Wednesday, 7 May 2008

‘Slaine: Warrior’s Dawn’ – Pat Mills (Rebellion)


Only halfway into my ‘Week of Love’ and I’m taking a short break, just to get myself ready for that final push! ;o) I wanted to get back to my ‘fantasy loving roots’ but I didn’t want something that was going to take ages to finish. Luckily for me, I had bought a ‘Slaine’ graphic novel in the last few days…
For those of you that don’t know, Slaine is one of the more iconic figures of the 2000AD comic, striding the Land of the Young killing his enemies (as well as Gods and monsters) and generally making himself very rich indeed. Unfortunately for him, the dwarf Ukko can always be relied upon to lose any money that Slaine makes! Does this sound like a Conan rip off to you? I guess it is in the sense that any barbarian in the fantasy genre is inevitably going to have a little bit of Conan in him. Slaine is a typical barbarian; all too fond of wine, women and wealth but any similarities with Conan end right here. Slaine’s world is steeped in Celtic mythology adding a depth that isn’t apparent in Conan’s tales, I was left thinking, ‘maybe things were like this back in the day…’ Well, apart from the ‘Time Monster’ obviously!
‘Warrior’s Dawn’ collects Slaine’s first few appearances in 2000AD as a young man returning, from exile, to his tribe now that the King is dead. It would be a pretty boring journey though if things didn’t happen along the way so Slaine has plenty to contend with. As well as the ‘Time Monster’ and a failed attempt at running a prison, Slaine must fight a running battle with the Drune priests who are ruining the land with their magic. Boats that fly are also involved and there’s a great battle with sky pirates! These are the main plot strands but it’s just scratching the tip of the iceberg really, there’s a hell of a lot going on with a ‘mini adventure’ on each page. A really exciting read with plenty of cliff hangers! Three artists each had a turn with Slaine’s early stories and there is a marked difference in the styles that they employ, it’s all good though and my personal favourite is Mike McMahon’s scribbly but really detailed take. There’s a really good site Here that gives you a feel of what McMahon’s artwork is all about as well as a peek at the story itself.
I had a great time reading this collection and it has whetted my appetite for more of the same. If you’re a fan of barbarians and Celtic mythology then this is a series that I think you’ll get a lot out of.

9 comments:

Chris, The Book Swede said...

I've never, ever, ever, ever read a graphic novel. And I really want to. I have Gaiman's Sandman on the way -- any others you'd reccomend? And where to get them from?! :)

~Chris

Dark Wolf said...

Very good question, Chris. I read only a "Warcraft" trilogy graphic novels, I think the "Sunwell Trilogy".

Graeme Flory said...

Chris,

I haven't read many either (never read 'Sandman'...) but I don't think you can go too far wrong with 'The Walking Dead' or any of the 2000AD collections. If you're into the X-Men then the 'Age of Apocalypse' series is worth a look as well.
Where to get them? Your local Waterstones will have a 'Graphic Novel' shelf ;o) I can't remember where you live but I think there's a Forbidden Planet in Bristol... Of course, Amazon etc are your friends as well :o)

grey_tinman said...

If you have any interest in Batman, you should definitely check out The Long Halloween or Arkham Asylum. The artwork is amazing in both of these volumes and the stories are pretty great.

ThRiNiDiR said...

Frank Miller's "300" and "Sin City" are classics as well.

Brian Ruckley said...

Graphic novels are an expensive habit to acquire if you get bitten by the bug, but that's about the only downside ...

it's pretty much obligatory to read Alan Moore's Watchmen and V for Vendetta - written in to the 'Graphic Novel Readers' Charter' or something that you've got to give them a try.

Frank Miller's Dark Knight stuff from the 1980s also well worth a try. (much prefer it to the Long Halloween, personally, though the latter's certainly got its good points.)

Another Alan Moore one: From Hell. Insanely detailed retelling of the Jack the Ripper murders; great stuff if you can get into it.

More recent stuff - graeme's right about Walking Dead. I've only read the first couple, but it's good stuff. If you like zombies. Ex Machina is also quite good, if you can stand a dose of local US politics: an ex-superhero becomes mayor of New York. And apparently Y: The Last Man is great, but I haven't got around to reading that yet.

Oh, and then there's Maus of course, and ... oh, enough already.

My inner comic book geek has been making a bit of a come back recently ...

Brian Ruckley said...

PS - meant to say but forgot: best place to buy them from I've found is the book depository. Generally cheaper than Amazon, seem to have at least as many in stock as Amazon do, plus free postage of course.

Chris, The Book Swede said...

Oh wow, I am going to have to check out a lot of these! Though, like Brian has said, it's an expensive habit! :) Cheers, everyone!

ThRiNiDiR said...

I'm very fond everything pertaining the eye and the visual and value good illustration art, but it's very hard for me to get into comics / graphic novels...but I don't know why! And then there is that - I get deeper, at least twice cheaper, and longer lasting flavor from reading a novel (without the adjective graphic).