BOOK REVIEW: Sláine - The Horned God
Brains and beauty take book beyond your typical hack and slash fantasy romp...
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I'm fairly knowledgeable with Greek and Roman mythology. I know my Arthurian legend and a smattering of Norse lore. But Celtic? All Greek to me and that's precisely part of the reason why Sláine: The Horned God is so damn fascinating. The rest can be attributed to brains and beauty, two traits that seem to pour effortlessly from the creative team of Pat Mills and Simon Bisley. True pioneers, Mills/Bisley's Sláine: The Horned God is the comic that - 21 years ago - forever changed the face of comics with its super stylish storytelling and jaw-dropping, fully painted art. Now it's back for a new generation to enjoy in a gorgeous hard-cover dust-jacket edition from publisher 2000 AD.
Sláine: The Horned God is pure unadultered fantasy; like a surreal train of thought depicting mortal heroes and timeless gods, demons and dragons, maidens and witches. Reading Sláine in bed one night, my wife glanced over and asked me what it was all about. I showed her the opening passage - quoted above - and pointed out the exquisite cover art. Sláine is fantasy, and like all good fantasy, must be read/admired from beginning to end to fully appreciate. To fully loose yourself in the dream. Sláine is not Conan, though those eager for violent hack and slash action won't be disappointed. Sláine IS a graphic novel... in more ways than one. Sláine introduces the wild ways of the "warp spasm" and educates on eradication via an axe name "Brainbiter".
In a time where there is no time, in a place which is not a place, I write. Of a once great king, Sláine Mac Roth, who ruled an empire that was not an empire, in a past which is not the past, or the future, but forever. Because legends are eternal.
For all its otherworldly charm, Sláine: The Horned God surprises with accessible reality. Grounding the story with wit and humor is the narrator and Sláine's close "friend," Ukko the Dwarf. Silly and crude, the character plays off Sláine's more serious side for some good chuckles. There are a few drug culture references in Sláine that give it a more modern edge and a couple carefully placed one-liner's like "Kiss my axe!" provide an action film-like vibe.
Most of all, Sláine: The Horned God is a classic. A classic in the sense that all this time - 21 years later - it is still so awesome and original to read... and man, that amazing artwork. Bisley is the type of artist that inspires... all while making you scream "I'm not worthy!" Find out why Sláine: The Horned God remains one of 2000 AD's greatest exports by picking up a copy of the special hard-cover dust-jacket edition. Priced at $25 and available at all major U.S. bookstores, Sláine: The Horned God is required reading for all fantasy fans. A must-have for art aficionados. "Because legends are eternal."
Review By Jeff Saylor
Art and Review Sample Courtesy of 2000 AD