The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 4 | “Bad Company: Goodbye, Krool World” TPB review

Leaving Proof 4 | “Bad Company: Goodbye, Krool World” TPB review
Published on Thursday, October 21, 2010 by

[Author’s note: The text in this article originally appeared on on 08 July 2010 and may have had its content changed or edited since its initial online publication]

Bad Company: Goodbye, Krool World
  • Bad Company cover(256 pages, originally published in parts by 2000AD from 1986 to 1989; TPB published by DC Comics in 2005 under license from Rebellion Developments)
  • Writer: Peter Milligan
  • Artists: Bret Ewins, Jim McCarthy, Steve Dillon
  • Cover Artist: Jock
  • Cover Price: $17.95 US/$27.95 CAN

Bad Company was originally created by Judge Dredd scribes Alan Grant and John Wagner, although they first appeared in a serialized story written by Peter Milligan that was originally presented in the weekly 2000AD science fiction comic book published in the UK. My first exposure to Bad Company came in the way of the Fleetway-Quality Comics reprints from the early 1990s, and I’ve never actually read the original 2000AD newsprint comics.

Danny Wrong Kiss

One of the many perils of 30th century dating

The TPB reprints both of Bad Company’s serialized tales from the 1980s. A third Bad Company story was published in 2002, but I think most fans pretend it never happened (never read it myself, but judging from the few internet reviews I’ve found, it seems to be utter shite), and it is not included in this collection.

There isn’t really much of a plot to the first serialized tale. Rather, it’s very much a character-driven piece set in the far future, revolving around the young Danny Franks, a soldier in the 1st Colony Division fighting a war against the invading alien Krool on the frontier planet of Ararat. Franks discovers early on the horrors of war against a relentless inhuman foe when his unit is decimated in a battle against the Krool. He is rescued by Bad Company, a ragtag group of ex-soldiers, mercenaries, and escaped POWs who’ve decided to fight the Krool on their own terms. The hook is watching the idealistic Franks slowly become inured to the violence of the battlefield, all the while asking if Bad Company is just as bad as the Krool because of the methods they employ. It’s certainly not the most original trajectory for a story, but Milligan’s dialogue makes it work for the most part. The second arc is set further into the future, with Franks now leading a new Bad Company and taking the war to the Krool’s doorstep (there’s also a Frankenstein-inspired subplot that ties into the main plot about halfway through the arc). I wouldn’t call Milligan’s work here great, but it’s good for what it is, and there’s ample evidence for the talent that he would later be recognized for in the United States in mainstream comic books like Marvel’s X-Statix and DC/Vertigo’s Human Target.

Kano Makes Friends

Kano loves his job

The reproduced art, on the other hand, is a bit of a disappointment for me. While I realize that the original strips were black & white, the Fleetway-Quality Comics reprints I grew up reading were in colour, and the difference in quite jarring. The lack of colour makes Brett Ewins’ panels look especially cluttered and the characters more difficult to tell apart. Still, the art is functional and he can tell a story well enough. As a bit of a bonus, a brief Bad Company story featuring very early Steve Dillon (of Preacher and Punisher fame) art is included in the TPB.

As much as I enjoyed this TPB though, I don’t know if there’s anything here for the non-2000AD fan. It’s a good deal of fun in its own right, but at least for myself, part of that fun took the form of nostalgia. I wouldn’t call the story and art disposable or inaccessible (because they certainly aren’t), but it probably doesn’t rank among Milligan’s best works. At a cover price of $27.95 CAN, it feels somewhat overpriced, although I did get it for $20 CAN. If you can find it for a similarly discounted price and if you feel like venturing beyond the superhero genre, or if you just want to see what Milligan was up to before he started writing for Marvel and DC, Bad Company: Goodbye, Krool World could be just what you’re looking for.

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