Authors: Alan Grant / Peter Milligan / Dan Abnett / Andy Lanning | Illustrators: Arthur Ranson / Steve Sampson / Charles Gillespie / Angel Unzueta / Ian Gibson / Trevor Hairsine / Eddy Cant / Mick Austin / Anthony Williams | Page Count: 304
"...My blood's so red, and the ground is so far, far away..."
Alan Grant drags Anderson even deeper into the realms of philosophy and religion in this volume. Her hitherto discoveries about her past, coupled with a recent changed perception of what ‘Justice’ is, have opened her consciousness to previously unexplored concerns affecting Mega City One. She begins to experience visions that lead her into the unknown. The iconography used will be familiar to everyone but the associations are Anderson specific.
There’s quite a lot of Dredd in this one. It’s interesting to see Old Stony in Anderson’s world. It distances him a little from the typically masculine arena he usually embodies. Grant knows that Joe needs to present the appearance of a non-conformist with a controlling influence but there’s also an almost parental guiding attitude present. He won’t accept failure from Anderson but he’s more than happy to step aside to let her prove herself, or team-up if the Law permits.
The two main artists are Arthur Ranson and Steve Sampson. I've mentioned my love for Ranson in previous reviews so I’ll skip over that this time. Steve Sampson has a radically different style. His use of thick, bright colours contrasts with Ranson’s more subdued, realistic palette but it works beautifully. Sampson’s portrayal highlights a different side of Cassandra. She has a glow about her, as if her emotions are shining out from within like a beacon or a redeeming light. His panelling is equally vibrant when necessary; the more space he allows himself the more impressive his final product. He's my 2nd favourite Anderson artist.
As usual there's some random one-shots from annuals and yearbooks to close the book that neither match up to the main stories in terms of quality or continuity.
I’d encountered most of this volume before on first printing but it was shortly after the last multi-part work that Grant put Anderson on hiatus, and (for unrelated reasons) I stopped buying the magazines, so Vol 4 will be mostly new to me. I can’t wait for it to appear.
4 Books of Man out of 5