It’s 1984, and Titan Books seem to be reprinting everything from 2000 AD that is half decent; everything, that is, except for Strontium Dog. Admittedly, one volume exists but that seems to be about all. In their American colour line, all that we see, despite the quantity of good material that exists, is a four issue limited series. Admittedly, Eagle Comics’ successors, QC, go on to reprint the majority of Strontium Dog stories but they do such a poor job on reproduction that I find that it’s best not to think about it. I mention this because it’s a mystery to me that Strontium Dog stories have only been reprinted in an ad hoc, casual manner at a time when everything else of quality is being made available in all comic formats. It’s only now, in the twenty-first centaury, it is being treated with a gravitas that it deserves thanks entirely to the strict chronological reprinting of the stories in the “Agency Files” series of books.
In Strontium Dog Outlaws, currently up to part 15, Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer have been framed for the murders of a group of residents of the planet Jock’s Landing. Since then, they’ve been on the run from their colleagues at The Dog House, keen to cash in their bounty. It’s not all bad news for the fugitives though, helping them out are Johnny’s old friends from The Mutant War; the Torso from Newcastle, Frinton Fuzz, Evans the Fist and Middenface McNulty.
Although Outlaws isn’t Middenface McNulty’s first appearance, it is the story in which the character comes into his own. This is, in part, thanks to Alan Grant and John Wagner’s authentic reading accents and affectionate portrayal of the Scottish. Jock’s Landing, for example, is the only place in the galaxy that we see Johnny visit where he’s not on the receiving end of hostility because of his mutation. Admittedly, he is with McNulty and the surviving residents did all sign statements before saying that he committed terrible acts of murder that they know the brothers Stix did but, you know, they did say sorry.
Labels: 2000 AD, Alan Grant, Eagle Comics, John Wagner, Johnny Alpha, QC, Strontium Dog, Titan Books, Wulf Sternhammer