Out: 23rd August 2017
Publisher: Hachette Partworks, in association with Rebellion Publishing
Available: From high street newsagents and on subscription via www.2000adcollection.com
About The Launch: A Facebook Live competition will take place from 10.00am on Wednesday on 23rd August on the 2000AD Collection page, giving away six prizes, one every 2000 seconds. Two exclusive prints will be up for grabs on the day, along with other great prizes.
The Book: Showcasing the best stories from 2000AD’s forty year history, 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection showcases the SF weekly’s best comic stories, handpicked by the comic’s editor, Matt Smith (aka Tharg, of course). 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection presents stories thematically, pulling together the most essential tales for you to enjoy. The series launches with a presentation of Sláine: The Horned God by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley.
2000AD: The Ultimate Collection will take you to the multiple future-shocked worlds of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic. From Celtic warrior Sláine to swashbuckling Russian rogue Nikolai Dante, from the mutant bounty hunters of Strontium Dog to the war-torn battlefields of Rogue Trooper, no fan will want to be without this greatest hits package that delivers four decades worth of thrill power.
In Sláine: The Horned God, Celtic warrior Sláine must overcome the Formian Sea-Demons that threaten the Earth goddess and the very existence of the land of Tir Nan Og. The existence of his world is at stake as he prepares to follow the ways of the Horned God. It is a path that can give him control over nature itself – or unleash a new age of witchcraft and dark forces.
The Review: 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection – intended to span some 80 editions in all, including collections of The Ballad of Halo Jones (coming next), Strontium Dog stories and more – gets off to a promising start with its launch issue, collecting one of the best Sláine stories from 2000AD creator Pat Mills in a nicely-presented hardback collection.
Given that this new part work will focus on 2000AD‘s non-Judge Dredd stories, neatly complementing the Judge Dredd: Mega Collection, it’s no surprise The Horned God was chosen, given its success in the weekly comic and the high acclaim the story during its original run, and has had since, not just in the UK but in Europe, too.
The story chosen is a riveting read, with Ukko the dwarf at his vile and funniest from the get go and Sláine of course getting himself into all sorts of scrapes, all beautifully told by Simon Bisley in this, his “break out” work that led him to being picked up by US publishers and quickly made the artist something of a comics legend. It’s a story that confirmed Sláine’s place in 2000AD, often giving Judge Dredd himself a run for his money, and Strontium Dog, too (who of course was a late arrival to the comic via the short-lived Starlord).
I know there are collectors out there who might, possibly, think twice about picking up another part works subscription if they’re already buying the Judge Dredd: Mega Collection – but at £9.99 for a regular issue, I’d argue that’s a reasonable price for any Squax de Thargo to immerse themselves in full-length tales from the comic. (For comparison, the most recent The Horned God currently retails on amazon.co.uk for nearly £20).
While some of the stories in this part works run have of course been previously collected, and in a larger size, I’d venture to suggest that combined with all the promotional extras subscribers can get, 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection offers a reasonably-priced way to lay your hands on some great tales from the Mighty One. Plus, if you haven’t been collecting 2000AD since Day One back in 1977, there aren’t many ways to lay your hands on some of the stories that will appear in this part work.
Alongside this re-presentation ofThe Horned God you also get an informative feature from Stephen Jewell on the strips’ origins and success. Personally, I’d actually like to see more of this kind of material, but I know I’ll be in a minority on that one, as the story itself will be the selling point.
Hachette and Rebellion are clearly pulling out all the stops to make this project a success (Boo Cook‘s spine art alone surely worth the entry fee alone – let’s hope a poster is in the works!) and based purely on the promotional material that came with Issue One, the choice of strips looks great and I can’t think of better ways to relive some of 2000AD‘s best moments easily like this.
Given that the first issue is being offered at just £1.99 in your local newsagents from next Wednesday I’d say go ahead and buy it as a “taster”. I rather think you’ll be quickly hooked!
• 2000AD is online at www.2000ADonline.com