DC Solicitation: He's a lover, adventurer, gambler…and too cool to kill! Nikolai Dante is fighting and drinking a path of mayhem and glory across future Russia! This second collection in the chronicles of Dante transports you to a world of danger, romance and adventure!
On sale March 2 * o 7.375" x 10.1875" o 200 pg., FC, $17.99 US
*delayed to March 16
This volume reprints:
The Trouble With Arbatovs, prog 1083 (Feb. 1998). Story by Morrison, art by Fraser & Kirkpatrick.
Cruel Britannia, double-length episode, prog 1084 (Feb. 1998). Story by Morrison, art by Fraser & Kirkpatrick.
The Great Game, 10 episodes, progs 1101-1110 (July to Sep. 1998). Story by Morrison, art by Fraser & Kirkpatrick. (Double-length episodes in prog 1101 and 1110.)
The Octobriana Seduction, 4 episodes, progs 1113-1116 (Oct. 1998). Story by Morrison, art by Andy Clarke & Kirkpatrick.
The Masque of Dante, 3 episodes, progs 1125-1127 (Jan. 1999). Story by Morrison, art by Charlie Adlard & Kirkpatrick.
The Moveable Feast, 3 episodes, progs 1128-1130 (Jan. to Feb. 1999). Story by Morrison, art by Fraser & Kirkpatrick.
Tour of Duty, 3 episodes, progs 1131-1133 (Feb. 1999). Story by Morrison, art by Charlie Adlard & D'Israeli.
The Cadre Infernale, 4 episodes, progs 1134-1137 (Mar. 1999). Story by Morrison, art by Fraser & Kirkpatrick.
The Hunting Party, 4 episodes, progs 1139-1140 (Apr. 1999). Story by Morrison, art by Andy Clarke & D'Israeli.
Commentary: After a very successful initial run of episodes, which established a rich and thrilling backstory which interested readers far more than any other mid-90s series debuts, Nikolai Dante had proved to be more popular than its creators had hoped, and it was immediately thrust into the spotlight with a large order of episodes, necessitating the use of some fill-in artists. (Background details for the series can be found in the commentary for volume one.) Of them, Charlie Adlard acquits himself best, while Andy Clarke is still finding his feet. Better things were in his future.
As for the stories, Dante was effortlessly proving itself the best thing in 2000 AD at the time, with a light enough touch to make the series incredibly fun reading, but with an undercurrent of political intrigue and family backstabbing to make the series a must-read. Most of these episodes spotlight Nikolai's newly-found brothers and sisters in the Romanov family, and Nikolai's unique interactions with them.
"The Great Game" is the centerpiece, a masterful espionage story which introduces the previously-unmentioned Romanov Valentin, and some of Dante's backstory, touching on a tragic innocence the character would lose forever. As counterpoints, "The Masque of Dante" and "The Moveable Feast" are simply hilarious. There's a lovely scene in the latter with puritans clothed with electro-shock chastity belts being driven to their knees in pain at the sight of an army of gorgeous prostitutes giving 'em an eyeful, proof that even in the downright dangerous world of 27th-Century Russia, some things about our society won't ever change.
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