Review by Ben K Sy
Co-created by John Charles, Barry May and Tom Newell. Co-plotted, designed, coloured by John Charles with co-plotter and scripter Barry May; art by Tom Newell. Lettering by Nikki Foxrobot, colouring assistance by Guilherme Lindemberg Mendes and Chris McAuley
“Maurice the Cat” written by Stephanie Mary Jackson with John Charles, art by Emily Moore, lettered by Ian Sharman
“Catnip” by Lew Stringer
Published by Sunday Lunch Comics
The Book: The mind-blowing return of TechnoFreak, who comes face to face with the awesome evil of the creator of the TecnoFreak programme, Dr. Felix Scrutner. Plus, a six page back-up “Maurice the TechnoCat” strip and a one pager by mighty, Beano artist, Lew Stringer.
Only two issues in and I’m hooked.
“The Dame and the Damned” is another very well put together and funny, (in the right places) journey to London, circa 3026. The now established gang of Jon Sherlok, Neville, Loretta and Maurice face the deadly clutches of their most fearsome adversary to date.
Okay, that may be slightly overplaying it, as the foes that have been before them have been a dwarf, in #1, and this time they’re facing a wrinkly old-aged pensioner. But you can only thwart the clutches of who’s in front of you, right?
We learn more about the origins of the ‘TechnoFreaks’, whilst Sherlok learns that he is in fact not the only surviving one. John Charles has had plenty of practise time to hone these characters and it’s very apparent that a lot of work has gone on the relationships and the characters’ dialogue and background to this new adventure from this current 2000AD droid.
The artwork by Tom Newell is accomplished, with detailed backdrops and plenty of digital wizardry, but where that doesn’t always necessarily guarantee a good yarn, Charles’ writing is sharp, funny and polished and the pace never lets up so that the story doesn’t hang around. However, it has its subtleties, knowing nods and romantic interludes and should interest young reader and the young at heart reader alike.
The main feature plays out over 24 pages and is again concluded neatly therein, and there are two other pieces to enjoy. A six-pager featuring Maurice the Cat, “The Things we do for Love”, co-written by Charles and Stephanie Mary Jackson with artwork by Emily Moore, which is beautifully realised and helps build the interest in what is a very likeable and marketable character for his creators.
Finally, and gracing the back cover, is Lew Stringer‘s “Catnip“. Dated May 33rd 3026, it’s great to see that Lew is still plying his trade in the future while he can pull himself away from duties on the Beano and elsewhere. Whether TechnoFreak will secure his services again or are using this clever ploy to lure well established 21st century talent to sign rights contracts that tie up their IP up to the 31st century, only time will tell.
The letters page is a welcome addition and brings the feel of a complete package to what is already becoming one of my most eagerly awaited reads.
There’s no news yet on the release date for #3, but it would appear that Sunday Lunch Comics have got themselves a hit.
Ben K Sy
Ben K Sy is creator of 1977-2000AD (The original and friendliest 2000AD group on Facebook)
• Check out Sunday Lunch Comics at www.sundaylunchcomics.com
• Follow John Charles on Twitter @johncharlesart