Garth EnnisStrontium Dog2000 AD
Strontium Dogs: The Darkest Star
Medium: comic
Year: 1993
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Nigel Dobbyn
Country: UK
Keywords: Strontium Dog, 2000 AD
Format: 2000 AD 855-866
Website category: Comics UK
Review date: 6 March 2022
It's Garth Ennis's last Strontium Dogs story. The series continued under Peter Hogan, but then got cancelled when David Bishop took over as 2000 AD editor. (Hogan's last story went out under an "Alan Smithee" pseudonym, so there might have been creative differences.) Wagner and Ezquerra then revived the parent series in 1999 by bringing back Johnny Alpha and ultimately ignoring the continuity of this Strontium Dogs spin-off. Which I think is a shame.
Here, Feral and the Gronk go after the necromancers who killed Johnny Alpha. The story has three elements:
(a) the necromancers themselves, who are fairly boring. They want to bring one of their number back from Hell and be generically evil. Unfortunately, they're the main characters for the first two-thirds of the story, controlling everything at a distance. Feral and the Gronk go where directed.
(b) Feral, who's also fairly boring. He's the son of that necromancer who needs resurrecting. He learns some family backstory that's not particularly interesting.
(c) the Gronk, who's still the best thing in Strontium Dogs. Ep.8 startled me by being meaningful. The Gronk meets Johnny, who's still alive (in a gruesome, pathetic way) because he was killed by necromancers. The Gronk has to kill him again. The Gronk dislikes this. "I promises you, Mister Johnny. No-one here gets out alives."
This isn't a particularly good story. It's mishandling its villains, who have it all their own way for ages, but then get knocked over a bit too easily once the Gronk gets mad. Meanwhile, for the first time, the character of Feral doesn't work. I like him as a self-pitying loser abomination, but this uses him in a more conventional action hero role and I didn't really care. There are, though, things to like in here and even a half-cocked Ennis Strontium Dogs story is above-average for 2000 AD. Ep.8 works. I want more Gronk. Ultimately, it's still a good deal more interesting than most 2000 AD action fare and I quite enjoyed it.