The Black Hole
Written by Pat Mills
Art by Simon Bisley and SMS
Available now from Islington Libraries
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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.