About the Author:
Born in Bristol, England in 1949, Alan Grant has been a bank teller, a journalist, a freelance writer and, since 1978, a comics writer.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
2.8 out of 5
(Art by Arthur Ranson)
A crossover story in which a gang of criminals seeks the secret of a lost civilisation. In pursuit of the criminals, and the young man they've ensnared in their plot, are Batman and the mysterious Phantom Stranger.
There's not a lot to write home about with this book, to be perfectly honest. It's not bad, it's just that there's nothing that feels fresh or engaging about it. The old 'secret of a lost civilisation' premise is as old as the hills and neither Batman nor the Phantom Stranger add anything new to the cliche, seeming more like spectators within their own story than the protagonists.
Also, on the subject of the titular characters, Batman and the Phantom Stranger make for a terrible crossover in principle. Batman is a detective of reason and a crimefighter of human physical limits, whilst the Stranger is a completely mysterious being whose metaphysical powers aren't really defined. They're polar opposites and instead of making an interesting contrast, they just clash tonally.
2 out of 5
Judge Dredd: Raptaur
(Art by Dean Ormston)
When a series of brutal killings take place in Mega-City One, Judge Dredd soon discovers that an alien killing-machine is stalking the streets, hungry for prey.
There's not a whole lot to say about this book; basically it just mashes up the Alien and the Predator and has Dredd go toe-to-toe with the result. There's not much depth or complexity to the story and, considering the fact that other comics have Dredd facing off against both the Predator and the Aliens, there's not much originality either. Now, I'm sure those stories came later than this one, but what would you rather read, Dredd versus the real deal or Dredd versus a transparent knock-off?
Basically a pretty disappointing and derivative outing for my favourite futuristic lawman.
2 out of 5
Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection - Psi-Judge Anderson - Shamballa
(Art by Arthur Ranson)
This book follows Cassandra Anderson, a telepathic Psi-Judge, as she confronts a series of supernatural phenomena that threaten Mega City One. Among the threats she faces are a race of ancient subterranean giants, a ruthless tycoon with seven minds inside his head and Satan himself.
Although I'm a big fan of 2000AD's best-known character, Dredd, I've also always very much enjoyed stories which featured Psi-Judge Anderson. Where Dredd is implacable and unambiguous, Cass Anderson is a character who exhibits all the same doubts and fears as we do but whose dedication to being a Judge is never truly lessened in the end. To my mind she is perhaps the best female character in comics and here we're treated to a number of plots with her as the central character.
Through the first half of the book Anderson is suffering a crisis of faith, both literally and figuratively, which leads her to beat the crap out of a particularly fascistic and mysogynistic Judge. We then get a story which opens with her role in the Justice Department under review and the decision of whether she is allowed to continue working as a Judge falls into the hands of one Joseph Dredd. At this turning point Anderson has to confront the Devil himself, with the fate of all humanity hanging in the balance. Suffice to say that by the end of the tale there's a great little scene in which Dredd reassures her that they are, in fact, friends.
As well as loving Anderson's character, I really enjoyed reading these stories that mixed the metaphysical world with the grim brutality of Mega City One's dystopian future. Not one for those who just want to see the Judges taking down creeps, but definitely a great addition to the 2000AD mythos.
4 out of 5
Superman Versus The Terminator: Death To The Future
(Art by Steve Pugh and Mike Perkins)
There's nothing particularly clever about the premise of this book. Sarah and John Connor, on the run from the Terminators, enter Metropolis and fall under the protection of Superman. Then, by an unlikely twist of fate, Superman is pulled into the future where he joins an aging Man of Steel in fighting Skynet's forces. Back in the present day Supergirl and Superboy are left to battle the Terminators there.
Basically this book is about the Super-trio mixing it up with a bunch of robots, with which there's nothing wrong per se. However, I couldn't help but feel that something more could've been done with such a major crossover. Plus there's the fact that I've never liked Superman anyway (there's no edge to him, he's too much the perfect All-American Ideal to be accessible).
The concept of having Superman's enemy The Cyborg form an alliance with the Terminators was a nice touch, but just not enough to make this book worthwhile.
3 out of 5
Collaborations & Anthologies:
Batman: Featuring Two-Face And The Riddler (here)
Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement On Gotham (here)
Judge Dredd: Mechanismo (here)
Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection - Oz (here)
Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection - The Cursed Earth (here)
Judge Dredd's Crime File Volume One (here)
Judge Dredd's Crime File Volume Two (here)
Lobo: The Last Czarnian (here)
Return To The Amalgam Age Of Comics: The DC Collection (here)
The Batman/Judge Dredd Files (here)