Written, drawn and lettered by Dean Beattie
Warning: Adult Language in both comic and review
You know that friend or work colleague? The one who finds out you read comics and it’s such an alien concept to him that he says stuff like. ‘Aren’t they for kids?’ Or ‘don’t they just have superheroes?’ Or even ‘What do you read first? The words or the pictures?’
This is the book you give them.
Random Trials issue 1 was the book that has turned at least a couple of my colleagues heads. They laughed out loud at its use of dialogue and surprise action moments.
Random Trials (the series) is the singular vision of Dean Beattie. He’s both writer and artist. It’s funny, action filled and at moments horrifying creepy. I loved issue 1 and was over the moon when a preview copy of issue 2 landed in my Dropbox.
Issue 2 starts moments after the last issue. We are back at an Inner London council estate flat. Our hero Charles Cooper, after discovering he has fiery super powers, has run to his pal Snakebite’s home. But they have been followed by a couple of incongruously super powered goons looking to capture him. Escaping in a car, Charles and Snakebite head into the country but are quickly caught after crashing.
We discover that the unofficial drugs testing that lead to Charles powers may be creating other super powered individuals. Like a man who has small humanoids popping out of his belly button whilst at the office. It also turns out there are a couple of factions after these newly powered folks and we are left on a cliff hanger for Issue 3.
The dialogue in Random Trials bristles with real world phrasing and laugh out loud adult humour. A flagrant use of the term ‘Bum Face’ made me chuckle. It’s a perfect continuation and spreads the conspiracy further out over the Home Counties and includes a number of new and intriguing characters.
Dean has created a whole universe that’s actually pretty difficult to compare to anything else out there at the moment, in any medium. It mixes humour, action and horror perfectly in a modern English setting. It’s anarchic in all the best ways and you could maybe see this as a newly commissioned Comic Strip Presents... episode. It’s got hugely original visual flights of fancy that also would easily fit into an episode of something like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace as well. It has a crazy anti establishment feel to the humour that I really enjoyed.
The art looks great and the colour adds richness and individuality to every panel. It shows some artistic growth from the first issue and adds real depth to what was a hugely enjoyable opening. There’s also plenty of back matter in the book that includes some pin-ups by Dave Stokes, Warwick Johnson Cadwell and Robert Ball as well as a little look in to how Dean goes about the colouring process.
• This issue will be going on sale at the upcoming Thoughtbubble Comic Convention where Dean has a table (www.thoughtbubblefestival.com). Pop over and grab a copy
Many thanks for reading.
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.