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Sláine Slice and Dices Demon Invasion Hordes

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Defending his precious Ireland, Sláine must pay a terrible price in his latest high octane barbarian slaughterfest adventure.

In Simon & Schuster’s second US release of the adventures of the barbarian warrior Sláine MacRoth he has made it to being king of Ireland (Tir Nan Og). Unfortunately for Sláine, Tir Nan Og is ruled by parliament. And if there is one thing that the bearer of the Warp Spasm is not an expert of it is governing by democracy.

The Sea Devils have risen against Tir Nan Og, the Land of the Young, and Sláine, once the first High King of Ireland, must protect his tribe against this new tide of evil. Leading the demons is Moloch, a hideous Formorian lord, bristling with swords and driven by a perverse hunger for human suffering. Fighting alongside his warrior wife Niamh, Sláine must drive back the demons or pay a price too terrible to comprehend…

Build on the template of both the Robert E. Howard Conan books and the more Gothic horror of Lovecraft coupled with Irish mythology, Sláine is at its best when there’s an undercurrent of religious satire or when writer Pat Mills steps the violence and story up with one notch, dragging it into satire.

Books of Invasions is the first of 2 volumes detailing one of the more personal tragic events in Sláine’s life and his ensuing quest for personal revenge coupled with invasions from not only a demon horde but also an aquatic swarm of Golamhs and their mutant minions. It is a full on gore action fest with one epic fight after another leaving not much room for character development or quiet moments. Even by Mills’ standards, the pace is maddeningly fast. Unfortunately a tad too fast. Coming out of the grand battle with Moloch, the results are a victory for the people but a tragedy for the High King of Ireland. Sláine’s tragic event and emotional lynchpin of this volume is handled so cliché and expeditious that Sláine goes in record time through stage 1 and 2 of the five stages of grief. And since motivation has never been one of the stronger points of the hellion hordes Mills doesn’t let an opportunity for a good old fashioned slugfest with banter lay on the ground but fails at providing much context except for the standard 'it's what demons do, they kill and maim and conquer'.

Artist Clint Langley’s mix of painting, drawing and photography all mixed up on the computer is the perfect collaborator on Mills’ satanic combat craziness. His uberdetailed and realistic style lends a chaotic and transformative look to the battle scenes and the demons themselves; almost as if they tend to shift shape, staying on the edges of the subconsciousness. It can be overwhelming at times and his darker scenes are difficult to decipher but it does fit the feel of the book. The only thing that needs some work are his facial features; Sláine especially bears a bit too much of his trademark grimace. The printing of the trade paperback is rather good too, showcasing Langley’s bright golden colour schemes particularly well.

A standard introductory text could be handy for this second US outing of Sláine though. I can imagine people picking up the volume and being taken aback by f.e. Sláine's beserker Warp Spasm takes place without any context given or the setting of the mythological world the story takes place in. Still, if you are looking for no-brained gore schlock, you could do far worse than this revenge tale in the Celtic mythological lands of Sláine, High King of Ireland.

Sláine : Books of Invasions by Pat Mills & Clint Langley is published by 2000 AD / Simon & Shuster. It is a full colour trade paperback counting 112 pages and retails for €19,99.

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