July 1997 sees the very last appearance of a strip in 2000 AD commissioned by prior to David Bishop taking over the job of Tharg. I Was a Teenage Tax Consultant is a downright weird ten-week story by John Wagner and Ian Gibson about a motorcyclin' ne'er-do-well who gets bit on the leg by a rabid attorney, and, whenever the full moon shines, transforms into a bespectacled, calculator-obsessed nutjob. Now, you're probably thinking, "that's cute, but ten weeks?" Indeed, the strip might be a little padded, but it's occasionally very funny, with some of our hero's lines about archaic tax codes really hitting the mark, and as far as I'm concerned, any excuse to get Ian Gibson's art in the prog for ten weeks is a good one. Tax Consultant is, however, possibly not the most highly regarded of this run of progs among the readers. The current lineup also features Judge Dredd by Wagner and Greg Staples. "Mad City" introduces us to Homer Blint, a citizen who does some civilian "spotting" work for Justice Department, but who has no idea that his wife Oola is the notorious serial killer the Angel of Death. Homer and Oola will be recurring characters in the series for several years.
This really is an interesting lineup for a number of reasons, with all the stories deserving of some level of commentary. I'll come back to the Anderson: Psi Division story "Crusade," by Alan Grant and Steve Sampson, in a couple of weeks, and Witch World by Gordon Rennie and Siku, next time. The really big thrill this time around, is the excellent Sinister Dexter story "Murder 101" by Dan Abnett and Simon Davis. People who wonder why some of us fans once really liked Sinister Dexter probably never read this story, which is all kinds of fantastic, and would show them how great this series once was. It introduces several characters to the cast, including Agent Bunkum, Tracy Weld and Rocky Rhodes, and crime boss Demi's kid sister Billi Octavo:
Of these stories, only the Sinister Dexter adventure is currently available in collected form. Murder 101 was the second of the three Sin Dex books compiled by DC and Rebellion during their short tenure together and it includes this twelve-parter along with some other stories from the period. Witch World will apparently be republished in a few months in the pages of 2000 AD Extreme Edition. I say "apparently" because sometimes those solicitations don't always match the contents. More about Witch World next time!
(Originally published 4/24/08 at LiveJournal.)