Monday, 20 January 2014

'Indigo Prime: Anthropocalypse' - Smith, Carter, Bagwell (Rebellion)

‘Indigo Prime: Anthropocalypse’… Now there’s a title that I will be copying and pasting over the course of this post :o) This is a book that has been sat on my comic book shelf since just after the old blog closed its doors and it finally came out for a read as I spent most of the weekend with Elana asleep on me. There is no better way to spend a weekend than to have a baby sleep on you but if you don’t have something to read then you will go crazy very quickly! One of the things that I love about 2000AD (where ‘Indigo Prime’ sprang from) is that the stories, although mostly sci-fi, all try to push the boundaries in different ways. This was definitely the case here with a tale where the boundaries of the multiverse itself are pushed and prodded quite vigourously… Being a fan of Michael Moorcock’s work, any kind of multiverse/parallel worlds tale automatically appeals and I spent a very enjoyable chunk of the weekend trying to get my head around just what the hell was going on. My brain hurt a little bit, afterwards, but it was a good kind of hurt…

There are an infinite number of realities within the multiverse. With the risk dimensional instability as an ever-present threat, these parallel worlds all need to be managed; enter Indigo Prime, troubleshooting reality agents. So what do Indigo Prime want with Lance Corporal Danny Redman? Why is a Neanderthal walking around in modern Britain? How do you catch a dimension-jumping Bewilderbeast? And where in the multiverse is Spacesick Steve? All of these questions and more are answered in this mind-warping adventure.

I’ve got to be in just the right mood for it but I do love a book where things start out looking like they’re going to go one way and then proceed to head off in another direction entirely. This is what ‘Anthropocalypse’ is all about as ‘Dead Eyes’ starts off looking like a standard military thriller (with a hint of the occult) and then, just when you think you’ve got your head round it, turns into an ‘Indigo Prime’ mad rampage across all of time and space in all its multiple parallel dimensions. I loved the timing with which the story switches artists here, going from Lee Carter’s gritty (slightly downbeat) style to Edmund Bagwell’s more flamboyant tone which perfectly captures the mad chaos of the multiverse and some of the weird stuff that lives in it. And there is some properly scary stuff there as well, I’m hoping for more ‘Indigo Prime’ at some point soon so I can see a little bit more of the Nihilist amongst others.

It was around about this point though that my head started to hurt with the mad artwork slamming into a whole host of outlandish names that Smith had clearly challenged himself to come up with. I can almost see him saying to himself, ‘Spawnbroker, that sounds cool… Now let’s see if I can beat that with the next name.’ This brand of naming convention makes for a world that comes across as rich and multi-layered. It also makes for a world that can come across a little inaccessible, especially when you realise (like I did) that the world of ‘Indigo Prime’ has been going on for a lot longer than just this volume. Don’t let that put you off though, the story is relatively self-contained and once you let the made up names just get on with it ‘Anthropocalypse’ is actually a very easy tale to follow. Smith clearly enjoys working in this universe (although you wouldn’t have guessed it from the introduction, this tale was a long time coming apparently) and fills it full of plot twists and characters that you may not like but I couldn’t help but get behind. The Indigo Prime operatives may be as disreputable as they come but they are a team and will have each other’s backs, even if it means… Well, I’m not going to say because I think this book is a lot of fun and worth you picking up if you come across a copy. There’s some stuff that you need to see for yourselves, it’s pretty damn explosive at the end.

‘Anthropocalypse’ takes some getting into but is worth the effort and not just for the garishly drawn panels of giant insects chewing on large parts of America. It’s about the weirdness at the end of the universe but it’s also about friendship as well and that’s always a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

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