Published on January 16th, 2015 | by Chavez0
Strontium Dog: Dogs Of War – Review
Strontium Dog: Dogs of War is the latest tomb to slam down on my desk from Rebellion. The veteran writer/ artist combo of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra continue the story of the resurrected mutant Strontium Dog bounty hunter, Johnny Alpha, as he wages war against the Norms of future Britain.
This is the second in the series of The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha (the first is called ermm… The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha) and follows directly on from the first book so don’t miss it or you’ll experience much confusion and WTF’ing. The quick rundown is that in the future world of the 23rd century, mutants have been forced into ghettos by the rest of the world (the Norms). Some mutants have escaped the ghettos by becoming bounty hunters – Strontium Dogs, one of which is our erstwhile hero, Johnny Alpha. But the Norms of New Britain aren’t too keen on their mutant cousins and set in motion a plan to sterilise the mutants. They get found out. Boom! The brown stuff hits the rotating turbine. The resulting war is what we read here in Dogs of War.
At it’s heart, this is a simple good guys versus the dastardly bad guys book. Throw in some characteristic 2000AD humour (Kid Knee – I love him!), lots of explosions, twists, turns and a cliffhanger ending and you have a Damn Fine Read. The art is classic Ezquerra where the characters are brought to life with many grimaces, snarls, shouts, sneers, tattoos, nose rings, weird eyes and head lumps, and placed into the superbly realised future world of New Britain. The script… well it’s Wagner isn’t it? It belts along at a pace that’ll have you turning the pages so fast that you risk setting them on fire! I’ve always had my doubts about Johnny Alpha being resurrected from the dead (this is a British comic after all!) but underneath the wham bang action there’s a constant niggling reminder that all is not well with Alpha and that something is going to happen. Something BAD… It takes a great writer to pull this trick off and Wagner is definitely one of them.
Finally, let’s talk about Middenface McNulty. Do you understand him? I do but then I grew up reading the cartoon mainstays of Scottish dialect – Oor Wullie and The Broons. I’ve always wondered if anyone outside Scotland understands the man, the mutant, the legend that is Middenface!
I nearly forgot. As an added bonus there’s a few 2000AD covers drawn for the series by various alumni along with the characteristically brief Wagner script.
I highly recommend this graphic novel but recommend even more highly that you start from the first book. New readers will find that numerous 2000AD collections of Strontium Dog but you don’t need to read them to follow this very British reboot.
Released 15th January in the UK only in paperback and via the 2000AD iPad app.
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