Comic Review 133 // Strontium Dog: Traitor to his Kind

Well, I had a lot of fun with Glimmer Rats last week. I found myself missing Strontium Dog, and I felt I had to get back to it. I have completed the official Johnny Alpha arc, but the creative team Wagner and Ezquerra felt like they still had stories to tell. So they managed to squeeze out a few more for us fans. This leads us nicely to the first novel Strontium Dog: Traitor to his kind.

Johnny Alpha – the mutant bounty hunter with the X-ray eyes – has been given his toughest job to date. The mutant underground has kidnapped King Clarkie The Second and the British government want Alpha to secure his release.

Finding himself working for the norms, Johnny must venture deep into the mutant ghetto and deep into his own past. As Johnny unravels a plot to start a new war with the mutants he must ask himself the toughest question. In order to save his own kind can Johnny Alpha betray them?

Written by John Wagner (A History of Violence) with art by Carlos Ezquerra (Preacher), this Thrill-packed tome brings you 2000 AD at its very best!

Right where to begin? The action in this graphic novel seems to take place after The Kreeler Conspiracy. These comics were published between 2000 and 2009 and lucky for us are all written by John Wagner and drawn by the talented but sadly past Carlos Ezquerra. Also with it being a modern piece, it is all fully coloured and a real treat to the eyes.

There are a lot of tales and characters to take in with this book, but rather than break down every story I am just going to go over the highlights. The first tale starred Kid Knee. This is a model I have been eyeing up from Warlord Games, so to read his story was a true highlight for me if a little sad and you can't help but feel a little down after this story. Good opening piece and a telling example of how the theme of this book will go.

The next tale is a prison break job, with our duo coming to the aid of Headly Foot, an ex- SD agent with an ankle and foot on his head. Having been found guilty of crimes he faces prison time until Johnny and Wulf rescue him. But are they being honourable or do they have other motives. Solid enough tale but nothing that really gripped me or inspired me.

Then we hit the title tale - Traitor to his Kind. In this story, King Clarkie has been kidnapped by a group of mutant terrorists. Due to his connection to the English government, Alpha is called in to assist in finding the missing king. This is such an enjoyable read with Johnny Alpha placed in a no-win scenario. If he helps the government he will be forever titled a traitor by his own kind, whilst if he chooses to not help he will have to watch another mutant vs norm war take place. Unsurprisingly Johnny chooses to save the king and become branded a traitor. There are a lot of twists in this comic that I won't reveal, but it is hard to watch it all happen, at times you find yourself wanting to slap people and wake them up to the tragic happenings around them. Amazing story and well worth the price of the issue alone.

We are treated to a fallout story, showcasing how Johnny is treated in the aftermath of the main story, it is a sad state of affairs, to be honest. It didn't really add much and felt a filler piece, but at the same time felt very Strontium Dog. With the duo heading off to claim a bounty with no epicness about. It is a very straightforward bounty job that gets messed up along the way.

The last story; The Glum Affair. Actually feels like a true follow-up to the Traitor to his kind story. As we revisit Glum, who is now in prison awaiting to be executed for killing a policeman. In an attempt to speak to his old friend, Johnny is meet with poisonous contempt and is forced to rescue/kidnap Glum to help prove his innocence. During their time on the run, Glum begins to realize his error and by the end of the story is praising Johnny Alpha once more. The true highlight of the story is the trio visiting a space station that is built as a Las Vegas in space, lots of gambling and criminals are aboard here and the bounty hunting fun soon takes over again, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. This was a very strong ending for the comic and second only to the main story.

Overall the comic made a good job of showcasing Johnny Alpha as a stand-alone character, even when around his own kind. It comes across as aloof and arrogant but is in fact just a lonely lifestyle for the bounty hunter. We then watch what little life he has crumbled away, before getting the redemption tale that was needed. It is a great reworking of the Strontium timeline and I am excited to dive into the Blood Moon graphic novel next.

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