Graphic Novel Reviews

Strontium Dog - The Kreeler Conspiracy

(2008) John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra, Rebellion, 13.99, trd pbk, pp??, ISBN 978-1-905-43778-8


This is the latest set of Strontium Dog adventures from Britain's, nay the Galaxy's, greatest SF comic 2000AD compiled into a single graphic novel. The Strontium Dog strip actually began back in 1977 as part of the comic Starburst which after a couple of years merged with 2000AD. Set in the future, the strontium refers to a radioactive isotope from nuclear fallout that resulted in human mutants. Shunned by everyone a mutant's life was not a happy one. However a few got by becoming bounty hunters: though still loathed by normal humans the Strontium Dog bounty hunters at least had a regular income.

Johnny Alpha was one such bounty hunter. His mutation was in the form of his eyes which gave him x-ray vision and certain telepathic abilities. Johnny, together with his Viking - don't ask, it is a long story - companion Wulf go after the scum of Earth no matter where they may hide out among the stars.

The stories in this collection were originally printed in 2000AD in 1999-2000, 2002 and 2003.. The title story, 'The Kreeler Conspiracy', actually relates to a broader story arc that is central to Johnny Alpha's origins and as such this makes this graphic collection and important one for 2000AD devotees.   The back story is this: Nelson Kreelman, when he was the Third president of Earth, fermented hatred against mutants and sought to have them exterminated as part of a bid to purify the human race. Now today he is imprisoned on a distant world. However there are moves to free him...

The second story 'Roadhouse' takes us into more routine Stront Dog territory. When Johnny and Wulf home in on some fugitives, little do they realise that the lonely roadhouse bar is a trap: inside is a dimension warp that takes them to a chamber with ten doors. Behind each is a different world with their respective trials for our two protagonists.  '; This story is drawn largely in black and white just as the original strip was back in its early days. However there is occasional use of vivid red.

The final tale, 'The tax dodge' is a comedy adventure. Johnny gets assessed for tax and so has to come up with some creative accounting. With an accountant in tow, he goes after fugitives always mindful to keep his receipts.

Jonathan Cowie

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