Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sci-Fi Thrillers

Here’s another eclectic collection from 2000AD that bundles up some stories from the Prog and the Megazine that aren't likely to be reprinted anywhere else. Pick of the book has to be the complete first 6 episodes of Pat Mills’ The Visible Man with art by Carlos Trigo and Montero. It’s another terrific twisted take on the super-hero origin by Mills, with lots of gruesome anatomical detail that must have had the artists scurrying to find medical textbooks back in those pre internet days. Quite why the title character doesn't put more clothes on is a bit of a mystery but that’s comic books for you, and there is one bit of the Visible Man that is clearly not visible. There’s even a strategically placed bit of red dress on the cover of this book. Pat Mills has recently teamed up with Henry Flint to bring back the Visible Man so this is a good place to catch up with his origins.

Apart from that we get a variation on the Bill Savage theme with another hard nosed Brit fighting off alien invaders in Colony Earth, the plot of which is so much like Independence Day that I’m surprised 2000AD didn't kick up a fuss when the movie came out. Then there’s a few one off Future Shock tales with lovely artwork from Belardinelli, Ian Gibson, Steve Dillon and John Ridgeway.

The middle of the book is taken up with some longer stories: Universal Soldier, Tribal Memories and Family, all of which could have remained buried in the archives as far as I am concerned. There is the Megazine story XTNCT with the highly detailed black and white art we can expect from D’Israeli and a script by Paul Cornell. A strip with the last remnants of humanity fighting a bunch of talking dinosaurs should be hilarious, and I usually love anything by D’Israeli and normally quite like Cornell’s writing but this was a real dud for me.

The book finishes with Superbean, a 6 page comedy strip by John Wagner and Mike McMahon which is funnier and more charming than anything else in the collection. That story and the Visible Man are about the only things worth the price of admission. Overall this is nowhere near the high standard of the Mutants in Mega-City One trade I reviewed recently and I would give it a pass unless you are an absolute completist.

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