stories it meant that all you got was a short taster of each.  It was annoying for instance that theyonly included 3 out of 6 episodes of “Hold Hill 109”.  I hope they will produce some “Complete” versions in the future.

Included in this collection:

  • “D-Day Dawson” written by Gerry Finley Day and Ron Carpenter with art by Colin page.
  • “Day of The Eagle” written by Eric Hebden with art by Pat Wright.
  • “The Bootneck Boy” written by Gerry Finley Day and Ian MacDonald with art by Giralt.
  • “Rat Pack” written written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Carlos Ezquerra.
  • “Major Easy” written by Alan Hebden with art by Carlos Ezquerra.
  • “Fighter From the Sky” written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Geoff Campion.
  • “Hold Hill 109″  written by Steve MacManus” with art by Jim Watson.
  • “Darkies Mob”  written by John Wagner with art by Mike Western.
  • “Panzer G-Man” written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Geoff Campion.
  • “Johnny Red” written by Tom Tully with art by Joe Colquhoun.
  • “Joe Two Beans” written by John Wagner and art by Eric Bradbury.
  • “The Sarge” written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Mike Western
  • “The Early Adventures of Hellman of Hammer Force”  written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Mike Western.
  • “Crazy Keller” written by Alan Hebden with art by Eric Bradbury.
  • The General Dies At Dawn” written by Gerry Finley Day with art by John Cooper.
  • “Charley’s war” written by Pat Mills with art by Joe Colquhoun.
  • “Fighting Mann” written by Alan Hebden with art by Cam Kennedy.
  • “Death Squad” written by Mark Andrew with art by Eric Bradbury.

This book is highly recommended as an introduction to the golden era of British war comics. [ISBN-13: 978-1848560253]. 9/10

[The Stainless Steel Rat] – (Harry Harrison, Kelvin Gosnell, Carlos Ezquerra)
August 1, 2010, 10:40 am
Filed under: 2000AD, 9 stars, Carlos Ezquerra, Kelvin Gosnell

The Stainless Steel rat graphic novel is a collection of the 2000AD comic strips that were based on the books by Harry Harrison. “The Stainless Steel Rat” (2000 AD #140-151, 1979–1980), “The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World” (2000 AD #166-177, 1980) and “The Stainless Steel Rat for President” (2000 AD #393-404, 1984–1985). I first read these stories over 30 years ago and I was pleasantly surprised just how well they had stood the test of time. Kelvin Gosnell did an amazing  job of putting these stories into graphic format and the scripts are witty and extremely well written. Special mention must also go to Carlos Ezquerra’s artwork which is absolutely spot on and does a wonderful job of imagining a superthief (James Bolivar DiGriz) in a very futuristic and at times bizarre universe. This is yet another classic SCI-FI series from the golden age of 2000AD with fantastic writing and great art. They have also done a great job of reproducing the 30 year old comics without all the problems that the “Robusters” collection had.  [ ISBN-13: 978-1906735517] 9/10

[Hitman Vol. 2: Ten Thousand Bullets] – (Garth Ennis, John McCrea, Carlos Ezquerra, Steve Pugh)
July 20, 2010, 10:44 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Carlos Ezquerra, Garth Ennis, Hitman, John McCrea, Steve Pugh

This collected edition contains Hitman#4 to #8 and Hitman Annual 1. Garth Ennis’s second DC  Hitman collection has two stories “Ten Thousand Bullets” illustrated by John McCrea and “A Coffin Full Of Dollars” illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra and Steve Pugh. It also has a short bonus story called  “The Final Night ” which also features the artwork of John McCrea.  10,000 bullets continues on from Hitman Volume 1  and the fight with bizarre gangster Mr Dublez. Tommy has his work cut out with an over the top dishonest super hero, a host of would be assassins  and one other hit man that seems to be more than a match for out hero.  It is a good “Punisher” type story with no strange demons or aliens that made the first volume so unusual.  A coffin full of dollars pits Tommy against the inhabitants of Tiburon when he is hired to make a hit for a bent Sheriff against a Mexican gang. There is definitely a hint of “The Preacher”  in this one. Out of the two stories I think I enjoyed  the second one the most. This is another solid effort from Ennis but lacks a few touches to make it stand out from the crowd.

The artwork throughout the collection is classic limited color palette comic book style and it fits pulp fiction nature of the story well. It looks like Carlos Ezquerra only illustrated part 3 of the final story but it still probably my favorite art in the book.  [ISBN-13: 978-1401218423]. 7/10