Dreamwalker – A Marvel Graphic Novel


By Bill Mumy, Miguel Ferrer & Gray Morrow (Marvel)
ISBN: 0-87135-550-7

Once upon a time Marvel led the publishing pack in the development of high quality original graphic novels: mixing creator-owned properties, licensed assets like Conan, special Marvel Universe tales and even new series launches in extravagantly expanded packages (a standard page size of 285 x 220mm rather than the now customary 258 x 168mm) that felt and looked like far more than an average comicbook no matter how good, bad or incomprehensible (a polite way of saying outside the average Marvel Zombie’s comfort zone) the contents might be.

By 1990 Marvel’s ambitious line of all-new epics had begun to falter and some less-than-stellar tales were squeaking into the line-up. Moreover, the company was increasingly resorting to in-continuity stories with established – and company copyrighted – characters rather than creator-owned properties and original concepts and hastily turned out movie tie-ins became a regular feature. The line began to have the appearance of an over-sized, over-priced clearing house for leftover stories.

Not that that necessarily meant poor product, and for many stories the luxuriant page dimensions, paper and colouring were truly effective enhancements as this intriguing pastiche of pulp hero Mystery-Men thriller proves. Owing – and enjoyably repaying – a huge debt to the likes of The Shadow, Green Hornet and The Spider, Dreamwalker is the convoluted introductory story of burned out CIA fixer and go-to-guy Joshua McGann, who after 16 distinguished, conscience-free years of service quits the Agency and goes rogue.

After nearly two years he returns home just as his father and step-mother are murdered by a mob-boss. Investigating further he discovers that his dad – a silent movie star – was once an actual masked crime fighter named The Dreamwalker who cleaned the streets of criminal scum in between takes. Swearing vengeance Joshua revives his sire’s masked identity to catch the killers but quickly finds himself the target of every assassin in the business.

Not only has he made the gangster’s “must-kill” list but his old CIA boss wants him back or wants him dead…

This choppy, fast-paced yarn reads like the pilot for a TV series (and perhaps it was; writers Mumy and Ferrer were well-established in Tinseltown long before they began writing funny-books) whilst the brilliant Gray Morrow used his uncanny ability to capture likenesses to pepper the lush painted artwork with the faces of many famous actors including Mel Ferrer, Buster Keaton, Ed Asner, Dean Martin, James Stewart and others: a true dream cast. The capable underplayed letters are provided by Rick Parker.

Cloaked, masked avengers are a mainstay of both comics and the screen and this yarn, as McGann achieves his bloody goals and begins a new career, is a delightfully readable romp that I for one would happily have followed whether in four-colour pages or on TV. As it is, however, all we’ve got is this sharp-shooting, vigorously vicarious lost gem and that in itself will have to suffice. Uncomplicated, old-fashioned fun, and you just can’t beat that…
™ & © 1989 Bill Mumy, Miguel Ferrer and Gray Morrow. All Rights Reserved.

The Groo Adventurer


By Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier & Stan Sakai (Epic/Marvel)
ISBN: 978-0-87135-703-8

Both in comic narrative and the infinitely more strenuous field of gag-cartooning Sergio Aragonés has produced vast volumes of excellent work. His darkly skewed sensibilities and grasp of the cosmically absurd, wedded to a totally unique drawing style and frankly terrifying professional discipline have made his (usually) silent doodles a vibrant proof of the maxims that laughter is universal and a picture is worth a thousand words.

After working for years for Mad Magazine and DC’s horror titles on gag features and the occasional full comic strip in 1981, with writer and associate Mark Evanier, Aragonés produced a madcap four-page parody of the Sword-and-Sorcery genre as a contribution to the Creators Rights benefit comicbook Destroyer Duck published by Eclipse Comics.

Following a second outing in Mike Grell’s Starslayer (#5) Pacific Comics launched Groo the Wanderer in his own title. After 8 issues (December 1982-April 1984) the troubled company folded but the unsinkable barbarian (that’s a joke I’ll explain later) resurfaced in the Groo Special one-shot from Eclipse (October 1984), before finding a home at Epic Comics: Archie Goodwin’s creator-owned corner of the Marvel Universe.

Aragonés had first created his witless warrior in the 1970s but no publisher would take on the property unless he sold all rights – an almost universal situation in the industry until the advent of the Direct Sales market transferred power from companies and distributors to creators and consumers.

