Sector 13 – Issue #3

Sector 13 is described as a 2000AD ‘fanzine’.  It’s produced in Northern Ireland by some very dedicated and talented individuals who have pushed the boundaries of, what is traditionally understood as a ‘fanzine’.  Make no mistake, this is an incredibly polished and accomplished piece of work.  It’s fresh, exciting and in issue #3 really hits it’s stride, bringing multi-layers stories in a variety of engaging formats to the discerning reader.

First up is a Photo Story – Do You Remember? .  This is a dark narrative which is expertly told by Peter Duncan and Laurence McKenna.  We follow the hard nosed Judge Archer as she apprehends a mysterious criminal – with no clear identity.  This begins to stir some repressed memories in a fellow judge and all hell breaks loose.  This is an action packed script with tight and thrilling aspects of psychological drama.  I maintained a steady interest throughout the story and found the conclusion satisfying.  The art style and the images were visually arresting and the models used for the photoshoot including Simon McKnight and the talented Joanne Alexander ( a professional and varied cosplayer) look authentic.  I look forward to seeing more from this team in subsequent issues.

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Next up is a return to one of my favourite 2000AD universe’s – Flesh in a superb tale by John Farrelly.  Alpha Male follows the ongoing adventures of legend Earl Regan as he tackles a rogue T-Rex.  For those of you unfamiliar with the premise of this strip.  It is set in the future, where meat is rare and mankind must travel back in time to herd up Dinosaurs and process them to send back to the future.  It’s a brilliant idea and has obviously captured the imagination of Farrelly as much, if not more so, as it captivated myself.  The story is well paced and the artwork attractive and detailed. There are wonderful moments of homage and fast paced scenes depicting thrilling action.  This is 2000AD at it’s best – these are moments that kept many of us coming back time and time again to sample well thought out stories and action sequences.  Well done John!

 

Ashman : Ragnarok II is a superbly haunting and bleak tale by Peter Duncan.  During an impending global catastrophe, humanity decides to load it’s populace into rockets and head for Mars.  However once they reach maximum capacity the refuse to allow any more to join them. Only 70 humans survive and in their heart burns a deadly purpose.  I refuse to discuss the narrative of this story any further.  It’s important that the reader experiences the shock of the final paragraphs of this part of the story for themselves.  It was so unexpected that I stopped and re read through the entire story again to glean as much information from it as I could.

 

I love Judge Death and the story of the Necropolis, so it was with delight that I began to read Terminal Apotheosis by W.D McQuaid.  It was a richly complex plot with superb characterisation.  In it we see more tantalising glimpses into the warped universe of the Dark Judges and the days which followed their rule. We follow a rookie Judge during her ‘hotdog run’ and the course of her downfall into logical insanity.  The artwork by Patrick Brown is excellent.  Creating a doom-laden atmosphere which is saturated with death and impending madness.  His portrayal of the Dark Judges is faithful and iconic.  This was one of my favourite stories in the issue.

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We Irish have been the butt of stand up comedian’s jokes for many a year.  However in this unique and delightful story Alan Holloway, with talented artist Jawine Westland berate comedians who use race or nationality as a base for their humour.  In There Was an Irishman, a loathsome character – Bernard Davidson (the eagle eyed amongst you will perceive which two comedians are being lampooned here!)  is threatened by the simp brigade.  It’s up to Judge Joyce to protect him and try to remain cool under pressure and the onslaught of Davidson’s jokes.  A fun story, with a sharp social edge and by God it’s good to see Joyce again!

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A wonderful one-shot story from Glenn Matchett appears next.  This is an ingenious story which brings a thoughtful look at the nature of medical aid and reassurance during accidents.  In the future Tony is involved in a crash, he is in a bad way and bleeding out.  He’s scared and then he hears the voice of a fellow survivor and they bond over introspection about their lives and humour.  Again I don’t want to go too deeply into this narrative as it’s power lies in the reveal of the final few panels.  It’s a wonderful thoughtful script with great artwork from Damien Duncan.  The art really helps tell the story as we see the detail of the characters faces and the wreckage around him.  Damien portrays the correct amount of balance between desperation and hope in Tony’s face – as well as the claustrophobic environment of the crash.

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As stated earlier, the quality of the writing and artwork is incredible.  This is a captivating read, the stories will stay with you long after you put the magazine down and I am incredibly excited to see what will come next from this talented creative team!

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