Thursday, March 11, 2010

125. Team Andy and Team Pat

April 2003: My reread has brought me to an interesting six-week period where two of 2000 AD's former editors, Pat Mills and Andy Diggle, had new series running at the same time. Diggle, who's not long from signing an exclusive contract with DC Comics at this point, has devised a new, contemporary-set political thriller called Snow / Tiger which is illustrated by Andy Clarke and Chris Blythe, and the Guv'nor has written a new, mammoth epic for his long-running ABC Warriors which will be told in three chunks of 48-60 pages. It's called "The Shadow Warriors," and Book One of the epic is illustrated by veteran Carlos Ezquerra. It is Mills' best work for 2000 AD for many, many years.

Did the bad feelings between Mills and Diggle inspire the Guv'nor to better things? Around this time, David Bishop is finishing the serialized first edition of Thrill-Power Overload for the Megazine, and he included a gauntlet-throwing quote from Mills in the final installment about the new work since Diggle stepped down as editor. There was a lot of side-taking in fandom at the time. For myself, Diggle was the much-loved, fandom-embracing editor who wrote me a very encouraging rejection letter for a Pulp Sci-Fi installment I proposed, and Mills was the cranky old pagan who lost the plot around 1990.

Hindsight tells a different story. Diggle had some great work ahead of him for DC, including The Losers and Adam Strange, both of which I strongly recommend you all check out, but Snow / Tiger is a derivative bore with an unbelievable bad guy and very nice art, and The Shadow Warriors is delightful, full-on, twelve-gauge lunacy. The art's the worst thing about it, and it's freakin' Ezquerra, one of the best artists in comics.

Actually, some of my dislike of the art comes from Mek-Quake's latest body. It was established decades previously that Mek-Quake collects new bodies and enjoys downloading his consciousness into each of them, but this is the only tale that sees him wearing a body best termed as "Stumpy." Either that or nobody told Ezquerra that he was supposed to be the tallest and broadest member of the team.

Readers today can judge for themselves as both stories are available in collected editions. You can read Mills' adventure in the sixth volume of ABC Warriors, and Snow / Tiger was reprinted in the freebie graphic novel bagged with Judge Dredd Megazine # 276 in 2008.

Speaking of collected editions, I decided one way to quit writing such carpal tunnel-inducing entries was to simply review any 2000 AD collections as and when they would normally come up for review at my Bookshelf blog and just link to them here. That said, in case you missed it, I reviewed last year's collection of The V.C.s by Dan Abnett, Henry Flint and Anthony Williams here.

Next time, the circuit-charming tale of cranky ol' Lobster Random begins. Be here in seven!

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