Comic Review: 2000AD’s Button Man The Killing Game

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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.

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Button Man: The Killing Game

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.

Comic Review: The Order, Die Mensch Maschine

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The Order is one of the 30 comics that I want to read before I turn thirty next year. Originally published as a serial in the British weekly 2000ad (Progs 1912-1922) the order follows the story of Anna Kohl journey to discover the fate of her missing father, she discovers his secret society, the order, run by a robot from the future, and 3 steadfast warriors, and a wolf. The Order is dedicated to the prevention of an alien incursion by extra dimensional Wurms, that has been prophesied for centuries, by the order and the robot Ritterstahl.

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The story moves pretty fast as is the nature of these serialised pieces that I’ve come to expect from 2000AD. And its fast flowing nature works really well to drive the story forward. Its 13th century setting is an interesting plot point as it manages to get in a few little historical references, like the actions of the Teutonic Knights, and the architecture of Prague. Ken W manages to create a fluid and accessible new world where the reader feels right at home, and whilst you may have a few questions, that is the nature of progressing literature.

The art by John Burns is absolutely fantastic, both the pencil lines and painted feel really add to the quality of the story. The art feels 100 percent right for the story, and its nice to see that text and textural merger that just sits beautifully there on the page. And whilst this book does contain two different outings for the order, I for one cant wait for more.

The Best Of 2000 AD Part Six

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2000 AD is a weekly British science fiction-orientated comic magazine. As a comics anthology it serialises stories in each issue (known as “progs”) with over 2050 progs to date, you can bet your sweet backside that there have been some great stories out there. Following on from Part One, Part TwoPart Three (the first Dredd special) ,Part Four (The second Dredd special), and Part Five (The third Dredd special) this post is going to look at some of the stories that have spun out of 2000AD over the course of its existence.

Zenith 

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Berlin, 1945: British war hero Maximan lies defeated at the feet of German ‘Ubermensch’ Masterman. His victory is short-lived, as the allies drop a nuclear bomb on their location, killing both men. Over forty years later, the world has become alltoo familiar with the existence of superhumans. Now there is only one left – Zenith – an egotistical pop star who is anything but heroic. Unfortunately for mankind, dark gods from another dimension known as the ‘Many-Angled Ones’ have sent Masterman’s twin to take over the planet and only Zenith and a small number of depowered heroes from the ‘Flower Power’ generation stand a chance of defeating him!

Nikolai Dante 

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Nikolai Dante: lover, thief, rogue, legend. Bio-bonded with an alien Weapons Crest which grants him amazing superhuman abilities, Dante lives life on the edge in a dangerous future Russia where Tsar Vladimir the Conqueror is on the brink of all-out war with the powerful Romanov clan. Can Nikolai remain neutral, carefree and more importantly alive, when a life-changing secret about his past is revealed?

Mazeworld

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30 years after the British parliament suspended the death penalty, the gallows have returned and Adam Cadman finds himself being the first person to be hanged since 1964. But as his life drains away, Adam is transported to a strange, new dimension, populated by warriors and mystical beasts: the bizarre Mazeworld.

Ballad Of Halo Jones

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When Halo Jones grows bored with her life in The Hoop — a futuristic slum where jobs are scarce and excitement is non-existent — she yearns to escape and see the galaxy. But in a city where dangerous riots happen at the slightest provocation and even going to the shops is an ordeal requiring careful planning and a handful of zen-inducing-grenades, the price of freedom might prove to be more than she bargained for!

Zombo

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When flight 303 crash lands on the lethal Death World known as Chronos, all is not looking good for the surviving passengers. Enter Zombo, a top secret goverment experiment,  part zombie, part human ghoul, with a taste for living flesh and aspirations of pop stardom!

The Best Of 2000 AD Part Five (The Big Dredd Special Part Three)

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2000 AD is a weekly British science fiction-orientated comic magazine. As a comics anthology it serialises stories in each issue (known as “progs”) with over 2050 progs to date, you can bet your sweet backside that there have been some great stories out there. Following on from Part One, Part TwoPart Three (the first Dredd special) and Part Four (The second Dredd special) this post is going to look at some of the stories that have spun out of 2000AD’s longest serial. A Judge Dredd story has been in 2000AD since Prog Number #2 and has even branched out into his own megazine, so here’s a look at some of the best stories to spin out from the Dredd Verse.

