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Home ¦ Reviews ¦ Caballistics Inc. - Hell on Earth

Caballistics Inc. - Hell on Earth
Caballistics Inc. - Hell on Earth
Mike Wild

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What to Expect: The Cabs team investigating Strange Goings On in a sleepy English village, with Nazis and things.

Review by Richmond Clements
26th September 06

I’ll be honest here. I have been lax in writing this review.

I’m usually quite good, and write the review as soon as I finish reading the book, but I finished reading this one some weeks ago, and it’s only now can I bring myself to write about it.

You see, there’s no gentle way of breaking this to you. This is a bad book.

Author Mike Wild has had a previous foray into the world of the 2000AD novel with his take on the ABC Warriors in ‘Rage Against the Machines’. The book was not well liked by fans, but I thought it was alright. It was good enough that I was willing to give this one a fair chance.

And indeed, it starts off with an interesting opening chapter set in 1944 and featuring the original Dept Q members. Unfortunately, it goes downhill somewhat from there on in. The characterisations of the team, for the most part, do not ring true. Yes there are moments when you’ll think ‘Hanna would say that’ but more often than not, you’ll be thinking the opposite. Hanna’s narrative here doesn’t ring true for me either. Apart from having her running around naked a lot of the time, some of the stuff that happens to her just does not seem to make sense to me.

There are a few attempts at creating running jokes that don’t work, and only serve to distract from the story. And then there are the puns. Now, Wild has a knack for these, and they’re certainly suited to the ABCs, where Pat Mills’ lunatic world is peppered with them, but here they just do not work.

And another thing - Yes, we get that it’s the same world as Doctor Who. One reference would have done thanks, but repeated theatrical winks to the reader quickly become annoying.

As for the writing, it’s alright. Wild has moments where he manages to catch the readers’ imagination, but at the same time; some of his action set-pieces are leaden and unexciting. There are also a few moments that should have been picked out by an editor. One character moves ‘like a thief in the night’ and at one point, in a conversation words hang ‘quite literally’ in the air.

A while ago on the main 2000AD board, Gordon Rennie, creator of the series remember, made a comment that vampires do not exist in the Caballistics world. Which makes the encounter in this novel between Jenny and a nest of vampires in – guess where - yup, Whitby, more than a bit wrong.

I do not enjoy writing reviews that are almost totally negative. I feel guilty - because I’m sure the author has invested a lot of his time and effort in this piece. It’s just that it is not very good at all.

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Original content (c) 2002 Gavin Hanly (contact 2000AD Review).