Review – Punks Not Dead #3 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing (Black Crown imprint)
Writer: David Barnett
Artists: Martin Simmonds, Aditya Bidikar, Dee Cunniffe
Release Date: 18th April 2018

A short but sweet issue this time round with yet more delicious teases dropped for the wider tale to come. Fergie has finally come out of his shell, but not in the way that most youths do by getting drunk in a park for the first time. His powers were unleashed last issue with the help of ghost Sid, and now we’re starting to see that the effects are a lot more far-reaching than just totalling his bedroom.

It starts off small, like Sid becoming glued to him or the odd shared sex dream with Nat, his crush, but now we’re seeing old folks partying in Wigan, magpies flipping out, Nat somehow rethinking her affections for this loser Fergie and a looming dark force seemingly on the warpath for any trace of Ferguson.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, hot on the trail of Sid’s spectral phlegm we also have the delightfully un-pc Dorothy Culpepper, dragging the new recruit Asif along to figure out just what’s so rotten in the state of England.

Like I said, this is a short issue, and as such there’s not a lot of room for progression. However, where it lacks in progression of the plot it makes up for it by fleshing out the already established characters. We learn more about Asif, getting to see some of the hilarious butting of heads between him and Dorothy, reminiscent of the clash between Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt in Life on Mars. I have the distinct feeling that Culpepper’s clinging on to the past is going to be a theme that going to be significantly expanded in the very near future – if I’m reading the subtle hints correctly that is.

We also get to know Nat more, who is becoming way more than just “the crush”, and we also get to see a little more of Fergie’s mum, albeit only through small glimpses here and there. It made for a beautiful moment between Sid and Fergie, once again showing the real Vicious, a bloke who cared about those close to him and hated the state the world had gotten into. In his own way, even after death, even though him and the boy are trying their best to be rid of each other, he’s still trying to be the father figure and the best mate that Fergie has never had.

What’s great here is how well thought out the characters all are. Whether it’s the bully who had a few lines or the stumbling form tutor, all seem genuine and have their own personalities, making the world feel that much more real to the reader.

The colourful art style is beginning to add a great depth to the story too as more and more is being revealed. What started as a beautiful representation of the colourful mods and punk haircuts and fashions is now serving as a means to give a magical, almost trippy effect to the new world opening up. There’s a nice juxtaposition between the vibrant brightness we’ve seen so far, with its jokes and Carry On film-type ghosts and Ghoulies, and the darkness which is beginning to rise.

A cheeky git of an issue, giving you that little fix that will leave you Jonesing for another hit in a month’s time.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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