Friday 29 May 2015

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 29th May 2015 - "Troy Trailblazer and the Horde Queen (Book 1)" by Robert Deas (David Fickling Books / The Phoenix Comic)

Troy Trailblazer and the Horde Queen (Troy Trailblazer Book 1)

Written and Illustrated by
Robert Deas

Published by David Fickling Books

Back in my errant youth, I spent rather a lot of time glued to the pages of 2000AD. That comic started up the day after my birthday, way back in 1977. I'd been into Sci Fi for a long time and the stories in that comic were completely amazing and like nothing I'd ever seen in comics before. It set me on the path of discovering the wider world of comics and science fiction stories and that's something that has carried on into adulthood (I think I'm an adult, at least!)

Getting to the point, most generations will tell you similar tales of comics they had stuffed in their school satchels or unceremoniously rolled up in their back pockets, ready for a surreptitious read during double maths. The Phoenix Comic is that comic for Charlotte - "her" comic if you like, and though she's younger than I was when I first really got my teeth into comics big time, she soaks up the weekly tales from the new champion of britcomics with vigour.

The latest fantastic book-collected work culled from the pages of The Phoenix is "Troy Trailblazer and the Horde Queen" by Robert Deas. Robert's stories hark back to the amazing comic sci fi roots of strips like Dan Dare and Star Lord (no, not that prancing perp in the Marvel Comics universe, but the dude with the cool haircut who was the star of his own comic before 2000AD soaked it up in the late 70s / early 80s). The main difference though, is that Troy is a character kids can identify with. An energetic youth with an itchy trigger finger and an all-too inquisitive mind, ready to leap into adventure (and quite often trouble!) with his cohorts Blip (a slightly prissy but logical hovering robotic computer), Barrus (a sort of gruff anthropoid moggy who you REALLY wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of) and Jess (exactly the sort of kick-ass female comic character Charlotte absolutely LOVES seeing in The Phoenix, and thankfully there's never any shortage of them in the comic, hooray!)

Not shying away from a plot that feels almost hard-fi in its approach, Robert pens an intricate tale spanning the galaxy and time itself, as the story switches between Troy's present, future and past. Our would-be intergalactic Indiana Jones must travel back in time to undo a terrifying incident that unwittingly created the greatest threat to the liberty of the galaxy, the rise of The Horde Queen.

As regular fans of Troy Trailblazer will tell you, the story unfolds at an absolutely cracking pace as we slowly discover what happened, and more importantly who the evil Horde Queen actually is (genuine gasps from Charlotte as the twist unfolds and confirms her guesses).

Reading about Robert's inspirations (cool stuff from when we were kids like Ulysses-31 and Thundercats, and other groovy Filmation animated series) it's fantastic to see a story that reads as good as it looks. Robert's artwork is utterly glorious, and in the collected book edition it's great to see awesome diagrams of Troy's ship as well as character info gathered together to set the scene for newbies to the stories.

We don't want to be accused of bias or anything, but there's a very good reason the Phoenix collected works keep hitting our Book of the Week slot. They really are utterly phenomenally good and if you're looking for a way to introduce your kids to comics, sci fi and fantasy, you really can't go wrong with an ish of The Phoenix or two (or three, or an annual subscription!)

"Troy Trailblazer and the Horde Queen" hits shelves on 4th June 2015.

Charlotte's best bit: The slow burn of the story before the big plot twist and surprise is revealed. Whoah!

Daddy's Favourite bit: Sci fi gloriousness that doesn't talk down to its audience, but sets up a thrilling and intricate plot with glorious visuals to match. Definitely our sort of comic strip!

(Kindly sent to us for review by The Phoenix / David Fickling Books)