Strontium Dog: The Life And Death Of Johnny Alpha by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra (graphic novel review).
Johnny Alpha is dead. Only there is some mystery about it as journalist Precious Matson gets Middenface McNulty to help find out the truth. I was a bit puzzled as to what made Precious a mutie until several pages in there was a hint of a multiple cleavage.
How much to say without giving anything away? Well, Johnny was left as ashen husk and his body was whisked away is probably something that would be easy to say what happened…officially. Instead, his body wasn’t ashen but it was whisked away by the mutie Feral and as he’s due to be executed, they have to get to him first. Only problem, is he wants them to ensure he escapes first. There’s an interesting resolution to this dilemma. It also brings a whole new dimension to being a roman candle in the wind.
I don’t think there would be much of a spoiler in saying they find Johnny Alpha or even resurrect him, although you ought to buy this book to see how. What is more important is why it was so important that our favourite Strontium Dog was killed in the first place and why the second part of the book is called ‘The Project’. Specifically, the Canvey Project which is out to do something seriously nasty to the muties while at the same time look pretty beneficial. I should point out that you’re going to need the second volume, ‘The Final Solution’, to find out what that is. Me, too, come to that.
The book cuts off at a decent point and you get a short story of what happened if Bubba hadn’t killed Wulf Sternhammer, written by Alan Grant and illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra. There is also some 2000AD cover art, sans blurb, for the main tale.
When comparing this to four volume ‘Agency Files’, this ‘Strontium Dog’ story has stepped up some in being less short stories moulded in to a particular theme and more a piecing together of what’s being going on. Writer John Wagner brings even the smallest character piece to life and you come away knowing the reality. Ezquerra’s art has never been better and certainly been enhanced by being in colour. Don’t let the size of this book make you think it’s short book. It’s not. The good quality paper just compacts better. There’s a lot packed in here that will whet your appetite for more.
(pub: 2000AD/Rebellion. 144 page mostly colour graphic novel softcover. Price: £14.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78108-043-6)
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