This volume collects the first four (of 120) issues from the Epic incarnation (March-April 1985) and reintroduces readers to the smelliest, ugliest, stupidest itinerant mercenary in the world. Luckily he’s also the best swordsman in creation and too thick to be harmed. The unstoppable brain-donor has since moved on to Image and Dark Horse Comics, but they haven’t completely gone belly-up yet…

Groo is always hungry and wanders because most places he stops at burn down, wash away or crash into rubble soon after he gets there. He loves to fight and the entire world trembles at the mention of his name. They do the same when they smell him too…

Produced in unique fashion by Aragonés, wordsmith Evanier, letterer Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo) and colourist Tom Luth, the idiot’s adventures form one of the longest running humour comicbook series in America and this volume is merely one of 27 to date.

Beginning with ‘The Song of Groo’ which introduces a wandering minstrel to the insane cast of a mediaeval wonderland of kingdoms, villages and provinces roughly mirroring Earth circa 1000AD, wherein the peripatetic poltroon botches a simple guard’s job and precipitates an international war, whilst ‘Dragon Killer’ allows him the opportunity to slay a beast, wipe out a paradise and blow up an entire country.

‘The Medallion’ is a safe-passage token that proves to be the most fray-provoking, schism-inducing peace symbol in the world and this chronicle concludes with ‘World Without Women!’ as the ever-eager hero-in-his-own-mind rescues helpless wives and maidens from zeppelin-riding pirates who keep them in utter luxury, returning the frail, fragile creatures to their rightful lives of dirt, drudgery and husbandly domination…

A magically cynical and silly comedy of errors Groo is the comic that people who hate comics read: brilliantly tongue-in-cheek, sharply sarcastic and devastatingly self-deprecating. An irresistible humour tour-de-force astoundingly scribed and illustrated by jesters who don’t know when – or how – to stop. New readers can start practically anywhere – and still be none the wiser…

Oh yeah, that sinking thing: among his other lack of abilities Groo cannot travel by ship. He’s not sea-sick or anything – it’s just that his mere presence on a maritime vessel causes it to sink…
© 1985, 1990 Sergio Aragonés. All Rights Reserved.

Wolfpack – A Marvel Graphic Novel


By Larry Hama, Ron Wilson, Whilce Portacio, Kyle Baker & others (Marvel)
ISBN: 0-87135-306-7

It’s been a long while since Marvel published an all-original graphic novel as opposed to a reprint collection, but not too long ago they were the market leader in the field with an entire range of “big stories” told on larger than normal pages (285 x 220mm rather than the now customary 258 x 168mm) featuring not only proprietary characters but also licensed assets like Conan and even creator-owned properties.

They also took chances on unusual and cross-genre tales such as this little oddity which falls squarely into the category of a successful “bold departure” which subsequently spawned its own twelve issue series.

Wolfpack (not to be confused with the later maverick band of costumed heroes that appeared in the Marvel crossover event House of M) is an intriguing meld of savage inner-city reportage and high fantasy Ninja conspiracy thriller set in the utterly alien streets of the South Bronx. It takes a two thousand year old, multi-generational battle between ultimate Good and Evil and sets its latest skirmish in a terrifying ghetto where hope and honour refuse to die. It would make a great Teen TV show today…

‘Rafael’ is a loner in trouble. The corridors of Horace Harding High School are every bit as dangerous as the mean streets outside, but the cocky young outsider has a secret. He’s been training with the school caretaker…

What Rafael Vega doesn’t know is that Mr. Mack is a man with a past and a plan. As a black sailor in post-war Japan he experienced intolerance and repression from his own (white) shipmates, but found acceptance from certain Japanese ancients who saw in him a chance to continue a battle that had already spanned two millennia.

The ancients trained him in all their fighting arts, requiring him to form a new “Pack” and confront an everlasting circle of wealth, power and wicked excess called “The Nine”: an ever-changing cycle of decadents who represented the forces of Evil in some indefinable Cosmic Balance.

Mack returned to New York and began his task, knowing this opposing force would find him wherever he went. Ghastly and blighted as it was, the South Bronx would have been far worse if not for the decades-long, beneficent watch of a silent guardian – but that‘s all about to change…

Unknown to even his pupils, Mr. Mack had been clandestinely training kids in various fighting and philosophical arts for years, so when up-and-coming schoolboy gangster Lamarr targeted Raphael for death, Mack realised that it was time at last to introduce his young wolves to each other.

