Tuesday, 9 February 2010

‘ABC Warriors: The Volgan War Volume Two’ – Pat Mills and Clint Langley (Rebellion)


I reviewed Volume One of ‘The Volgan Wars’ back in August last year; both the artwork and story were superb although I found that the artwork had a habit of taking over and not really allowing the story to find its own feet…
There was enough there though to whet my appetite for more of the same. After all, is there anything cooler in a comic than robots pounding the artificial life out of other robots? Okay… Is there anything cooler in a comic than robots pounding the artificial life out of other robots… and zombies? :o)
As it turned out, I found I had similar issues with Volume Two but there was a lot more to recommend it this time round…

The ABC Warriors are still on their way across Mars to rescue the infiltration robot Zippo from Mekana City. En route, it is now the turn of Blackblood and Deadlock to regale the team with tales of their time in the Volgan War. Things aren’t as idyllic as they sound though… Tensions are starting to appear in the group with certain robots eager to fan the flames. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a breakout at Broadband Asylum. Things are about to get messy…

Clint Langley’s art is as gorgeous as it was in Volume One; whether it’s full-scale robot warfare, robots on downtime or seamy alien cityscapes. Langley uses the same digital art approach and this totally captures the mechanical edge to the story. I can’t really say an awful lot more about this without repeating myself from the last review! Langley’s work is very good, just right for this story in fact.
What I will say is that once again, the artwork can get in the way of the story (especially with the two page spreads of various robots) but it wasn’t so bad this time round. Not only did Mills’ story come to the fore a lot more but also I guess I knew what to expect this time round and was prepared.
Funnily enough, while the robots were beautifully detailed and realistic the same couldn’t really be said for the few humans who graced these pages. Their faces were almost photographs but not quite and the resulting ‘jarring’ effect made it difficult for me to really appreciate what was going on here…

That was ok though (to a point) as Pat Mills’ story really gave me a lot to sink my teeth into. Humanity’s callous treatment of these robot fighters is coldly logical to the point where you really end up empathising with the robots themselves. These are the beings that will lay their lives on the line and the way they do it is poignant to say the least. Mills really shows you the horror of future warfare and at the same time is manipulating events in the present day so that you can be assured of a mind-blowing finale to the series. This plot is a little more simplistic but is no less powerful.

‘The Volgan Wars Volume Two’ is something pretty special although maybe more for people who have a little background knowledge of the 2000AD universe. I’ve got enough of this knowledge to get by and I’m eagerly awaiting Volume Three…

Nine and a Half out of Ten

2 comments:

Den said...

I can't stand the photo realistic faces. It's what's killed ABC Warriors for me. However, I first read Bisley's volume on the ABC's... go figure.

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