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

[The Complete Robusters] – (Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Chris Stevens, Carlos Pino, Dave Gibbons, Ian Kennedy, Jose Lewis Ferrer, Kevin O,Neil, Kev.F Sutherland, Dave Harwood, Steve Dillon, Bryan Talbot, Joe Eckers, Mike Dorey)

The Monthly UK Comic book Starlord was a huge thing for me when I was a kid. It was unlike any other comic I had ever read and I instantly became hooked. I still vividly remember the first issue that my mum bought me to read on a train trip to visit my grandparents. One of my favourite story lines in Starlord was “Robusters” and it is great to finally see it collected in one large TPB. The good news is that the adventures of Rojaws and Hammerstein are as good as I remember them to be. The bad news is that the book is just Black and White and I seem to remember some of the stories were originally in Colour. The other bad thing is that the book looks like it was made by photocopying the original comics. Some of the pages have blurry bands running down the middle and occasionally information is cropped off the top of the page.
Robusters is sort of like Thunderbirds but with ill behaved Robots and tyranical human bosses. It has that typical Pat Mills feel to it where every story has a not so hidden undercurrent that pokes fun at the class system, politics, the publishers or other social issues. The writing is witty and the artwork excellent for a comic series.

My favorite story is the “Terra-Meks” that features the writing of Pat Mills and the artwork of Dave Gibbons.  A true British Comic classic. [ISBN-13: 978-1905437825]. 8/10

[Preacher Vol. 5: Dixie Fried] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon)
April 8, 2010, 8:27 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Garth Ennis, Preacher, Steve Dillon

A good book but probably the weakest in the series so far. The storylines feel a little  ponderous and it does little to give you any empathy for the characters. The art is also a little below par in this volume. It will still appeal to die hard Ennis fans but it moves the story along at a snails pace. I am not a big fan of the Glen Fabry posters as they are such a stark contrast to Dillon’s simple style and make the characters look grotesque. His pictures in this book are not really my cup of tea. [ISBN-13: 978-1563894282] 7/10

[Preacher Vol. 3: Proud Americans] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon)
April 7, 2010, 2:34 am
Filed under: 9 stars, Garth Ennis, Preacher, Steve Dillon
Yet Another fantastic addition to the preacher series that is showing absolutely no sign of losing momentum. This may very well be the best book in the series yet. The art is good and the story is very well written although there does seem to be some erosion in the level of detail in the pictures as the series goes on. I had a great deal of difficulty putting this book down once I started. It has to be noted that the quality of paper in this version isn’t as good as the previous two. For mature readers only. [ISBN-13: 978-1563893278]. 9/10

[Preacher Vol 2: Until the end of the World] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon)
April 6, 2010, 4:35 am
Filed under: 9 stars, Garth Ennis, Preacher, Steve Dillon
Fantastic story and great artwork.  Another one of Garth Ennis’s finest works. This book has a fantastic back story about Jesse’s traumatic childhood and his battle with his Grandmother.  The subject matter is very disturbing but it is done in a way that makes it palatable.  The remainder of the book concentrates on the Grail backstory where we encounter some incredible sexual and morale deviants. The subject matter covers some pretty strong themes but the sense of humor keeps the whole thing light.  Better than the first book and well worth a read (ISBN-13: 978-1563893124). 9/10

[Preacher Vol. 1: Gone To Texas] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon)
April 6, 2010, 4:28 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Garth Ennis, Preacher, Steve Dillon
“The Preacher ” is a fantastic piece of work from the master of shock himself (Garth Ennis). Like all his books I have read so far this one has captivating and thought provoking story lines and witty well written dialogue. There is plenty to offend a lot of people but nothing too over the top in the bad language and gore departments. The artwork is well done and fits the story well. For once this is a book that lives up to all the hype. I can’t wait to read the next installment. I reckon if you enjoyed the TV series Carnivale you will enjoy this book. The Preacher Volume 1 is a highly recommended read for adults only so don’t buy it for little Timmy or he may have nightmares :-). (ISBN-13: 978-1563892615). 8/10.

[Punisher By Garth Ennis Omnibus HC] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Darick Robertson, Tom Mandrake, Cam Kennedy, John McCrea, Dougie Braithwaite, Joe Quesada)

Fantastic collection of punisher stories by Garth Ennis in an absolutely humungous hard cover book. Not as hard edged as the MAX series but no worse for this. Garth really is the master of the Punisher. The artwork is also very good.  The only slightly weak area in this collection was where Superheroes were included. I think Garth really struggles with superheroes and I thought the final superhero showdown was pretty week. Garth’s take on Wolverine was also horrible. This book is an amazing collection and it collects the following:

  • PUNISHER (2000) #1-12
  • PUNISHER (2001) #1-7 and #13-37.

(ISBN-10: 0785133836). 8/10