Gen 13: London • New York • Hell
Warren Ellis, writer,
Steve Dillon, artist
(WildStorm, 2001)

Obviously, I don't follow the heroes of Gen 13 in their regular book, or else I'd have heard of this sooner. Warren Ellis and Steve Dillon, the team behind DC/Vertigo's Preacher series, did a couple of Gen 13 annuals in 1997 and 1998. Those "vacation" stories have now been collected in London • New York • Hell.

I have to admit, I was startled. I thought perhaps Wildstorm policy forbade Gen 13 books without substantial cheesecake, but in these tales the Gen 13 girls keep their clothes on -- and they still manage to look good! OK, there are a few discreetly nude females burning in hellfire, but I suppose they can be excused for their lack of modesty, given the circumstances.

Dillon has a distinctive drawing style and you may get the feeling that a few Preacher characters have made cameos in wigs, but since I like Dillon's style, that's not a complaint. As for Ellis, he's crafted a couple of stories with ample trademark weirdness, beginning with the pub in London that has several nonhuman patrons, some very rude flora and an endless supply of basements. Then it's off to the Big Apple, where a nice enough lad is being chased by an infernal policeman, which leads the group to Hell.

I hope the execs at DC/Wildstorm took notice and realized that, while scantily clad superteens lure a certain demographic to the shelves, these stories managed to excel without unnecessary skin. It's good to know these characters can be featured in good, interesting storylines that don't rely solely on T&A and sophmoric humor.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 6 April 2002