Mean Machine

Mean Machine

Born and raised in the Cursed Earth as a member of the notorious Angel gang, ‘Mean Angel’ (aka the Mean Machine) is one of the most dangerous criminals to ever plague Judge Dredd s Mega-City One. With his mechanical claw and head dial, which amps up his anger and aggression from Mean to Brutal, Mean Angel is one of Judge Dredd’s toughest adversaries – a headbutting psychopath with a penchant for destruction!

The Dark Judges 

The Dark Judges

Deadworld was once a planet similar to Earth, until Judge Death and his brothers Fear, Fire and Mortis deemed that as only the living could break the law, life itself should be a crime. As the Dark Judges set out to bring extinction to this parallel world, Judge Fairfax and a family of farmers attempt to escape the chaos. Is it possible for the living to evade to cold, icy grasp of Death?

Lawless

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The backwater planet of 43 Rega has spent five years recovering from an invasion of aliens known as the Zhind. isolated and a hotbed for trouble makers, Badrock is an colony township desperate for a strong law enforcer to take charge. Enter Colonial. Marshal Meta Lawson. Tough, surly and determined, Lawson seems to be ideal for the role. But is this law-woman exactly who she claims to be…?

Missionary Man

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The Cursed Earth is a radiation-wasted landscape spanning most of what was once known as America. Only the toughest of the tough, the meanest of the mean, most rotten, evil beings on the planet can survive there… Now, one man has come to bring law this unlawful place. Some say he was a Judge, most say that he’s a madman. Armed with a pistol and a bible, Preacher Cain would say that he is a force for law and order.

The Banzai Battalion 

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In a city like Mega-City One where 400 million citizens are crowded into huge housing blocks, free space is at a premium. Gardens, greenery and uninhabited space is extremely rare and only available for the wealthiest citizens. Naturally, these areas need to be protected at all costs – enter the Banzai Battalion – tiny droids who will take on anything that threatens their rooftop garden domain!

The Best Of 2000 AD Part Four (The Big Dredd Special Part Two)

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2000 AD is a weekly British science fiction-orientated comic magazine. As a comics anthology it serialises stories in each issue (known as “progs”) with over 2050 progs to date, you can bet your sweet backside that there have been some great stories out there. Following on from Part One, Part Two, and Part Three (the first Dredd special) this post is going to look at some of the stories that have spun out of 2000AD’s longest serial. A Judge Dredd story has been in every 2000AD prog since Prog Number #2 and has even branched out into his own megazine, so here’s a look at some of the best stories to spin out from the Dredd Verse.

Hondo City Law

Hondo City

Hondo-City is the Japanese equivalent of Mega-City One; a large, sprawling urban mass policed by Judges. Culturally, however, it is totally different. While on the forefront of modern technology, the Hondo-citizens remain tied to the roots and customs of feudal Japan, including the way in which the women are treated as inferior to the male populace. Though the Samurai-like Judge-Inspectors are seen to be in charge, the Yakuza crime Syndicates still have a hold on power.

Brit Cit Noir

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The British equivalent of Mega-City One, Brit-Cit is a crowded metropolis that sprawls across southern England, the future Scotland of Cal-Hab and the South Welsh Peninsula. Buttressed by its own ‘Cursed Earth’, it is a bizarre vision of Britain old and new. Even before the Atomic Wars, Britain had more ghosts and ghouls per square miles than anywhere in the world – and now Brit-Cit is the focal point for an abundance of weird, occult occurrences.

Devlin Waugh

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2114. Our world and the Mega-Cities that are home to the last vestiges of humanity are constantly preyed upon by bestial forces from beyond the realms of decency. Thankfully such things are kept at bay by spiritual envoys employed by Vatican City, such as Devlin Waugh a Brit-Cit born bon viveur dandy and jolly good fellow to boot. When Vatican precognitive telepaths predict a horrific presence at the underwater prison of Aquatraz, Devlin is sent in to investigate and uncovers an uncompromising evil which will cause him to cancel elevenses and throw away the Queensbury rulebook in order to survive!

