|SLAUGHTER BOWL, June 2021|
Fortunately, being dealt such a bad hand in the card game of life does mean that the swiftly convicted killer can now join the likes of Multiple Bob, Cannibal Deacon Makuth and Kasimir Rodchenko as a contestant in the “deadly battle royale where criminals riding dinosaurs attempt to annihilate each other for cash and prizes!” Such a surprising change of direction for the spectacled protagonist on Death Row gives the Lancashire-born writer an excellent opportunity to slowly fill in the details behind the gruesome sport to this graphic novel’s audience, whilst simultaneously providing the tale’s supporting cast, such as World Champion Mister Throat, with plenty of personality too.
In fact, this book’s build-up toward the start of the world-wide media event is arguably palpable, courtesy of Smith literally taking each bibliophile by the hand and walking them through the competitors’ lengthy preparations as they negotiate sponsorship deals, undergo an RNA-Infosquirt straight into the Hippocampus area of the brain, select their particular Prehistoric mount, and then finally equip the creature with all manner of lasers, automatic weaponry and missiles; “We need something light and manoeuvrable, but something that packs a punch too…”
Furthermore, the decision to present much of this information by way of a supposed broadcast by the Word Television News service allows the hype surrounding the Slaughter Bowl to become incredibly infectious, and ensures artist Paul Peart is given plenty of opportunity to pencil some excellent-looking camera shots of the various dinosaurs to be ridden in the race. These theatrical, often fast-paced news items also act as a great contrast to some of the more muted, rather introspective personal thoughts of Modest, and help highlight the quiet, inner turmoil taking place within Stanley’s mind amidst the utter hubbub of the frenzied, lucrative show surrounding him.
|Writer: John Smith, Artist: Paul Peart, and Letterer: Ellie De Ville|