Smash! issue 1 comes from Rebellion on 27th May and it is, well, smashing!
Anthologies are hard work and it’s fair to say some of the anthologies from Rebellion haven’t quite hit the mark in terms of quality and consistency. However this one comes exceptionally close.
Behind a Chris Weston cover and in an unusual US format this is a perfect piece of comic history revisited. From the eclectic contents page to the much welcome introduction to each character before their strip begins, editorially this is a strong start.
Rob Williams, John McCrea, Mike Spicer and Simon Bowland set the scene with the Spider. This is US quality comics with a British spin and it works in eight tight pages.
Helen O’Hara, Valentina Pinti, Jim Boswell and Osvaldo Sánchez flesh out the origin story of Mary Landson as Thunderbolt the Avenger and fresh from his recent reprint book Johnny Future returns thanks to Anita Break, Tom Raney, Gary Caldwell and SG. I enjoyed both, not least as you get a sense we are being told adult stories that will also appeal to children. There isn’t a swear word anywhere in this title yet still feels ‘grown-up’.
Superstar artist Charlie Adlard and Simon Bowland alongside Charlie Higson bring us the Steel Claw. No one writes super agent stories with a sense of humour better than Higson and Adlard captures that millennium humour to a tee.
A Bill Sienkiewicz style art runs through Mytek the Mighty making it rise above the average U.K. big solar powered gorilla story. A treat from Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Anand Radhakarishnan and SG.
Stylised art and a palette of atmospheric colouring from Andres Butzbach can be found in a story bringing Cursitor Doom and Jason (Great name) Hyde together. The story is by Maura McHugh and lettered by A.Cult. It works well between Mytek and the final story The House of Dolman.
I’d say they left the best til last but the quality of this publication would make that an unfair statement. There is no doubt that Chris Weston and Jim Campbell art and lettering are both exceptional and a lot of time has been spent on this strip. Brian Bolland has a good tip for Weston in the recent 2000AD Podcast with Mick McMahon and Dave Gibbons but he is still an excellent craftsman. Love the end that Simon Furman gives us too – a decent twist and a mystery that needs an answer.
Clever well contained stories makes Smash! a treat. Finally Editor Keith Richardson (and Oliver Pickles) with design from Sam Gretton gives us an anthology from Rebellion and the Treasury of British Comics that excels the potential this line of comics has been promising us for a while. More please!