Review – The Mean Arena Vol 1: All To Slay For [PART THREE] (Rebellion)

Publisher: Rebellion
Script Droid: Tom Tully
Art Droid: John Richardson
Lettering Droid: Pete Knight
Available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop & apps for iPadAndroid and Windows 10

You can read the other parts of our five-part deep dive into this mammoth release here:


Quite possibly the most memorable match from this early Eighties “Rollerball-meets Roy Of The Rovers” comic strip series, Tom Tully’s thoroughly absorbing depiction of the events surrounding the Slater Slayers’ challenge game against the Southampton Sharks justifiably forms the backbone of digital only release and arguably doesn’t let up until smart-mouthed commentator Kevin O’Connor provides a player profile piece on J.T. Venner during half-time. Up until this point, whether the spotlight be on either the housing estate-sized pitch or just Matt Tallon’s revenge-fuelled machinations, Tully is almost relentless in his depiction as to just how brutal and deadly a sport Street Football can be.

For starters, it seems even the wealthy world of Kosi-Flex owner Rollo Hartie can be highly dangerous, as the hover-chair bound magnate agrees a lucrative sponsorship deal with the Slayer just seconds after one of his hirelings has had his head turned to gory pulp testing out the tycoon’s experimental ram-suit. This “grotesque product of Twenty-First Century medical science” imbues everything disdainful about the sport as he contemptuously arranges for another minion to replace poor aforementioned Wilson without batting an eyelid. But the corpulent cyborg also demonstrates just how low Tallon will evidently go so as to ensure he can have his payback against the people who apparently caused his younger brother to die.

Equally as mercilessly mercenary is Matt’s behaviour in Southampton as he repeatedly goads his opponent’s squad-leader Jaws Jensen into mistake-after-mistake. Whether it be at a staged press conference where the star Striker slaps an abusive banner on his target’s forehead in front of an audience filled with the press, or later when his scoring talent drives the Sharks’ player to sacrifice one of this own team-mates between the deadly steel teeth of the Slayers’ gaping-mouth goal, Tully’s penmanship makes it abundantly clear that the former Louis Leopard is willing to wade in blood as deep as those unfortunates he is targeting; “You’re not interested in crowds! All you care about is nailing the people who helped put your kid brother Paul in his grave..!”

John Richardson’s artwork also helps enormously with this storyline’s excellent pacing, whether he’s illustrating a truly fascinating flashback sequence as to the history of Street Football, or pencilling the impressive new Slayer uniforms. Indeed, one of the match’s opening highlights is the way the artist sketches the physical ease with which “The Shadow” silkily evades the opposition’s best efforts to unsuccessfully bring him down, and having left three Sharks for dead, subsequently puts Mike Slater’s club into a well-deserved lead.

The writer of this piece was: Blax Kleric
Blax Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Review – The Mean Arena Vol 1: All To Slay For [PART FIVE] (Rebellion) – BIG COMIC PAGE
  2. Review – The Mean Arena Vol 1: All To Slay For [PART ONE] (Rebellion) – BIG COMIC PAGE
  3. Review – The Mean Arena Vol 1: All To Slay For [PART TWO] (Rebellion) – BIG COMIC PAGE
  4. Review – The Mean Arena Vol 1: All To Slay For [PART FOUR] (Rebellion) – BIG COMIC PAGE

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