Published on May 6th, 2015 | by Chavez


The Red Seas Fire Across The Deep – Review

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Ian Edginton is a writing god up there with Wagners, the Loebs and Ennis’s of the world. There. I’ve said it. So now the sickening hero worship is out of the way, let me quantify that explosive statement. I’ve just finished the vastness of The Red Seas: Book 2 – Fire Across the Deep and it was cleverly imaginative nonsense right from start to finish and in every good way you can imagine. WARNING – this is the second book (gasp!) so read the first one before you get stuck into this one otherwise you’ll be lost at sea in a leaky dingy with sharks circling around… See my review here for more breathless superlatives.

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First things first before I get carried away. Like the first release, this is a digital only read available through the 2000AD iPad and Android apps and also from the 2000AD web shop. Of note is the fact that 2000AD comic products (from the online shop at least) are no longer constrained by DRM. The PDF and CBZ files are usable on any tech device you own that can read the files. Respect to Rebellion for realising the hindrance that DRM is.

And now, NOW I get to say why Ian Edginton is a writing god. But first, some blurb…

Having earned the animosity of Satan after foiling his diabolical plans, Jack Dancer and his rag-tag crew of neer-do-wells, supernatural entities and famous scientists find themselves at odds with the twisted goals of the powerful mage and servant of the Devil, Professor Karel Toten. Encountering spirits, gods, and the monstrous denizens of the deep, the crew get wrecked in the Bermuda triangle where they soon find themselves prisoners of the twisted Caliban. They learn from the imprisoned sorcerer Prosperatus that Satan has further plans for revenge!

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And that’s just one of the stories in this 394 page collection! For a penny under a tenner you’re getting value for money. Edginton takes us from the shores of fledgling America to Valhalla, to strange underwater (yet dry) lands, via old London and the adventures of Isaac Newton, way back to the Caribbean and confrontations with a giant ship of the Devil, and then onto further lost lands. Throw in some robots, werewolves, flying ships and some modern day one off adventures and you’re left gasping at the sheer imaginative span demonstrated. The writing is quality (in case I hadn’t made that clear) with witty dialogue and repartee on every page. Jack Dancer is a likeable protagonist ably assisted by his crew mates in driving the story forward at a cracking pace. I originally read some of The Red Seas as it was serialised in 2000AD and it suffered badly due to the episodic nature of the comic. Here, everything slides and slots together as it should.

One niggle, cause it’s me and I can’t let it go. Let me introduce you to this massive emboldened writing which should not be ignored –

Still with me? Lovely, smashing, great. Here we go. Isaac Newt on is a member of a secret society of humans from parallel Earths who seek to ensure the safety of their great libraries of knowledge. There’s a thirteenth member who never appears – this disparity is never explained. There’s apparently a traitor amongst them. This is never explained. Argh! I suspect all this is all explained and expanded upon in another story from the Edginton-verse but if it is then it’s not one I’ve read. Feel free to enlighten me.

But enough of the Edginton droid. His head will be swelling and visit to Mek Quake will be required to deflate it… What about the art? It’s sublime. I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat it to hammer the point home – Steve Yeowell is the perfect artist for this story. His clean black and white lines and subtle shading mean you can actually see the art, the expressions on the characters’ faces, the details in all the weird and wonderful creatures and vehicles. Old school illustration doesn’t get much better.

The only sad thing is that this book apparently heralds the end of the adventures of Jack Dancer and his crew. I say apparently as who knows… An end is just the start of something new.

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