Writer: Alan Grant
Artist: Robin Smith
Letters: Steve Potter
Release Date: 4th August 2021 (Digital Only)
Described by Rebellion as “a bleak highlight from the mid-Eighties, full of class warfare, gritty sci-fi, and big concepts”, this opening half of the next title in the Oxford-based publisher’s series of digital-only 2000 A.D. collections delivers an enthralling insight into just what humanity can expect from life in the distant future, should some brave souls decide to emigrate to a self-isolated dome partially buried into the side of an asteroid. However, rather than spend any time at all leading its audience by the hand through the opulent residences of such a civilization’s Class A citizens, Alan Grant’s narrative rather shockingly throws the reader head-first straight down to the very dark depths of Bader City’s depravity.
This enthralling insight into the ultra-violent world of Blue, and the button man’s brutal battle with a gang of cold-hearted murderers, proves an excellent way of immersing any perusing bibliophile straight into Bad City Blue, whilst simultaneously setting an incredibly fast pace for its plot. Indeed, within just a few turns of the page, the Scottish author has comprehensively established that this graphic novel’s lead protagonist represents the best interests of the decaying metropolis’ “decent folk”, and is perfectly disposed to follow their orders when it comes to gunning down any criminals who have become so big that they now threaten the floating space station’s natural order; “There may not be much of this city still fit for decent people – But what there is, it’s my job to keep that way!”
Cleverly though, the Bristol-born writer also soon establishes through the death of Gonza, that Blue’s beliefs might not actually be all that sound, and subsequently takes the hired gun on an exhilarating journey up to the very summit of the self-contained conurbation in order for him to discover first-hand just why nothing seems to be being done with all the breakages and leaks occurring throughout downside’s lower levels. This moment of realisation that the “real bad scummer” has been utterly abandoned by the same authoritarian figures he has been risking his life for provides an engrossing hook for this publication’s second half, especially when the robots who have been covertly ensuring that the Slumlands are blissfully ignorant of their masters’ mass-evacuation, decide to dispatch three more button men to specifically eliminate him.
Nevertheless, perhaps this comic’s biggest thrill-powered draw are co-creator Robin Smith’s incredibly dynamic layouts, which do a tremendous job of depicting the squalor within which Blue works. The British artist’s penciling of the shotgun-loving hitman fending off a pack of giant, flying sharks is debatably this book’s highlight, albeit the illustrator’s attention to detail when sketching a smack of multi-limbed mechanical Jellyfish makes them equally as impressive a feast for the eyes.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]