This is another in our exclusive range of Things We Should Have Reviewed Ages Ago But Are Only Getting To Now.
In the past few years there have been two genuinely classic creations. One is Ewing and Flint’s Zombo, and the other is Gene the Hackman.
This is the second collected volume of the series Kingdom, pulling together the third and fourth stories.
The first of these, Call of the Wild, sees our hero Gene and his young human companion Lizzie arrive at last in what is left of civilisation. Of course as is the way with these things, that is merely the beginning of their troubles and it is soon action all they way as Gene encounters another pack of Auxs, each with a spectacularly punny name in the way that only Dan Abnett can get away with.
This story ends on a bit of a downer, but thankfully with this being a GN, the reader doesn’t have to wait an entire year for the next series to find out what happens next.
And what does happen next is His Master's Voice. And boy… oh boy. There have been a lot of unanswered questions from the previous stores about Gene and his kind. Here is where we get the answers. And the thing is, we really do. Abnett doesn’t skirt around the edges of do it in a half-hearted way that says he didn’t really know in the first place – you know - like in Lost.
That is not to say that there are still not many questions to be answered. The Big Questions from Call of the Wild are still out there, and the ending of that story still needs to be resolved.
But His Master's Voice ends on a prefect note that in a way almost has Gene come full circle… but at the same time end up in a completely different place.
And before I go, I should really mention Richard Elson’s art. It is as you would expect, quite superb. His line work is magnificent, characters perfect and actions scenes kinetic and dynamic. This is helped along by seamless colouring from Abbey Ryder.
All in all this is a very good book, but it only leaves the reader wanting more, and there hasn’t been any new Kingdom for quite a while. Fingers crossed we get some this year!