Thursday, August 27, 2009

The ABC Warriors: The Shadow Warriors

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of The ABC Warriors: The Shadow Warriors (vol. 6, Rebellion, 2009)

Earlier this year, Rebellion released the sixth collection of The ABC Warriors. This book, "The Shadow Warriors," contains the longest of all the Warriors' adventures thus far, an epic written by their creator Pat Mills and drawn by Carlos Ezquerra and Henry Flint. It originally appeared in three "books" between 2003-06, and since I'm looking forward to rereading the original episodes as they come up in the rotation (of my other blog, Thrillpowered Thursday), I just skimmed over the book to get a good feel for it.

Honestly, this collection is terrific. The artwork is, of course, wonderful. Ezquerra is one of 2000 AD's best art droids and he really brings a great, dirty sensibility to the dusty sandhole of the terraformed Mars. But when Flint takes over, things somehow get even better. There's a genuine "shock of the new" feel to Flint's episodes, as our heroes' new, imaginatively-designed foes take center stage and the weirdness factor gets ramped up to ten.

Skimming this volume confirmed what I felt about it upon its release: that the Guv'nor was back in town and ready to kick ass and take names. We'll come to this point in Thrillpowered Thursday in a few months, but it's clear that Pat Mills' time away from the comic, during which he created Requiem: Vampire Knight for his French publisher, recharged his batteries to full. The 2003-model Mills was not the same droid as the one from the 1990s. Here, it's one wild idea after another, no preaching, no stagnation, just a constant escalation of mad plot devices and vibrant characters. If the previous few ABC Warriors collections had been frustrating for one political reason or another, then this is the one to get.

It's every bit as wild and excellent as it was when Ezquerra had last drawn the title in 1979, and the robots were riding on the backs of tyrannosaurs, armed with bazookas. This is that Mills - the one with the turbo-charged imagination creating physics-defying freakiness and making downright excellent comics. I strongly recommend you check this book out! (And keep an eye out for more about Requiem: Vampire Knight here in a couple of weeks!)

(Excerpted from Thrillpowered Thursday.)

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