Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Jackboot & Ironheel #2 - IDW Publishing

JACKBOOT & IRONHEEL No. 2, September 2016
Featuring a slavering green-eyed killer hound, some terrifying multi-tentacled creature at the bottom of a lake, and the putrefying living corpse of Muggenthaler, Issue Two” of “Jackboot & Ironheel” genuinely seems to live up to its creator’s aspiration as being a fantasy title packed full of “unearthly horrors”. However, in order to reach such scintillating supernatural shenanigans this twenty-two page periodical’s audience must first sadly, endure an incredibly ponderous start which follows both the “sinister” ‘SS’ officer Kommandant Von-Kleist as he bemoans the “decommissioning” of “this damned prison” and Gunter's illogical determination to allow Eddie Neale to try and play football with Sister Evangeline inside the prisoner of war’s cramped cell.

This tedious opening third really must have tested the patience of any causal bibliophile who picked the ‘creator-driven comic’ up from the magazine spinner rack, and arguably contains some truly disinteresting and unconvincing dialogue as the captive West Ham striker somehow persuades his German guard that instead of fighting one another their two countries should actually “sort out their differences on the football field… Just eleven men playing against eleven… fair and square!” It’s certainly hard to believe this thirty second conversation would not only convince Gunter that the Englishman isn’t his enemy, but subsequently influence the church’s Mother Superior to help the “number nine” escape over her chapel’s roof after she had previously warned her nuns not to get “too involved with the prisoners.”

Luckily, once doomed sentries Muller and Wilhelm decide the ‘best time’ to go looking for their superior officer’s hound in the nearby woodland is at night, the freelance illustrator’s script transforms itself into a thoroughly enjoyable, if not slightly clich├ęd, read. Indeed, the dog’s savaging of his would-be-rescuer’s intestines is just the start of a ghastly gore-fest which sees the tail-gunner swimming for his life away from buoyant zombies and a crewman aboard a Nazi gunboat being dragged down into the cold murky depths by a multi-limbed monstrosity; “I have you, Joachim, fear not! You’re safe… with meee!”

Perhaps the most disconcerting element of this comic though, is Millgate’s highly stylized, yet amateurish-looking, breakdowns. Often wooden and featuring the most rudimentary of details, the World War Two buff’s overly angular figures consistently ‘break’ any sort of spell which his narrative was trying to weave, and it truly appears to be a shame that none of the “amazing artists” lined up “to do all of the variant covers” ultimately materialised so as to reduce the burden of Max “writing, pencilling, inking and colouring the whole thing myself.”
The variant 'subscription' cover art of "JACKBOOT & IRONHEEL" No. 2 by Max Millgate


  1. After the famine of "Brown Bag" posts we can now enjoy the feast! You're certainly cranking out the reviews, Simon. Two in one day must be a record. I'm still undecided about this title but I'm happy to be guided by your reviews as to whether to buy the TPB (assuming there is one for it) or not.

    1. Thanks Bryan. Yesterday's post was a little late, and today's a little early, hence the 'double-dose'. I do have a bit of a review backlog currently (which I'm actually hoping to increase over the next few days), so there should be daily comics at least up until the end of the year. I can't guarantee the quality of the issues I'm reading though ;-)

      I was hoping to finish off this mini-series but appear to have inadvertently missed #3 (as I own #4), so I've ordered it and will review the final two comics as soon as it arrives. I think as a tpb this will probably work a little better than as a comic book, and if you feel you can accommodate the artwork then this is good stuff imho.