Worlds of pain

SFX - - Reviews - Alan Heb­den fol­lowed in the foot­steps of his father, Eric, who wrote nu­mer­ous strips for war comics like Com­mando.

re­leased 10 March Pub­lisher Re­bel­lion

Writ­ers Alan Heb­den, Pat Mills

Artists Ho­ra­cio Lalia, Pena, Al­fonso

Azpiri, Ce­sar Lopez Vera

The main at­trac­tion in this dou­ble bill of late-’ 70s Bri­tish SF comics about hu­mans stranded on hos­tile alien worlds is Planet Of The Damned, which ran in the first ten is­sues of 2000 AD sis­ter ti­tle Starlord. Its cred­ited writer – “RE Wright” – was ac­tu­ally Pat Mills in the first in­stal­ment, but Alan Heb­den there­after. It fol­lows the pas­sen­gers of a plane lost in the Ber­muda Tri­an­gle as they bat­tle for sur­vival on a planet of acid lakes, mur­der­ous mu­tants and stranded Nazis. Sac­ri­fic­ing sub­tlety for thrills and cheer­ful bru­tal­ity, its rest­less in­ven­tive­ness hangs off a sim­ple, sat­is­fy­ing quest nar­ra­tive.

Also in­cluded is Heb­den’s Death Planet, drawn by Ce­sar Lopez Vera, which ap­peared in 2000 AD around the same time. It uses a dif­fer­ent pulp SF sta­ple as its start­ing point – colonists head­ing for an­other planet crash on the wrong one – but there­after it fol­lows a sim­i­lar path, killing off the colonists at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. How­ever, there’s a twist ly­ing in wait, con­cern­ing a fig­ure from the past of “ace space woman” Lorna Varn. Of the two, Damned is more fun, but this is ter­rific stuff, typ­i­cal of the Bri­tish SF comics boom. Ed­die Rob­son

Well, he does taste like brandy bis­cuits.

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