Slaine the Celtic barbarian has been one of 2000AD‘s most enduring characters, producing some epic stories, including the acclaimed Slaine The King and The Horned God sagas. Created by writer Pat Mills and first appearing in the pages of 2000AD in 1983, Slaine has had different eras defined by different artists. The early days were masterminded by illustrators such as Mick McMahon and Massimo Bellardinelli, with people like Glenn Fabry, Simon Bisley, Dermot Power, and, most recently, Clint Langley taking on the later chronicles.
2014 saw the latest relaunch for the character, as artist Simon Davis was brought on board for a new era. Contrasting sharply with previous incumbent Langley’s photo-manipulated artwork, Davis gives us a Slaine that’s far more earthy and grungy than we’ve had for years. The palate of browns and greens, and loose energetic linework and brushstrokes, are more reminiscent of the very early days of the character.
Mills’ story is classic Slaine, as the warrior finds himself travelling across Ancient Britain to the isle of Monadh to rescue the latest woman to catch our warrior’s eye, encountering, of course, plenty of fighting along the way.
It’s worth mentioning that this is just Book 1 of the multi-part Brutania Chronicles, which gives the plot room to breathe and develop. Mills’ story features plenty of vivid imagery and fight scenes, for which Davis’ has the opportunity to lavishly illustrate in many colourful double-page spreads. Just don’t expect everything to be neatly concluded at the end!
This collected edition also includes introductions from Mills and Davis, a full covers gallery, and around 20 pages of Davis’ sketches and designs for both characters and pages, showing the pencils, inking and colouring processes.
All in all, this is one of 2000AD‘s finest Slaine collections to date, and essential reading for fans.