Published on April 8th, 2015 | by Chavez


The Red Seas – Under the Banner of King Death – Review

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Craig! CRAIG! I hear you scream. Where have you been Craig? The silence is unbearable! I know, I know… But I’ve been busy working my way through The Red Seas – Under the Banner of King Death, one of two collections of The Red Seas stories from the pages of 2000AD. It weighs in at 369 pages though I use the term ‘weigh’ loosely as this is a digital download only, the first of 200ADs ‘Digital Firsts’ series.

And what a book this is! What happens when you mix up Ray Harryhausen and Jules Verne with 1940’s boys’ own adventures? Ian Edginton (ad break – he’s also written Brass Sun and an absolute bucketload of other stuff) obviously wandered along the alleys and byways of Melting Pot Town and had a few pints with the aforementioned greats before adding in a wee tot of his own unique brilliance. Voila! The book you have in front of you on your tablet screen. Wild adventures on the high seas of the 18th century! Pirates! Black magic! Fights! Women! Grog! And whoever decided that Steve Yeowell should illustrate The Red Seas – sir, I raise my hat to you. Notice I said ‘illustrate’ and not draw, or ‘fart about on a computer’ or trifling nonsense like that. No – illustrate. Yeowell (him who illustrated the iconic Zenith and The Invisibles) is the perfect man to capture the black and white boys’ own adventure style that was so prevalent in British comics right up to the 70s. Just look at the detail in the panel below.

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So, yeah, I’m drooling already and everyone is wondering if I’ve finally been tipped over the edge. Well if I have then it’ll be down to the insanity presented as normality that ripples like waves of LSD inspired grooviness throughout The Red Seas. What’s it all about? It all starts of with pirate Captain Jack Dancer of The Red Wench and his band of merry men raiding a Spanish galleon and relieving it of much plunder. However (and there’s always a however) little known to them is that there’s a missing chapter from an occult tome within in the plunder and Dr Orlando Doyle, he who has a zombie crewed ship, is not very happy that the crew of The Red Wench have their grubby mitts on it! So starts a rollicking adventure across the seas, via a couple of pubs and women’s beds as the good doctor attempts to relieve the roguish crew of their important bits of paper and end the world. Cause it wouldn’t be very good if the world’s existent didn’t hang at the balance…

And that’s only the first story! There are eight stories in total, some of which follow on directly from the previous, all as imaginative as the other with some just plain outrageously brilliant. My personal favourite is Underworld, where the crew visit an inner earth to find a couple of dinosaur nations at war. But the meetings with Satan, Al Addin (yes – him, lamp rubbing fella), the Hnau-Caste World Engine… Really, sometimes you have to wonder what Edginton has been smoking at some points!

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Tell me more, I hear you cry! Go and buy the damn book you tight individuals, quoth I. It’s brilliant. Truly it is. And the good news? It’s available now through the 2000AD website and the 2000AD Android and iOS apps. Go! Spend your hard earned beer tokens on something worthwhile for once in your miserable lives!


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