Review by David Ferguson

Art by Chris O’Halloran, Kevin Keane, Alan Corbett, Róisín Hanley, Cethan Leahy, Alan Hurley, Liam Cuthbert
Written by Chris O’Halloran, Emmett O’Brien, Colin O’Mahoney
Colours by Billy Browne
Cover by Will Sliney
Pin-ups by Tommie Kelly, Stephen Mooney, Eoin Coveney, Paddy Lynch
Foreword by Michael Carroll

This is the first time I’ve had a stab at reviewing an anthology so bear with me. For a start, this is a great first outing for this group and they did so much right the first time. It was great seeing established creators like Will Sliney (who did the cover) helping to give this book and it includes an excellent foreword by Michael Carroll, who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to anthologies with his experience working on 2000AD. I’m going to steal a couple of points from him: “one nice thing about anthologies is that there’s something for everyone” and “it’s a heck of a lot tougher to get… story across in only a handful of pages”. I think both of these apply to this collection. I liked a lot of the stories but they weren’t all my cup of tea but I think all of them managed to get their story across.

Last Rebel (Chris O’Halloran) – An apocalyptic story. It didn’t really click with me and I’m entirely sure why.

The Devil’s Right Hand (art by Kevin Keane, colours by Billy Browne, written by Colin O’Mahoney) – A western. Again, not my kind of story. It takes a really good western to win me over. This wasn’t a run of the mill cowboy story as it was trying to get an idea across that mostly worked for me. The art also worked well for me.

Team-up (art by Alan Corbett, written by Colin O’Mahoney) – The only superhero story. An interesting take on the superhero/sidekick dynamic. I liked the colours used for the dusk scene.

Naturally It’s A Lie (art by Róisín Hanley, written by Emmet O’Brien) – A “silent” comic about nature. Roisin Hanley’s art style really suits the subject. Emmet O’Brien shows his range in this anthology and seems to be able to write to the strengths of his artist.

On-line Dating (art by Cethan Leahy, written by Emmet O’Brien) – A fun little story with an appropriate art style and I learned a new word.

In Her Classical Element (art by Adam Hurley, written by Emmet O’Brien) – I am a fan of Adam Hurley from his Lady Babylon work and this is another case of writing to the artist’s strengths. It’s a kind of mythological story that could easily have been found within the pages of Sandman (not that it is copying Neil Gaiman in any way, it is just my way of getting my point across).

The Drawing Room Scene (art by Liam Cuthbert, written by Emmet O’Brien, lettered by Colin O’Mahoney) – Perfectly suited to an anthology, it has unique idea that works in the pages it has. (That’s not to say it couldn’t be expanded upon in a series). Using the reduced page count as a plus. My first exposure to Liam Cuthbert’s art and I was impressed.

In all I liked the book. If I had a few changes to make, I would have made it more obvious when Last Rebel was ending its parts (maybe with a “continued”) especially when The Devil’s Right Hand followed as Chris O’Halloran has a similar enough style to Kevin Keane (for me) that I read from one story to another and was a bit confused (I wasn’t expected Last Rebel to be split. I would have also moved the two black and white stories away from each other for similar reasons. Small things. The book did its job of providing a good mixture of stories (and a real mix of art styles) and exposed me to some new creators that weren’t on my radar before. People should check it out. I’m hoping we see more.

The Launch event for Turncoat Press’ first publication, ‘I’m Awake, I’m Alive’, will be Bank holiday Monday, June 2nd, at 6pm until 8pm. It will be held in The Pavillion Bar, Carey’s Lane in Cork City (just off Patrick St).