{Book Review} Bad City Blue: Alan Grant & Robin Smith

Bad City Blue

Alan Grant (Writer) • Robin Smith (Artist)

Reviewed By Tarn Richardson

Bad City Blue is a gritty, dark and but strangely fascinating comic penned by Alan Grant and drawn by Robin Smith. If you’re looking for good cheer, look elsewhere. Bad City Blue is, to say the least, a pessimistic read, involving hired killer (or Button Man) Blue, sent by his superiors to track down undesirables in an overcrowded and rotting city perched on the side of an asteroid.

After being told by one of his targets that the city has been abandoned by ‘the elites’ and that only Button Men and ‘slum scum’ remain, Blue begins to investigate whether there is any truth to this conspiracy.

Unerringly grim, Bad City Blue is head down and tell it like it is storytelling. There’s no side stories or subplots. Blue goes looking for the truth, discovers it, as well as something far worse, and then … well, just when you think the story can’t get any more pessimistic, it does exactly that at the final conclusion.

Bad City Blue is like all the genres, cliches and comic book tropes rolled into one. It has all the ingredients to be confusing, underwhelming and easily dismissed, but there’s something addictive about following Blue’s pursuit of the truth, through a city left to rot.

A short, sharp hit of dystopian science fiction horror, Bad City Blue has only one intention; to give the reader a rollicking fun and violent ride, without any of the clever bits. And, as a result, it’s rather more clever than it might first seem.

Bad City Blue

Built into an asteroid and floating in space, Bader City is a crumbling, decaying ghetto controlled by armed gangs. The only kind of order is kept by guys like Blue, a trouble-shooting ‘button man’ who enforces order at the behest of the top-siders.

He thinks he’s saving the city for ‘decent folk’- but unfortunately for him, it looks like the elite he serves is not as benevolent as he once thought. Created by writer Alan Grant and artist Robin Smith, Bad City Blue is a bleak highlight from the mid-1980s, full of class warfare, gritty sci-fi, and big concepts.

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Tarn Richardson

Tarn Richardson was brought up a fan of fantasy and horror, in a remote house, rumoured to be haunted, near Taunton, Somerset. He is the author of THE DARKEST HAND series, published by Duckworth Overlook in 2015-2017 and republished by RedDoor in 2019. Comprising of THE DAMNED, THE FALLEN, THE RISEN, and free eBook prequel THE HUNTED, the books tell the epic story of Inquisitor Poldek Tacit, battling the forces of evil to the backdrop of World War One. He has also written the novels, RIPPED, and THE VILLAGE IN THE WOODS, to be published in 2020 and 2021. He lives near Salisbury with this wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson, and their two sons.

Twitter @tarnrichardson/

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Official Website www.tarnrichardson.co.uk

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