Beautiful fully painted cover(Prog1180,2Feb2000)that was equalled by the stunning artwork on the series it represented.
“Badlands” was a creator owned series by Dan Abnett and Kev Walker dealing with the not unfamiliar to 2000AD,theme of cowboys vs dinosaurs.However this wasn’t Flesh..
Elmore Gantry a confederate soldier in the American Civil War is pursued by a Yankee posse led by killer Eugene Finlay into Arizona,where they emerge in a lost pocket of time inhabited by prehistoric monsters from which there is seemingly no way out.
Corking adventure fully painted throughout by Walker in a style that had grown out of favour since Bisley's Sláine and one we wouldn’t see from him again in 2000AD…
Travelling out in the farther reaches of space with her two companions,Tenebrae mutant Judas Harrow and Iconoclast mutant-killer Matteus Godolkin,vampire Durham Red comes up against a future version of herself.Declaring life to be unbearable and kidnapping her accomplices she attacks,trying to end any suffering before it can begin.Denouncing her future self a coward and loser,Red retaliates and does the killing instead,vowing never to become that incarnation.
After freeing her companions Red heads laughing,out into the Vermin Stars..
“Mask of the Red Death”(Prog1111,22Sep’98)Dan Abnett/Mark Harrison
Years of using time manipulation as weaponry by mutant Search/Destroy agents has led to an anomalous area of space known as the Fracture.
Durham Red intends to use this area,to fight the powerful mutant entity,Offspring,where she knows it’s power will be weakened.
En route Red has a heart-to-heart talk with her son and rechristens him Johnny.
After a vicious battle utilising her S/D weapons and vampiric abilities,Red is triumphant.But her former lover,Johnny's father,Godolkin is dying and it seems Red's time is up too..
Prologue:Durham Red's son Johnny becomes emperor to a ten thousand year mutant dynasty as told by an elderly descendant to the children.
Finally on her own,the elderly woman,Empress Redwina removes her disguise,to be revealed as Durham Red,who looks upon her works and empire..and is satisfied.
“The Empty Suns”Book II by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison(Progs1382-86,24Mar-21Apr’04)was the last in 2000AD until the present story.
Interesting photo cover by Malcolm Hulme and design droid Graham Rolfe,which they will later reprise in the weekly Prog..
Inside we see the “Scarlet Apocrypha" come to an end,with the seventh heresy,”In the Flesh" and has Durham Red at a comic convention,stalking a young fan.Written by Dan Abnett,these one-off tales are an absolute joy and show the writer at his playful best.
All of which make me wonder why on earth(if you’ll pardon the pun)he couldn’t have written all of his Durham Red stories in this vein,rather than dragging her off across the stars.
Interior art by regular,Mark Harrison.Judge Dredd Megazine4.18,17Dec’02.
Former vampire-killer Iconoclast,human Matteus Godolkin has tracked down mutant vampire Durham Red and discovered they have child,a boy Red Son.
Now with her help Godolkin means to track down the powerful mutant entity responsible for the extinction of mankind,Offspring..
“The Empty Suns”(Book One,Progs1362-68,15Oct-26Nov’03).Script:Dan Abnett.Art:Mark Harrison
Having grown tired of life as a bounty hunter and watching her friends slowly die, the mutant vampire Durham Red puts herself into suspended animation with the hope of waking in a better future..
1200 years later,Red is awoken by an acolyte Judas Harrow,of the mutant Tenebrae faith,who worship her as “Saint Scarlet of Durham”.
The Tenebrae are in a tenuous peace accord with the human Iconoclasts(one of whom,Matteus Godolkin,believes he is in Red's thrall after she sucks his blood).
With Durham Red's return this peace accord is threatened,mutants rallying behind their “saviour” Saint Scarlet and humans denouncing the vampire “Blasphemy”!
“The Scarlet Cantos”(Progs1078-89,20Jan-Apr14’98)is beautifully drawn by Mark Harrison,but I’m afraid,for me Dan Abnett's script departs,along with Red herself(!),too far from her roots-which is why I’m so glad to see her return to them,currently in 2000AD
After killing the human impostor Saint Scarlet,mutant vampire Durham Red is appalled to learn of the atrocities committed in her name.Addressing the planet Pyre,recently put to the sword by the invading mutant army,Red warns that a human fleet is on their way to obliterate them and that if they continue to kill and hate,war with the humans will never end.
Using Red's warning the bulk of the mutant army escape from planet Pyre before it is vapourised,and sobered by how close they came to destruction scale down the nature of the war and head underground.
Laying low on the uninhabited world of Vadis with devoted companion,mutant Judas Harrow,Red reflects on whether the mutants listened to her warning and if she should tell Matteus Godolkin,the elite human vampire-killer that he’s not actually in her thrall!
Instead she decides-“I’m a thousand years young,got a bod built for high-speed sin and there’s a whole universe out there which hasn’t met me.
So let’s go!”
So ends Durham Red's first far-future space epic and sets things up for some fun shenanigans on different planets,perhaps?Er..
“The Scarlet Cantos" script:Dan Abnett art:Mark Harrison