One of the great things about 2000AD is its relatively high turnover of new strips. Sure you have the old classics like Dredd and Strontium Dog, but 2000AD has never been a comic to rest on its laurels, continuingly bringing us brand new strips too enjoy. Sometimes they don’t work and are forgotten about pretty quickly, but other times the new strips stand head and shoulders over the rest of the prog as a classic in the making. Fortunately Absalom falls firmly into the latter category.

Around this time last year I was pretty excited about the forthcoming debut of Absalom. As a spin-off of supernatural horror strip Caballistics Inc I had high hopes for Absalom before it had even started. Cabs Inc had been one of the best strips of the 21st century so far, so anything to do with it had to be good. That has certainly proved to be the case as Absalom is perhaps well on its way to surpassing its parent strip in every way. Absalom is one of those rare strips where everything is absolutely perfect…the writing, the art, the characters, the premise…everything is firing on all cylinders.

Having a good lead character is absolutely vital to any comic strip, particularly when he lends his name to the strips title. Inspector Harry Absalom is a fascinating leading man, riddled with incurable cancer yet apparently unable to die, he remains something of a mystery despite the reader knowing quite a bit of his backstory. We know that he is in fact hundreds of years old as is revealed in the first strip in this collection, having been witness to the signing of The Accord between the British Government and Hell itself, centuries in the past. Yet he also appears to be a modern day detective in the vein of Inspector Frost, albeit one who enforces a treaty made with Demons and Monsters. What’s particularly great about Absalom is that this is just a job for him. Most supernatural investigators are portrayed as being interested in little outside their job. But for Absalom it’s very much something he has to do, rather than something he chooses to do. The supporting cast are noteworthy too, including an apparent mole and a rather unusual little man who you really have to read the strip too be able to fully understand.

The art by Tiernen Trevallion is absolutely stunning throughout. His attention to detail is particularly noteworthy, just check out some of the backgrounds on the Ghosts of London strip. That panel with the Dog running off with a severed head is particularly hilarious. But it would mean nothing if the writing didn’t back it up. With Gordon Rennie on script duties though, you know that the writing is going to be first class. All three strips included in this trade are absolutely must reads and I can’t imagine there is anyone who reads 2000AD who wouldn’t love to read Absalom. It should also be pointed out that Rennie makes sure you don’t need to have read Caballistics Inc to be able to read Absalom, no prior knowledge is necessary.

In my opinion Absalom is the finest strip to debut in the prog since Stickleback’s debut about five years ago now. As I said everything comes together to form a perfect supernatural horror strip, and one which looks to be even better than Caballistics Inc ever was. I sincerely hope that Absalom gets a good long run in the prog and that we will see many more trade collections in the future. Ghosts of London is an absolute must buy for any fan of 2000AD.

10/10

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