So I finally got around to reading my 2000AD hardcovers. I started with this:
Some brief thoughts from someone who read 2000AD weekly for the first 10 years and hasn’t picked up a prog since…
Holy cow it’s all in colour!!! Ezquerra’s art is amazing, and completely different to the style I remember. (The notes in the book tells me he enhances it on the computer, whatever that might mean.) However he does it, he’s still got the same flair for action and the same insane design sense that works so well for Alpha’s setting. And the colouring really is awesome, it’s art in its own right, always enhancing the panels, never detracting the way that some over-clever modern colouring can.
Wagner’s writing is just as I remember it, insanely violent, with just the right amount of gags to break up the melodrama.
There are three complete stories here. The first, The Kreeler Conspiracy, is a pretty by-the-numbers straight-to-video action piece. It’s entertaining but doesn’t knock me out.
The second, Blood Moon, really does knock me out. It’s quite an amazing piece of writing, the story flashing back to Alpha’s time in the mutant war and encountering a murderous mutant leader, then in the present day tracking him down to make him pay for his war crimes. It works perfectly as a straightforward action piece, but where it leaves an impression is its uncompromising look at the actions fanatics carry out for a cause, and how Johnny Alpha is shaped by those actions. It’s really an amazing piece of writing. And it has Middenface McNulty, so it’s automatically awesome.
The final story is the Headley Foot Job and is an out-and-out comedy with slapstick violence and a pantomime villain, and again highly entertaining, and a good inclusion here to give a contrast to the preceding ultra-serious stories.
The volume is rounded off by a short text piece giving the publishing history of Strontium Dog (obviously I knew the start of the history but not what came next).
Overall: highly recommended, whether you’re a lapsed fan like me or are just interested in dipping your toe into 2000AD to see what you’ve missed.