Out of all the strips ever printed in 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine, there has never been anything quite like XTNCT, before or since. In some ways it’s a reverse of Pat Mill’s Flesh strip, in other ways it’s a post-apocalyptic story featuring dinosaurs.  At its heart though, it is an out and out comedy and unlike most other comedy strips it actually manages to be funny. Penned by Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell, and with art by D’israeli I had a feeling I was in for something a little bit different, what I got was something entirely different to anything else I’d ever read.

Set in the far future, XTNCT presents us with a world with just two hundred human beings left alive. These few survivors have all banded into groups and are continually fighting amongst themselves. The weapons of choice for these far future Humans are genetically modified plants and animals, who essentially act as foot soldiers.  When some GM dinosaurs are rejected by their creator and left to die, they decide instead to wipe out what’s left of mankind and take control of the earth for themselves. While the basic premise for the story sounds somewhat oddball, it doesn’t sound as amusing as it actually turns out to be. For this I have to applaud Paul Cornell’s writing, as for the first time ever I actually found myself laughing out loud whilst reading a comic strip. All of Cornell’s characters have little quirks which make them funny, most notably Raptor who only speaks in consonants (hence the title).

The story itself was perhaps perfectly suited to the monthly instalments it received in the Megazine.  While there is an overall story, all six parts work as individual stories in their own rights, making XTNCT easy to pick up at any point. The length is perhaps the only real negative as the six parts amount to less than fifty pages, and so I read through this in no time at all.

For its short length however there is a lot to recommend XTNCT. It’s a fun read throughout, and as I’ve said actually succeeds in being funny. It’s completely mad and totally unique. The madness of XTNCT can be pretty much summed up in a single sentence from Paul Cornell’s intro:

“I think we made strides towards acceptance for cloned Dinosaur Lesbians.”

If that doesn’t make you want to read it, nothing will.

7/10

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