2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prog 761

If Alan Grant’s intention by killing Johnny Alpha off was to leave Strontium Dog in such a way that it couldn’t continue without him, then he failed. It’s back, been re-titled Strontium Dogs, and is being written by one of the current voices of 2000 AD, Garth Ennis.

Monsters, which finishes its run this prog, follows Feral’s hate driven attacks on the paramilitary occupiers of Parnell’s World as his own mutation develops. As the story rolls on and we learn that the paramilitary and the Mutant Liberation Front (MLF) have a mutually beneficial relationship, Feral falls in love with Bet, a norm rebel old enough to be his mother.

I feel a bit sorry for Ennis. His seems to be inheriting the high profile strips that occupy big places in the hearts of the Squaxx dek Thargo. With Strontium Dogs, he does the right thing by not trying to replicate or tribute what has gone before but write it in his own voice. The result is a tale that lacks the same quota of amusing grotesquery that we’re used to from our Strontium Dog stories but succeeds in making the character of Feral likable, something his creators Alan Grant and Simon Harrison failed to do.

What makes this first Strontium Dogs story particularly memorable is Steve Pugh’s art. Although drawn to the wrong page shape for some reason, his work is big, bold and beautiful. Pugh is one of my favourite new artists of this time. I could happily while away the hours just looking at his comic work. Although this cover he did for earlier in the run makes me think he spent too much time drawing pop divas during the eighties.

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