Filed under: 2000AD, 8 Stars, Brendon McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Gary Leach, John Wagner, Mike McMahon, Pat Mills, Ron Smith
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.
This hardcover volume collects the entire series of Darkie’s Mob WW2 strips from the British boys war comic BATTLE. It is the story of a group of British soldiers fighting a campaign of guerilla warfare against the Japanese in Burma under the command a renegade Captain Joe Darkie. As this strip first appeared in the 1970’s it isn’t very politically correct in terms of language but at the same time it is entirely appropriate for the time. Garth Ennis does a great job of discussing the language used in Darkie’s Mob in his lengthy introduction.
The book is hard hitting physiological war story that really works well as a collected volume. It keeps the reader guessing about the true nature of Joe Darkie right up until the last story. The Secret War doesn’t try to glamorize or soften this particularly gruesome period of World War 2 and it is inevitable that it will offend some readers. John Wagner is better known for co creating Judge Dredd but this is some of his best writing and should be a welcome addition to any British Comic fans library.
Mike Western’s black and white art is lovingly reproduced in this collection and probably looks better now than when it was drawn back in the 70’s. Mike does a really good job of capturing both action and emotion in the characters and I really enjoyed the art.
Darkies Mob is a well written, engaging story with first rate comic art and great presentation. It has one of the best introductions Garth Ennis has written and some nice extras too. A must buy for fans of war comics like “Charlie’s War” and dare I say 2000AD’s “BAD COMPANY” that surely must have been influenced by this. ISBN-13: 978-1848564428. 9/10
Filed under: 2000AD, 8 Stars, Alan Grant, Brett Ewins, Carlos Ezquerra, Jim McCarthy, John Wagner, Peter Milligan, 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
Filed under: 2000AD, 8 Stars, Brian Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra, Gerry Finley Day, Ian Gibson, Joe Collins, John Wagner, Malcolm Shaw, Massimo Belardinelli, Mike McMahon, Pat Mills, Ron Turner
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
- “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
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)
- “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
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
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