Author: Dan Abnett | Illustrator: Mark Harrison | Page Count: 96
“History does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.”
Mark Harrison’s version of Strontium Bitch Durham Red is far removed from co-creator Carlos Ezquerra’s vision. Working from a Dan Abnett script that distanced itself not only artistically but chronologically from the source, the two men changed almost everything that Strontium Dog fans had come to love.
Harrison used the story to showcase his love for digital colouring effects, giving him the dubious honour of destroying a long running series with excessive simulated lens flare years before JJ Abrahams got his hands on Star Trek.
Harrison is a damn fine artist, visit his 2000 AD gallery page for proof, but I dislike his colouring methods on Durham Red. To his credit, though, he was light years ahead of what Marvel and DC were issuing at the time.
In my experience, Dan Abnett seems to be more at home with hard sci-fi than he is with comic book scripting. His characterisation in TSC is almost nil. Everyone is two dimensional; their motivations get mentioned occasionally in caption boxes lest we forget who they are, or why they even exist. I didn't care who lived or who died. There’s a large body count but it could've been wood chips on the floor in place of bodies for all the emotion it stirred. It's not Dan's best work.
The single issue story that’s included at the end, the one that would traditionally be filler, is vastly superior to what came before it. I enjoyed it. It gives Durham some depth without shitting all over her origins.
The book collects together The Scarlet Cantos parts 1 – 11, and the Mask of the Red Death one shot, both first printed in 1998.
1½ snecks out of 5