Bad City Blue
Alan Grant (Writer) • Robin Smith (Artist)
Reviewed By Simon Paul Wilson
Back in the 80s, I lived and breathed 2000 AD.
When I was a lad, I was totally obsessed with the comic, and had dreams of either writing or drawing for it when I was older. If I’m honest, I’d still jump at the chance of a writing gig! You gotta keep on dreaming, right?
Anyway, while I still enjoy reading the ongoing Judge Dredd epics, the 80s was when I was truly under Tharg’s spell. I would head to the nearest newsagents on a Saturday morning, purchase that week’s prog, and then read it on the way back home. I still have very fond memories of those years of fandom, and the series I consider to be true classics: Slaine, Strontium Dog, Nemesis the Warlock, ABC Warriors, Bad Company…
Ah, them was the days.
One of my favourite stories from the days of my youth was a tale from 1986, called Bad City Blue. I remember reading it and being blown away by how good it was.
So, when I got the chance to review a digital copy, I grabbed it with two eager hands. Although it’s been a wee while since I last read it, I am delighted to say this story is an absolute belter, and definitely worth your time.
Written by Alan Grant and artist Robin Smith, Bad City Blue takes us to Bader City, built into an asteroid floating somewhere in space. Sadly, most of Bader City has fallen into decay and ruin and is now under the control of violent gangs and thugs.
The ‘hero’ of this story is Blue, a button-man for the city. It’s his job to keep the unsavoury elements of the lower levels in order, using extreme violence and a plethora of weapons, my favourite being a rather lethal pair of knuckledusters.
Unfortunately for Blue, things aren’t what they seem. The ‘topsiders’ he works for may not be as decent as he has been led to believe, and he soon finds out that no matter how many wristwatches he wears, time is against him…
Bad City Blue is a story that’s a definite highlight from the mid-80s, and really needs to be on your radar. It’s a dark and powerful read, and its scathing dig at the class divide is just as relevant today as it was back then. It also has one of the bleakest finales the comic has ever done.
As well as having a killer script, the art by Robin Smith is just excellent. For me, his black-and-white work is up there with McMahon and Ewins. Brilliant stuff.
So, if you are looking for a sci-fi yarn with plenty of grit, give Bad City Blue a try. It’s a fast-paced read that will have you hooked from the first page to the jaw-dropping last. I will definitely be buying a paperback copy on release day, I suggest you do the same. You won’t be disappointed.
Now, how many watches shall I wear today?
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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Simon Paul Wilson
Simon Paul Wilson is a U.K. based writer of horror and science fiction.
He is currently writing a cyberpunk horror trilogy, the first of which is GhostCityGirl and was published by Not A Pipe publishing in 2020.
Click this link for more info: Ghost City Girl
There now follows a list of writers who have influenced his reading tastes and writing style:
James Herbert. Stephen King, Shaun Hutson, Clive Barker, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami, Carlton Mellick III, Brian Keene, and Adam Nevill.
Simon lives somewhere in the middle of England with his wonderful family. He likes to listen to post-rock and progressive rock at loud volumes. He also plays a mean air bass.
Follow him on Twitter: @spwzen