Author: Pat Mills | Illustrators: Clint Langley / Greg Staples / Jim Murray
Page Count: 128
'He wasn't wearing the horns... the horns were wearing him...'
Sláine, now a time-travelling instrument of the Earth Goddess, gets dropped into historical events circa 1140 AD. It’s more akin to a death / rebirth cycle than time travel but that’s semantics, the important thing is he’s tasked with destroying the Blood God so that the false religion he preaches can be torn down and the old religion put back where it belongs. Christians will be upset.
You’re going to have to accept the time travel aspect if you’re to get any enjoyment out of it. Why can’t one person be born again and again to better represent the many aspects of the Horned God? I don’t think it’s as anachronistic as some folks accused it of at the time. In fact, I think it’s aged better than some of the other Sláine stories.
Along the way our anti-hero gets to bury his axe in some Norman head, because it wouldn't do to go some place new and not slaughter a few dozen zealots.
A lengthy prelude (The Name of the Sword) begins the work. It chronicles Sláine’s slipping into the boots of the Goddess’ champion of the time, with painted art by Greg Staples. It’s a necessary set-up to get to the good stuff - the good stuff being the titular Lord of Misrule story.
Clint Langley takes over for the main feature. He lets his brush go wild inside and outside panels with some two-page spreads that show how dynamic Sláine can be when he’s given room to really spasm out. Langley hadn't started dabbling in his photography / digital art in '95 so it was regular pen and inks. However, the 2011 collected edition was recoloured. Please stop recolouring stuff!
The story ends abruptly, which is something that happened a lot in 2000AD because the anthology format usually meant a conclusion had to be given in the limited page count of one issue. There’s an epilogue to try and make up for it. It feels like a bonus rather than an unnecessary stretching out.
The book collects together The Name of the Sword (Progs 950 - 956), Lord of Misrule (Progs 958 - 963 + 995 - 998), and The Bowels of Hell (Prog 1000).
3½ two finger salutes out of 5