Insurrection

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Mega-City One mining colony K Alpha 61 has declared independence from the Big Meg and renamed itself Liberty. This act of defiance has angered the Justice Department’s Special Judicial Squad. In a bid to stop further colonies from rebelling, war is inevitable…

Chopper

Chopper

Marlon ‘Chopper’ Shakespeare has come a long way from being a wall-scrawling juve in Mega-City One. Having mastered the art of Sky Surfing, Chopper became a hero of the people by winning Supersurf 7 and escaping the Judges to compete in Supersurf 10. But a narrow defeat to Jug McKenzie and a close encounter with Judge Dredd sent Chopper out into the Radback. Now he’s back and intent on re-claiming his title and keeping his freedom.

The Best Of 2000 AD Part Three (The Big Dredd Special Part One)

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2000 AD is a weekly British science fiction-orientated comic magazine. As a comics anthology it serialises stories in each issue (known as “progs”) with over 2050 progs to date, you can bet your sweet backside that there have been some great stories out there. Following on from Part One and Part Two this post is going to look at some of the stories that have spun out of 2000AD’s longest serial. A Judge Dredd story has been in every 2000AD issue since Prog Number #2 and has even branched out into his own megazine, so here’s a look at some of the best stories to spin out from the Dredd Verse.

Judge Dredd

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Judge Dredd, as the title suggests, it focuses on the work life, trials and tribulations of Judge Joe Dredd. (read my review of the first 50 odd adventures here)

Shimura

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In his first appearance Inspector Shimura was pretty much a Japanese equivalent of Judge Dredd. In all stories thereafter however the character has become a ronin having survived an attempt on his life by a traitor in the Judiciary, and works vigilante-style.

Red Razors

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Formerly a violent thug, Judge Razors – now a violent thug with authority – is part of an experiment designed to transform Sov-Block Two’s most savage criminals into the most brutal judges the city has ever known. (read my review here)

Lenny Zero

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It takes a special kind of criminal to survive on the mean streets of Mega-City One. Here are some of the best. Meet Lenny Zero; an ex undercover Judge whose always one step ahead of the game, playing mobsters and the law alike.

Judge Anderson

Judge Anderson

Judge Anderson is one of the many spin off that came out of 2000 AD’s flagship strip and focuses on the psychic talents of Judge Anderson and the PSI division from Mega City One’s Justice Department.

The Best Of 2000 AD Part Two

The Best Of 2000 AD Part One (1).png2000 AD is a weekly British science fiction-orientated comic magazine. As a comics anthology it serialises stories in each issue (known as “progs”) with over 2050 progs to date, you can bet your sweet backside that there have been some great stories out there. Following on from yesterdays post, here are some more of the stand out strips that are just spilling with quintessential thrill power.

ABC Warriors

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The A.B.C. Warriors are a team of war robots designed to withstand ‘Atomic’, ‘Bacterial’ and ‘Chemical’ warfare. They were built to take part in the long-running Volgan War. Each robot has a distinctive personality, often one programmed by its human creators, but each warrior is more or less imbued with free will.

Nemesis The Warlock 

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Nemesis the Warlock focuses on a fire-breathing demonic aliens, fights against the fanatical Torquemada, Grand Master of the Terran Empire in Earth’s distant future, and his attempts to exterminate all alien life.

Flesh: The Dino Files

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Think that a meteorite collision with our planet was responsible for making the dinosaurs become extinct? Think again! By the 23rd Century, man has drained the planet’s resources bare, but thanks to time-travel technology, the Trans-Time Corporation send rangers – such as cowboy Earl Reagan – back to the days when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. The rangers round up these magnificent creatures and blast them back into the future so we can get real flesh back on the menu! (why not check out what I thought of it here)

Button Man

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Harry Exton is a professional killer – a former soldier. But soldiers-for-hire are a dying breed and the work is drying up. So Harry returns to England, and civvy street. Until a friend tells him about the killing game. Modern-day gladiatorial contests – man against man, usually to the death. A game of murder played for high stakes. A game arranged by mysterious backers known as the ‘Voices’. For a professional killer like Harry, the rewards are plentiful – but once the game begins, will he be able to walk away? (why not check out what I thought of it here)

Slaine 

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Tir Nan Og the land of the young is a violent world, home to warring tribes who worship gods both benign and malevolent. Sláine Mac Roth, Wielder of the axe brainbiter  is, among other things, a master of the ‘warp spasm’ channelling the mystical power of the Earth through his body to become a mighty, monstrous beserker!