Now in ‘The Crucible’ Rafael discovers that some of his oldest associates were also singled out for a higher purpose by Mack and as he reassesses his new pack-mates, “Slag” Slagley, “Slippery Sam” Weltschmerz, wheelchair-bound “Wheels” Wolinski and even his own girlfriend Sharon, events turn ugly with startling rapidity. The new warriors organise none too soon as Lamarr graduates to attempted murder by destroying the store owned by Slippery Sam’s dad.

The Nine now make their move, recruiting Lamarr to their inner circle, but the wicked, Old-World Machiavellians have no idea how modern inner-city depravation can shape the nature of evil. As the death-toll mounts and the Pack strike back, events speed to a violent conclusion in ‘Transfiguration’ and The Nine realise that they might have made a terrible mistake with Lamarr…

Harsh and uncompromising, this introductory tale (I can’t shake the feeling this was originally scheduled as a three-part story-arc and “bumped” into a more high-profile graphic novel at the last moment) effortlessly compels with a dark mix of telling social drama, dark wit and superlative action-adventure that is far more hard-hitting than most comicbook tales even today.

The workmanlike Ron Wilson is probably nobody’s favourite artist, but he is a solid dependable illustrator with a good line in brooding brutes and inner city landscapes. Here, inked and augmented by such diverse budding stylists as Whilce Portacio and Kyle Baker his art takes on a moody realism that complements both the harsh environs of the plot and mystical martial arts elements with striking effect. The letters are provided by Joe Rosen and the somewhat hit-or miss colouring is by Petra Scotese, Max Scheele and Glynis Oliver.

Ugly, uncompromising, breathtakingly hard, this is the kind of book to show anybody who thinks that comics are all about men-in-tights and written for powerless sissy-boys…
© 1987 Marvel Entertainment Group. All Rights Reserved.

Someplace Strange – An Epic Graphic Novel


By Anne Nocenti & JohnBolton (Marvel)
ISBN: 0-87135-439-X

Once upon a time Marvel led the publishing pack in the development of high quality original graphic novels: mixing creator-owned properties, licensed assets like Conan, special Marvel Universe tales and even new series launches in extravagant over-sized packages (a standard 285 x 220mm rather than the now customary 258 x 168mm) that felt and looked like more than an average comicbook no matter how good, bad or incomprehensible (a polite way of saying outside the average Marvel Zombie’s comfort zone) the contents might be.

This terrifically appetizing tale, developed under the company’s creator-owned Epic imprint, applies the psychic tensions and apprehensions of the Cold War era to Alice in Wonderland territory and features a punky heroine and two sterling young boys who all take an inadvertent side-step into a graphic and ephemeral twilight zone with some long-lasting repercussions.

James or “Spike” is a rather nervous lad, dwelling far too much on the perilous state of the world, terrified of germs and war and atom bombs whilst his little brother Edward (“Captain Zebra” to you) is far more fun-loving, but still overly-impressionable. The birds tell Edward not to worry, but Spike is always afraid and he’s very convincing…

One night scary dreams prompt them to end their night-terrors by getting the Bogeyman first. Setting out for the nearest spooky old house, the lads are prepared for the worst and find it in Joy, a foul-tempered punkette runaway crashing in the old dump. Together they explore the deserted domicile and accidentally fall into a surreal otherplace of familiar monsters and cuddly weirdness.

Although it seems a dangerous and unwelcoming land the true threat is Joy, who draws a picture of her own self-loathing which comes to horrifying life and gives frantic chase…

Combining Bolton’s hyper-real and exceedingly lush painting with Nocenti’s barbed and challenging sense of whimsy, this slight but hugely entertaining fable is a treat for those adults who sometimes wish they weren’t, and a lovely reminder of why kids like to be safely scared sometimes.
© 1988 Anne Nocenti and John Bolton. All Rights Reserved.

Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: First Death


By Laurell K. Hamilton, Jonathon Green & Wellington Alves (Marvel)
ISBN: 978-0-07851-3476-3

I’m not a great fan of these oh-so-topical vampire love-stories – and to be fair the first entries in the vast sequence of supernatural thrillers by Laurell K. Hamilton either didn’t start out as a prototypical example of that blossoming sub-genre or the author displayed extraordinary patience before getting to the sanguinary snogging – preferring instead to concentrate on blending horror and police procedural elements rather than delve into the somewhat dubious but unaccountably popular teen passion for getting jiggy with dead people.

