DC Solicitation: Young barbarian Slaine Mac Roth is a master of the "warp-spasm," channeling the mystical power of the Earth to become a monstrous berserker! In this classic first collection of Slaine's sword-and-sorcery adventures, we're introduced to the wonders of his world!
On sale March 30 * o 7.375" x 10.1875" o B&W, 200 pg. $14.99 US
*delayed to April 6
This volume reprints:
The Time Monster, prog 330 (Aug. 1983). Story by Pat Mills, art by Angie Mills.
The Beast in the Broch, 4 episodes, progs 331-334 (Aug. to Sept. 1983). Story by Pat Mills, art by Massimo Belardinelli.
Warrior's Dawn, prog 335 (Sept. 1983). Story by Pat Mills, art by Mike McMahon.
The Beltain Giant, prog 336 (Oct. 1983). Story by Mills, art by McMahon.
Bride of Crom, 6 episodes, progs 337-342 (Oct. to Nov. 1983). Story by Mills, art by Belardinelli.
Creeping Death, prog 343 (Nov. 1983). Story by Mills, art by Belardinelli.
The Bull Dance, prog 344 (Nov. 1983). Story by Mills, art by Belardinelli.
Heroes' Blood, 3 episodes, progs 345-347 (Dec. 1983). Story by Mills, art by McMahon.
The Shoggey Beast, 4 episodes, progs 348-351 (Dec. 1983 to Jan. 1984). Story by Mills, art by McMahon.
Sky Chariots, 9 episodes, progs 352-360 (Jan. to Mar. 1984). Story by Mills, art by McMahon.
Commentary: It might be reasonable to think that, as a 2000 AD fan, I'm willing to champion a lot of stuff just because it appeared in the Galaxy's Greatest Comic, regardless of its actual quality. Since I generally loathe the genre of fantasy fiction, with all its wizards, trolls, dragons and magic weaponry, you might think I'm wearing those blinders when I recommend the first edition of Slaine, a magic-fueled romp through pre-Christian Ireland with, well, wizards, trolls, dragons and magic weaponry. Happily, no, the blinders are off when I say that Slaine really is a great comic, and these earliest episodes worth your time.
Slaine Mac Roth is a wandering fighter making his way back to his tribe in the Land of the Free, blessed by Danu the Earth goddess with the power to warp-spasm the power of the planet through his body in a berserker rage. He's accompanied by a criminal dwarf called Ukko and the bulk of these stories show him running afoul of some worshippers of the god Crom after interfering with a mass sacrifice.
The first episode of Slaine is drawn by Angie Kincaid, who was an illustrator of children's books at the time. Her anatomy and characterizations are quite good, but the pacing somewhat lacking. It's just as well that she did not work on more than the one strip. About half of this book is drawn by Massimo Belardinelli , who makes his DC/2000 AD collection debut with this presentation. Belardinelli had been working on 2000 AD series since Dan Dare in prog 1, and had recently finished the first, best run of Ace Trucking Company in 1981-82. The use of Belardinelli for this book is utterly baffling. The artist had made a name for himself in far-out tales set in the future, with bizarrely-shaped aliens and monsters. Grounding him in ancient Ireland played against his strengths, and while his work is extremely detailed and exciting to read, his designs for the characters are just plain dull, and Ukko looks completely ridiculous, more like a comedy monkey from a Hanna-Barbera cartoon than the back-stabbing little creep from the McMahon episodes.
Ah, McMahon. I'll tell you exactly why this volume demands your attention. Wizards, trolls, dragons and magic weaponry aside, this volume contains about ninety pages of some of the best art you will ever see in any comic. Mike McMahon had done his share of remarkable Judge Dredd and ABC Warriors episodes, but what he does here is simply inhuman. He somehow perfected an inking style which owes more to woodcutting than traditional comic-inking and the results are breathtaking. More than one 2000 AD fan considers McMahon's work on "Sky Chariots" the best art ever featured in the weekly.
Plus, the story's not bad, either!
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