Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ro-Busters: The Disaster Squad of Distinction by Pat Mills, Kevin O'Neill, Dave Gibbons, Bryan Talbot, Alan Moore, and Steve Dillon

While the comics of today show a much more merged sense of storytelling, not that long ago the divide between American and British comics was very sharp, and the story telling in each made it very easy to identify, especially when it came to science fiction.  While American comics had Jack Kirby’s epic visions of great alien societies, Britain countered with the dense serials epitomized by 2000 A.D.  The comic brought readers Judge Dredd, the Rogue Trooper, and the A.B.C. Warriors, which all became staples of the genre.  However, many modern American comics fans have not been introduced to the original comics except through American remakes, which leaves one to wonder, what was it like when it first began?

This reviewer had previously read A.B.C Warriors, Volume 1: The Meknificent Seven, the first collected volume of A.B.C. Warriors comics, and had found it a tad on the slow side, but with strong enough team dynamics to make it a worthwhile read.  This series actually spawned out of a previous series, Ro-Busters, which, while appearing before the later A.B.C. Warriors, actually took place after the events of the later series.  Curiosity grabbed me, and I decided to check out this prequel/sequel series with the new collection, Ro-Busters: The Disaster Squad of Distinction.

Ro-Busters follows a couple of robots headed for the scrap heap, who are bought at the last second to be expendable members of a team designed to assist in major disasters.  While the story could almost have a Dirty Dozen feel to it, it never reaches that pinnacle, but ends up getting bogged down in bizarre disasters, glacially slow plots, and stilted writing.  Ro-Busters presents the beginning of a saga that would eventually evolve into one loved by many readers, but in its infancy it shows all of its faults with none of its successes.  A.B.C. Warriors clearly shows the growth of the writers.

Fans of British science fiction comics in the tradition of 2000 A.D. may enjoy this title, but be prepared to struggle through some major issues.

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