Today I picked up my copy of 2000AD’s Button Man. Its been on my to read list ever since I put together the list of 30 comics that I wanted to read before turning thirty, and in fact has actually been something that I’ve wanted to read for the best part of 15 years after reading an entry about it in either 500 Great Comicbook Action Heroes or 500 Comicbok Villains (I forget which) but I was absolutely fascinated by the idea of “The Game”.
Button Man was written by John Wagner way back in 1992 (serialised through progs 780-791 of the weekly 2000AD), with the art provided by Arthur Ranson. The story is actually amazing in its simplicity, its a modern day gladiatorial competition which sees a former special forces operative Harry Exton (Harry Ex) getting involved with “The Game” a contest between killers with matches worked out by mysterious voices, each with their own financial stake in their chosen killers performance. The Game ends in two ways, either in death, or in taking another killers marker (one of three fingers, if they’ve already lost three, they die). The story charts Harry Ex’s beginnings after joining the game, right the way through to game over.
The art by Authur Ranson is very textured and detailed, with great use of shadow which helps convey the dark nature of the story, and this is matched nicely with the pastel shades that dominate the story for most of the collection and whilst I don’t usually single out specific panels and pages, I want to just show how awesome the the front cover (above) of this collection is, and is probably one of the reasons why The Button Man stuck in my head as something that I wanted to check out for over a decade and a half.