But it seems that no sooner does one terror leave us than another starts. While I can relax knowing that I'm only a few evenings' reads away from not having to suffer any more Mark Millar in my prog, Vector 13 brings us the very first 2000 AD work by David Bircham. I'd overlooked his work some months previously when I suggested that Jim McCarthy might be my least favorite artist for the comic. And there's a fair amount of Bircham's work to come over the next couple of years, unfortunately. I'm sure he's a fine fellow, but I find his artwork deeply unappealing. So here, have a nice Simon Davis scan instead. Isn't it great?
Also surprisingly great is Slaine, which I'd previously dismissed as just sort of coasting and average during this period. I don't want that to sound like it's a bad thing; average Slaine is still better than sliced bread. It turns out, however, that book two of "Treasures of Britain," by Pat Mills and Dermot Power, is fast-paced and inventive and full of great ideas. I can't hold my hand to my heart and swear that I'm completely surprised that Guinevere turns out to be in league with the evil Cyth, as it's rather in keeping with Pat's pagan leanings, and I sort of wish the Guv'nor would have written against type and found something a little more out there, but the actual plot is downright thrilling. Mills and Power really use the format to its full advantage, and each six-page episode is packed incredibly tight with new plot developments, new characters, really excellent painted art, and some very humorous moments.
"Treasures of Britain" was reprinted by Hamlyn not long after it appeared here. While it is currently out of print, copies should not be hard to find on eBay, and I strongly recommend it. Rebellion is slowly working its way through the Slaine back catalog (the third and fourth volumes are due out this year), and I speculate we may see a new edition in 2009. Of the other material in this prog, "Gunshark Vacation" is available in the DC/Rebellion book of the same name, which I highly recommend, and you can read the Judge Dredd story "Darkside" in the 10th issue of 2000 AD Extreme Edition.
Next time, it's back over to the thinner, less-reprint version of the Megazine, where there have been some odd format changes to accomodate one of the best Dredd adventures from the period: the remarkable "Fetish." See you in seven!
(Originally published 2/28/08 at LiveJournal.)