You can read the other parts of our five-part deep dive into this mammoth release here:
Firmly focused upon Matt Tallon’s account of “the last, terrifying game he played for St. Louis Leopards against Florida Fiends”, Tom Tully’s second storyline inside The Mean Arena Volume One: All To Slay For certainly provides its readers with a thoroughly compelling comprehension as to the flawed character of the legendary American Street Football Star. Indeed, considering just how arrogantly reckless the Slayer comes across from this publication’s printed pages, it probably isn’t all that surprising that some within this tale’s opposing team decide to set aside any notion of winning the actual ball-game in order to murder the “King of the Road” with a masonry-drill looted from a local builder’s yard.
Fortunately for this graphic novels’ sports fans however, this plot to rid Archie Sugrue of his main rival is enthrallingly intermixed with plenty of thrilling football action too, with Tully even going so far as to point out all the regulation differences between the English game and those from across the Pond; “That was another reason why I’d decided to quit Street Football – The Fliers. The latest rule change allowed two of them per squad…” These insights into just how the deadly game is played “American-style” really add an authentic air to some of the narrative’s more science-fiction based elements, and arguably consistently ensnare the audience into believing that they’re listening to a commentator broadcasting a play-by-play account of the Superleague title contest.
Perhaps this tale’s biggest draw though is the Arch-fiend’s ultimately unwise decision to play the Death-Card at the start of the match in an effort to win a million dollars by scoring. The fact Sugrue could be shot dead by the Leopards’ rifle-armed Longstop packs every appearance made by Archie with some extra tension, especially when the “Grexnix” manages to extract himself from the teeth of a shopping mall’s pedi-ramp and appears on the verge of outwitting Tallon with a stunning goal. Artist John Richardson’s ability to imbue this zarjaz sequence’s panels with plenty of pace will genuinely cause bibliophiles everywhere to momentarily hold their breath as a head-strong Matt ignores the sage advice of his manager and attempts to stop the badly crippled striker on his own at the very last second.