By Garth Ennis & Carlos Ezquerra (Vertigo)
Fleetway veterans Ennis and Ezquerra have a long association with British war comics and the apocalyptic 2000AD, so combining those sensibilities in a near-future World War III adventure must have seemed a natural for the fledgling DC science fiction imprint Helix. Since the first four-part miniseries spawned an almost immediate sequel they must have been more or less correct, but as Helix folded in the space of a year, with its surviving projects being absorbed by Vertigo, this compilation comes to us courtesy of them.
In 1999 Europe went back to war, massive, bloody conventional war with the bankrupt and barmy US of A, ostensibly over economic and religious differences, but actually because our creators needed a backdrop for the world-weary Mary to display her exceptional talent for slaughter in the signature arena of idiot Generals and venal politicians whose sole reason for existing seems to be to prune back the surplus of the current generation of decent folk.
Under the guise of a mission to secure a biological super-weapon, Mary and a crack team of expendables battle a spectre from her gore-splattered past and the EU’s top hit-man as they carve a swathe of destruction through Europe’s few remaining landmarks in the first tale (released in 1996), whilst the follow-up story (“Lady Liberty” from 1997) sees her return to a devastated America on a mission to wrest New York City from the army of religious maniacs who have captured it.
Trenchant, savage, satirical, gripping and plain old thrilling, this slice of fun shows these creators at their best, giving you an everyman view of all the hell and stupidity our leaders drag us through on much too regular a basis. Grown-up comics at its very best and long overdue for its rightful place on your bookshelf.
© 1996, 1997 Garth Ennis & Carlos Ezquerra. All Rights Reserved.