Thursday, 15 December 2011

Books: A.B.C. Warriors: The Black Hole


A.B.C. Warriors
The Black Hole
Written by Pat Mills
Art by Simon Bisley and SMS


Available now from Islington Libraries
You can reserve this item for free here:

Hell yes. Or maybe I should say (even better): "BIG JOBS!"

I was not expecting to enjoy The Black Hole. It was one of those books that I picked up to read more out of dutiful necessity for the Islington Comic Forum rather than something I expected to enjoy. And the first third of seemingly mindless robot destruction with an extra heaping muscles and guns (which kinda bordered on the fetishistic) and a story that begins halfway through and makes several reference to other books that I'm tempted to say that I haven't read (but the truth is rather that I had read them a long long time ago and can't quite remember - so the feeling of not really knowing what's going on is pretty much the same).

But then - I dunno - I was reading it with a feeling like I was just trudging through and then suddenly it all started clicking into place and the fun started kicking in - and instead of feeling bored (in that special kinda of way you only get from too much robot action - which is different to say watching paint dry or whatever) a smile started to creep across my face.

Starring the motley crew that is the A.B.C. Warriors (for those that don't know: it stands for 'Atomic' 'Bacterial' and 'Chemical' - and it's the type of warfare they're designed to take: so think Transformers - but without the Transforming and with more (a lot more) of a psychotic edge: crazy killer berserker robots basically - but "A.B.C. Warriors" sounds a little nicer) and taking in plenty of big ideas - this is a book designed for all sort of cheap thrills - even as it sneaks in a few grand philosophical ideas on it's underbelly. The artwork is by the legend that is Simon Bisley and SMS (???) can be very noisy at parts and Bisley (who I reckon was probably just starting out) is a little over the place in parts - but it is kinda cool how the black ink gushes everywhere slightly out of control and it all helps to add to the chaotic nature of the script.

Also - I would be remiss not to mention that it features "The Greatest Robot Ever Created" (who felt like he'd stepped out from the pages of a Douglas Adams book - which I'd say is high praise indeed).

Don't be taken unaware by the form - originally published in 2000AD in short little 5 or 6 page gos way back in the 1980s - it tends to shift it's style around a bit in order to keep the readers (teenage boys mainly) on their toes: but then that magpie sensibility that keeps it hopping from one idea to the idea is a big part of what makes it all so very thrilling...


Links: Are You A Serious Comic Book Reader? Powerful Panels: ABC Warriors, 2000AD Review Review.

Further reading: Sláine: The Horned God, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright.

All comments welcome.

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