Therefore this review will concentrate specifically on the material created for this graphic novel prequel, set in the early days of the necromantic private detective and re-animator…

Sharing elements with such later but rather better-known properties as Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries (as seen on TV as True Blood) and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files (see The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle) the stories are set in modern day St. Louis on an Earth where magic is real and the supernatural is both accepted and legitimised.

Here America is at the forefront of civil rights for supernaturals, granting spooks and fiends the same rights and protections every other citizen has under the Constitution. Since the rest of the world is somewhat less enlightened about the things that prey on humanity the USA has experienced a huge influx of migrant monsters, and society – particularly law-enforcement – has had to adapt quickly.

Anita Blake is a necromancer whose day job is to temporarily raise the dead (for settling will litigation and the like…) but she also works with the police, using her powers to execute vampires who break the law. That law being: don’t kill humans – or else…

The first novel Guilty Pleasures was adapted by Marvel as miniseries with great success but appalling frequency, and an all-original 2 issue micro-series prequel, ‘The First Death’ was rushed out to supplement the saga and placate the waiting fans. Together with the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Guilty Pleasures Handbook that tale is collected here to reveal the early days of many of the novel’s characters and locations.

The Handbook is an illustrated text glossary of all you need to know about Blake’s world compiled and written by Stuart Vandal, Ronald Byrd, Michael Hoskin, Chris Biggs & Ave Cullen illustrated by Brett Booth and Ron Lim, but be warned it does reveal the end of Guilty Pleasures so either read that first or accept that you know in advance who dies, stays undead, gets staked etc…

‘First Death’ is a rather appetising, readable treat – although Brett Booth’s art, whilst highly competent, feels fearfully dated due to its angular, Image-style rendering…

When butchered, blood-drained children begin turning up, it’s clearly a case of a vampire gone off the rails and Sergeant Dolph Storr calls in Anita Blake, a licensed Vamp executioner to kill the freak when they eventually catch it.

She surprises the jaded cops by actively joining their hunt. Only state-sanctioned operatives like Blake are allowed to expedite the undead, but usually they wait until cops have done all the dirty work of finding and catching the blood-suckers…

The investigation leads to the Vampire enclave of “The District” where supernatural businesses and citizens cluster in a quasi-legal, twilight zone ghetto and inevitably to “Guilty Pleasures”; a bar and strip club where the quick and the dead mingle in secure anonymity. For the first time Anita meets the proprietor Jean-Claude, a powerful Nosferatu who will figure prominently in her future…

By seeking the kid-killer the hard-pressed hunters accidentally uncover a huge ring of rogue vampires who have been covertly slaughtering citizens, and when the Executioner and her mentor Manny get in over their heads child-killer Valentine (a later arch-enemy for Blake) nearly butchers them both. Luckily they have a heavy-hitter of their own…

Edward is only human and used to be a hitman, but as that proved to be no challenge, now he only takes on vampire commissions. He’s the one thing the supernaturals are scared of…

Fast-paced and extremely intense, this is a riotous horror-ride-come-cop-story for older readers and one that has enough wit and wonderment to engage even an old curmudgeon like me. If you thought this was a chick-lit chiller that has nothing to offer dedicated comics veterans, think again…

© 200, 2009 Laurell K. Hamilton. All rights reserved

Super Boxers – A Marvel Graphic Novel


By Ron Wilson, with John Byrne & Armando Gil (Marvel)
ISBN: 0- 939766-77-9

It’s been a long while since Marvel published an all-original graphic novel as opposed to a reprint collection, but not too long ago they were the market leader in the field with an entire range of “big stories” told on larger than normal pages (285 x 220mm rather than the now customary 258 x 168mm) featuring not only proprietary characters but also licensed assets like Conan and even creator-owned properties.

They also took chances on unusual and cross-genre tales such as this little oddity which falls squarely into the category of a “guilty pleasure”.

In the near future Corporations have assumed control of Earth, with the result that the rich have gotten richer – and more bored – whilst an underclass excluded from all rights and privileges scuttles to survive in the dirt beneath their lavish skyscrapers. As the poor daily trade their freedoms and dignity for another meal, in the world of the mega-rich and their wholly-owned contributing citizens, survival is just as harsh and all-pervasive.

