AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
4 out of 5
Slaine: The Horned God
(Art by Simon Bisley)
Having become King of his tribe, the warrior Slaine sets out to restore the Earth Goddess to her former glory by gathering her sacred weapons and defeating the immortal Lord Weird Slough Feg in order to become the embodiment of the goddess' consort; the Horned God.
To those unfamiliar with Slaine, he's a little bit like a Celtic Conan. However, that description does not really do him justice since he's certainly more of a schemer and, somewhat surprisingly, a feminist. Although inspired by the heroic fiction of Robert E. Howard and the like, Slaine is in many ways something of a rebellion against the tropes of that genre; almost an anti-Conan whose adventures are told with a wry sense of irony. A nod to all this occurs in this book when Slaine is proclaimed High King and Bisley has added a rather surly-looking Conan looking on disapprovingly.
Mills does a fantastic job of writing an impressively complex story, deeply rooted in real Gaelic and Celtic mythology, whilst still including all the over-the-top violence, gore and debauchery that you'd expect from 2000AD's more adult comics. As mentioned above, this book also includes a strong feminist narrative, with Slaine attempting to overthrow entrenched phallocentric religious views in order to return his people to the tempestuous bosom of the goddess.
Finally, I couldn't review this book without giving special mention to Bisley's stunning artwork. This story was the first time that 2000AD had an artist render a story completely in paintings rather than pencils and inks. The visceral, subtle depth it gives complements Mills' storytelling perfectly. After I finished reading this book, I thumbed backwards through it just to soak in Bisley's gorgeous artwork a second time.
4 out of 5