One Mad Dog


[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

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[War Stories, Vol 1.] – (Garth Ennis, Chris Weston, Gary Erskine, Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd)
May 25, 2010, 2:00 am
Filed under: 7 stars, Chris Weston, Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd, Garth Ennis, Gary Erskine
Johann’s Tiger (Chris Weston) – A gritty story about the commander of a tiger tank and the final chapter of his part in the war. This is a Well written short story with excellent artwork by Chris Weston and a satisfying conclusion. Chris Weston ranks as one of my favorite war artists.
D-Day Dodgers (Gary Erskine) – Based upon a true story whereby a prominent lady figure called the soldiers fighting on the Italian front “D day dodgers”. This story is very much in the style of the classic British Comic Book “Commando” whereby class distinctions and the inneptitude of the generals all take a front row seat in the narrative. Good story and good artwork too.
Screamin Eagles – (Dave Gibbons) – A somewhat strange story with a unusual premise but not a bad read. Artwork is good.
(Nightingale) – (David Lloyd) – A superb story about HMS Nightingale and her crew as they battled to protect convoys during WW2. This tale is fantastically crafted to really portray the horrors of war at sea in to make the reader really care for the plight of the characters. I am not usually a fan of David LLoyd’s artwork but it fits this story perfectly. His dark colours and drab pallet really help to bring home the drama. Best story in the book.
A great collection with some nice extras explaining the background of the stories. Typical Vertigo cheap paper. [ISBN-13: 978-1401203283]. 7/10


[Enemy Ace: War in Heaven] – (Garth Ennis, Chris Weston, Christian Alamy, Russ Heath)
May 14, 2010, 5:36 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Chris Weston, Christian Alamy, Garth Ennis, Russ Heath

Garth Ennis really has a gift for bringing old war stories back to life. This book is based upon the legendary World War I German fighter pilot Hans von Hammer, a.k.a. the Enemy Ace, brought back out of retirement to fight in World war II. “War in Heaven” collects the two part mini series and has the flying ace battling it out in the skies and battling with his conscience  as he grows to resent Hitlers war machine.

Chris Weston’s art work in the first half of the book   is absolutely fantastic. Each frame is meticulously detailed and  manages to capture the essence of war in the skies in an almost cinematic manner.  Russ Heath’s artwork in the second book is very good but it  just lacks  Chris Weston’s magic and this coupled with a change to jet aircrafts hurts the books continuity a little. Great Book [ISBN-13: 978-1563899829]. 8/10.



[The Filth] – (Grant Morrison,Chris Weston,Gary Erskine)
April 22, 2010, 3:36 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Chris Weston, Gary Erskine, Grant Morrison
I picked up this book because I was intrigued by the concept and very impressed by the art. This is definitely a Bizarre book that I struggled to follow. Some of the story arcs are fairly straightforward but generally speaking it is so surreal and at times confusing that it can be hard going. On the other hand the artwork is fantastic and there are glimmers of genius in some of the story. It certainly makes you think and probably needs a few reads to sink in. It contains some pretty adult themes, concepts and strong language. [ISBN-13: 978-1840237399]. 7/10.