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Sláine The Horned God (Rebellion Publishing) Comic Review

    Ian Jane

  • Sláine The Horned God (Rebellion Publishing) Comic Review

    Released by: 2000 A.D.
    Released on: May 27th, 2020.
    Written by: Pat Mills
    Illustrated by: Simon Bisley
    Purchase From Amazon

    It's crazy that it was thirty-years ago that Slí¡ine The Horned God hit its peak in the pages of the UK's long running comics anthology, 2000 A.D., but you can't argue with the calendar. To celebrate that mile stone, 2000 A.D.'s reissued the collected edition of writer Pat Mills and artist Simon Bisley's iconic creation in a new large-sized hardcover version. Heavily influenced by Celtic mythology, the over the top series remains a high point in the long running history of 2000 A.D.

    For those who have yet to read the series, this 210 page edition takes readers back to the realm of Tí­r na ní“g, an ancient land ruled over by a group of druids known as The Drunes, who has pointed the entire land using their arcane magic. A warrior named Slí¡ine eventually gets fed up with The Drunes' rule, and sets out to make things right. But Slí¡ine has his advantages - not only is he able to go into a 'warp spasm' when his tempter flares, but he's also the man who wields a mighty axe dubbed Brainbiter, a formidable weapon, especially in his capable hands. But his quest will not be an easy one, he's got to reunite the four kings of Tí­r na ní“g so that he can access their weapons, while also preparing the Sessair tribe for battle. Along the way, he learns he has a child with a priestess named Niamh, deals with a sinister woman named Medb, fights a lot of monsters (sometimes without pants), deals with a massive angry dragon and loads more as the three-part story builds towards its excellent conclusion.

    For story, told by the masochistic, mead-guzzling Ukko The Dwarf (Slí¡ine's friend and companion), that takes place 'in a time where there is no time, in a place which is not a place,' Slí¡ine The Horned God is surprisingly literate. Mills' script is, not surprisingly if you're familiar with his work, quite literate, pulling in liberal doses from myths and legends but still very much putting its own odd spin on things. It is, at times, quite tense, occasionally very humorous as well - always an appreciable quality of Mills' writing (the guy has a great sense of humor). The storyline is peppered with all sorts of weird stuff - human sacrifices inside a giant wicker man, worm-worshipping Drunes, gory warp spasm visuals, loads of sexual tension, pterodactyl-like creatures, a cauldron of blood, temping red-headed nymphs, a giant moon-sword, a troublesome Earth Goddess and her weird 'son,' giant fanged beasts and plenty more.

    Bisley's art, which is quite bonkers, is often laid out on full page spreads (especially when the 'warp spasm' chimes in) and the series is all the better for it. And then he'll go a few pages with nine uniform panels per page, which creates a weird contrast. There are pages devoid of text boxes and pages full of them, again creating a visual contrast that makes turning each page a bit of a weird adventure (I don't get out much). It gets surreal in spots, and is always overly exaggerated, but never less than awesome to look at. It's bloody, hyper-violent, sexy, over the top and very exaggerated but not without a sense of really strong detail and a unique ability for original layouts. The art can often times perfectly compliment Mills' aforementioned sense of humor. Slí¡ine might looked like a late-eighties metal version of Conan The Barbarian, clearly a series that influenced this one, but damn it all if Bisley's crazy style isn't perfect for this series.

    When the comic itself ends, there's a pretty great gallery comprised of 2000AD covers and a few other bits and pieces that Bisley crafted. No other extra content, but it's still great to have all of the Slí¡ine material collected here.

    Legends are eternal, and Slí¡ine is pretty legendary. Fans of off-kilter fantasy and deranged sword and sorcery stories can consider this one highly recommended!

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