Businesses survive and grow by consuming each other and everything is produced to facilitate that overweening drive: product, entertainment, people.  The Corporations are in a perpetual state of Cold War, ostensibly working together but always looking for an edge and a hostile takeover. Delcos is one such business: CEO Marilyn Hart has never been one of the boys, and now her one-time colleagues, sensing weakness, are closing in for the kill…

In the world below Max Turner is a star. A scrapper to his core, he works as a prize-fighter: an old fashioned palooka using his fists (augmented by cybernetic gloves, boots and body armour) to get by in a brutal arena of social Darwinism, providing dangerous entertainment for his daily bread. The Corporations also have Super Boxers: pampered, gussied up, genetic thoroughbreds with their entire lives geared to those explosive moments when they unleash their pedigreed savagery in high-tech arenas for the pleasure and profit of their owners. The greatest of these sporting warriors is the godlike Roman Alexis.

But every society has its malcontents and gadflies: when a slumming talent scout for Marilyn Hart “discovers” Max, the dumb but honest gladiator becomes a pawn in a power play that threatens to tear the corporate world to tatters – but would that really be such a bad thing…?

None of that matters to Max or Roman. For them it’s about personal honour. Tech doesn’t matter, rewards don’t matter, freedom doesn’t matter. Only being the best…

Ron Wilson is probably nobody’s favourite artist, but he is a workmanlike illustrator with a good line in brooding brutes, and Armando Gil’s fluid inks do a lot to sharpen the static, lumpen scenarios, as do the varied tones of colourists Bob Sharen, Steve Oliff, John Tartaglione, Joe D’Esposito and Mark Bright. The letters are provided by Mike Higgens.

Scripted by John Byrne from Wilson’s plot, this is a harsh, nasty, working-class tale reminiscent of such boxing movies as Michael Curtiz’s epic 1937 classic Kid Galahad by way of the Rocky movies, with socio-political undertones that would have been far more comfortable in a European comic like Metal Hurlant or 2000AD.

Ugly, uncompromising, brutal, this is the kind of book to show anybody who thinks that comics are for sissy-boys…
© 1983 Ronald Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

Marada the She-Wolf – A Marvel Graphic Novel


By Christopher Claremont & John Bolton (Marvel)
ISBN: 0- 87135-153-6

Scantily clad hot chicks swinging swords have been a staple of fantasy and comics from their very inception, and probably nobody has done it better – certainly visually – than Claremont and Bolton in this heavily recycled yarn set in the days of Imperial Rome.

Marada the She-Wolf is a wandering mercenary whose grandfather was Julius Caesar. When her parents fell into disfavour she was whisked from the Eternal City to live free and grow wild…

Years later in the deserts of Damascus she is rescued from slavers by the Warrior/Magician Donal MacLlyanllwyr, but the indomitable Marada seems a broken doll, devoid of will and spirit. Transporting her to the mystical citadel of Ashandriar amidst the misty hills of Britain the baffled soldier seeks the aid of the legendary sorceress Rhiannon to diagnose, if not cure her illness.

As she slowly recovers the warrior woman forms a bond with Donal’s daughter Arianrhod; a girl of great magical power. Before long the secret of Marada’s malaise is revealed when a demonic creature invades the mystic keep and abducts Arianrhod. Enraged and desperate Marada is forced to brave Hell itself and slash her way through an army of devils to rescue the girl…

These stories originally ran in Epic Illustrated, Marvel’s response to Heavy Metal magazine, (beginning with #10, February 1982) where they appeared in beautiful monochrome wash-and-line, and although Bolton’s sensitive conversion of the art to painted colour is lush and lovely, I have to say that I would have preferred them to have been left that way for this collection.

Also included is ‘Royal Hunt’ a shorter tale wherein Marada and Arianrhod, lost in Africa after escaping the Infernal Realm, are captured by the barbaric Empress of Meroë and given the dubious distinction of being her prey in a competent if uninspired variation of Richard Connell’s landmark 1924 short story (and equally influential 1932 movie) ‘The Most Dangerous Game’.

That crack about recycling didn’t just refer to the art, superb though it is. The original story started life as a Red Sonja yarn for Bizarre Adventures, but when problems arose Claremont and Bolton reworked the thing, and by inserting the whole kit and caboodle into the “real” world of the Roman Empire, albeit braided with Celtic myth and legend, added a satisfying layer of fantastic authenticity to the mix that still leaves it head-and-shoulders above most other Sword and Sorcery “Bad Girls” as well as most general fantasy fiction.

