Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Durham Red: Vermin Stars (2003)

Author: Dan Abnett | Illustrator: Mark Harrison | Page Count: 96

The universe is insane.  We’re falling into step with it.

Volume II of the new and unimproved Durham Red continued the story from the previous book, The Scarlet Cantos (2006).  Durham and her small but devoted crew set course for a mysterious region of space known as the Vermin Stars.  She has a reason for wanting to get there but is reluctant to explain.  The trip won't be all plain sailing because The Iconoclast (human religious zealots) are still on her tail, and their enemies, the Tenebrae (mutant terrorist cell), will also need to be confronted before the journey's end.

Author Dan Abnett’s dialogue is still stiff and unnatural but his pacing and his plotting are both much improved.  But I still can’t accept the ridiculous conceit that was built up around Durham, no matter how much polish is put on the surface.

There’s more emphasis on the HR Giger influence in Mark Harrison’s art this time, and mercifully less reliance on the irritating lens flares.  There are even some pages that make it hard to tell where the paint ends and the digital manipulation begins; he seems to have gotten more skilled with the software.  If he could curtail his need to fill the frame with noisy backgrounds, and the overcrowded, forced depth of field, I would be able to enjoy the work a lot more.

I didn't buy the remainder of the Durham Red collections after this one, for obvious reasons.

1½ homecoming queens out of 5

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