Out this week is the 2000AD Winter Special, which has not one but two stories by Vic Fluro (in his secret identity name). 2000AD used to have a convention whereby it printed the price across the rest of solar system, and this is where most of the copies of the Winter Special seem to have gone, on Earth it is rarer than hen’s teeth, unfindable in Smiths and sold out in comics shops. I found a copy in a Tooting newsie, and I’m glad I did.

I was particularly excited by this special cos it’s Vic’s first real bash at doing a ‘proper’ (i.e. at least with potential of continuing) 2000AD story. Previously he’s done Terror Tales, contemporary horror stories with a twist. Terror Tales are not my cup of tea, the whole ‘contemporary horror’ genre seems pretty laboured and wanky to me, so while I could recognise Vic’s stuff as being good examples of the style (and he does an effective body-horror one here in addition to his other story) they never really connected with me, and seemed a poor substitute for the violent and very funny stuff he’s done for fanzines.

Well, BONES OF EDEN is very violent, though not especially funny, but for my money it’s easily the best thing he’s done for Tooth and the best thing in the Winter Special. The tense banter among the survivors is a little bit Movie Dialogue 101 but the opening scene is GRATE, genuine thrill-power there, the gun twist is blackly amusing and the much-taunted throat-ripping scene is strong too. Credit also to Russel Hobain’s clean, trad 2000 art – uncluttered, strong storytelling which you need if your story is jumping about time-wise. Best of all, I actually want to read more.

And I’m not just saying all that cos he’s my brother.

The idea of the Winter Special is to try out newer writers and artists, so Bono In Eden is just one of five new strips. The others are called Earth War, Unholy Warriors, Road Warrior and – a pattern developing – Blade Warrior. Apparently Tharg is to blame for these dire names, not the poor script droids who will get the blame for them. Earth War is Bad Company fanfic, Blade Warrior is fantasy cobblers with an awful heaven vs hell setup, Road Warrior has an audacious and pleasingly silly idea that needs a couple more pages to come alive, and my tube ended before I finished Unholy Warriors but I haven’t found myself dragged back to it since. Two Judge Dredd stories with art by competition winners, and a stock Rogue Tropper yarn round the package out, and at three quid it’s probably value for money.

Something it really brings home to me – naming no names as I’m sure all involved are good sorts – is how lucky Vic was to get good art for Bones Of Eden. No matter how striking yr ideas are, lame or confusing art is going to scupper them. Hey though, that’s comics.