Yet another classy piece of work to add to the “why is this out of print?” pile then…
© 1982, 1985 Christopher S. Claremont and John Bolton. All Rights Reserved.

The Raven Banner – A Marvel Graphic Novel (#15)


By Alan Zelenetz & Charles Vess (Marvel)
ISBN: 0- 87135-060-2

It’s been a while since Marvel published an all-original graphic novel as opposed to a collection, but not too long ago they were the market leader in the field with an entire range of “big stories” told on larger than normal pages (285 x 220mm rather than the now customary 258 x 168mm) featuring not only proprietary characters but also licensed assets like Conan and even creator-owned properties like Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar.

From the cod mythology of Marvel’s bowdlerized Aesir Alan Zelenetz and Charles Vess crafted this beautiful fairytale/fable that would not be out of place amongst the true Elder Eddas. Merry Marvelites will be enthralled by the inclusion of Balder the Brave as well as cameos by such Asgardian stalwarts as Thor and Hogun, Fandral and Volstagg – the Warriors Three – but the true story of honour lost and redeemed in the name of eternal glory belongs to the young wastrel Greyval Grimson who forsook his duty and paid the proper price.

Asgard is land of warrior gods constantly confronting monstrous evil, but Storm Giants, witches and dark elves can never triumph as long as heroes battle beneath the flowing Raven Banner. As long as the standard bearer holds it high, victory is assured, although its ancient magic demands the death of the bearer every time. But when the eternal enemies clash upon the Plain of Ida and Grim Magnus fulfills his fated task, for the first time his successor is not there to take up the perilous pennon. Where is the dying warrior’s son?

Greyval Grimson, although wed to Sygnet the Valkyrie Shield-Maiden, is still a flighty lad, full of joy and keen on merriment. As the Banner is torn from his father’s dying grasp the boy is dancing drunk with the treacherous trolls. Seduced from his duty, he is yet unaware that his negligence has not only lost him a father but also imperiled the entire kingdom of the Gods…

The penitent boy’s quest to regain the Raven Banner and his own true self is an unparalleled, magical tale of heroism, as accompanied by Balder and the fuzzy but querulous Oddbrand, the Otter God, he strives to overcome not only the assembled forces of Death and Evil, but also the overbearing ambition of a fellow Asgardian, whose head has been turned by dreams of unearned fame…

This tale of triumph and tragedy is a perfect blend of Marvel’s Norse Gods and the classical legends that inspired them; stirring and beguiling by turns and painted with astounding facility by Vess in full, acknowledged tribute to the works of Arthur Rackham and Hal Foster. It is a magnificent piece of storytelling and I simply cannot understand why such a universally appealing work is not permanently in print. Track a copy down, and see what I mean…
© 1985 Marvel Comics Group. All Rights Reserved.

Death’s Head Vol 1

Death’s Head Vol 1

By Simon Furman & various

Marvel/Panini UK ISBN 1-905239-34-3
(A BRITISH EDITION RELEASED BY PANINI UK LTD)

Marvel UK had very few long-term successes in its twenty-plus years as a semi-autonomous company, but the robotic bounty hunter — sorry, free-lance peace-keeping agent — was certainly one of their most eccentric. Now the current regime have released the almost complete adventures in a cheerful bookshelf edition for your nostalgia tinged enjoyment.

Along with some welcome background on the big tin guy, there’s the very first one page adventure, the team-up with the Sylvester McCoy incarnation of Dr Who, the preliminary guest shot with the futuristic paramilitary sports team The Dragon’s Claws, and then the first seven issues of his own comic book series, all lavishly re-presented for a manic metal-head’s enjoyment. The only fault to find is the necessary exclusion of the battles against those other big robotic staples of the 1980s comic scene, The Transformers. Due to pesky copyright reasons the battles from Transformers # 113-151 have been left out, but this shouldn’t mar your enjoyment of this good old-fashioned comedy action-fest.

Always played as much for laughs as thrills and mercifully short on the breast-beating angst of his Marvel contemporaries, Death’s Head was created and written by Simon Furman, and this volume has artwork from Geoff Senior, Bryan Hitch, Lee Sullivan, Liam Sharp, John Higgins, Mark Farmer, Dave Hine, Paul Marshall and Jeff Anderson

© 1986-1989, 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.