COMICSCENE REVIEW: BEAST HUNTING BATTLE BADGERS (COLLECTED VOLUME)

Beast Hunting Battle Badgers? Seriously? My first impression when I saw the name was not a great one, but the snippet of art that came with it caught my eye. It was clear, full of energy and had that certain something, that spark of promise which caused me to get onto the Kickstarter page and investigate further. Well, I’m glad that I did, as this week the collected Beast Hunting Battle Badgers thumped onto my desk and what a collection it is!

First off, it has to be said what a gorgeous hardcover volume this is. It contains all six issues of the comic plus some beautiful cover and poster art at the back plus character sketches. It’s full size rather than U.S format, and the pages are thick and crunchy just like mother used to make. You see a book like this and it just begs to be read, and with good reason.

The story concerns Flint and Laird (named for the TMNT co-creator), two battling badgers whose tribe has been taken away by dark magic. They float around battling beasts for coin or food, but their true goal is to reverse their tribe’s fortunes, and to do that they have to battle not only beasts but dark magic as well. If they’re lucky, they’ll get a bun or two as a reward. Obviously this is an oversimplification, because as with any decent quest there’s all sorts of barriers to success, and even when these are overcome victory is never a certainty…

Immediately, I was taken by the art in the book. Creator Steve Sims has a fantastic talent for anthropomorphic animal action, with the two main characters both heroic and comical. He reminded me at times of comics legend Ian Gibson, most notably when he draws dragons, but it has to be said he has his own style and it works perfectly here. There’s no colour, save on the issue covers at the back, and to be honest I like it just fine, as this shines as well as any black and white art can. The writing matches the art, with snappy dialogue and plot that is at times fun and others dark, balancing wit and woe equally well. Flint and Laird work very well as a duo, playing off each other very well, with neither trying to steal the show, and I would be surprised if they don’t return some day.

Beast Hunting Battle Badgers is a real triumph, an exciting, fun read with beautiful design and art, all wrapped up in a hardcover that will sit nicely next to those Grandville volumes on my shelf. These badgers are no bodgers, and this collection is a must for fans of exciting, quality fantasy comics.

To buy, go via the shop tab on the website: http://www.battlebadgers.co.uk

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