Durham Red
The Vermin Stars

Author: Dan Abnett
Artist: Mark Harrison
RRP: £9.99, US $15.95
ISBN 1 904265 08 1
Available now

Durham Red, mutant vampire, ex-Strontium Dog and bounty hunter, cryogenically froze herself at the end of the 24th Century. A thousand years later, she wakes to discovered a changed universe - a universe where mutants are hunted down and exterminated by a terrifying, oppressive religious culture, and Durham herself is worshipped as a mutant goddess. Now Durham Red must make her way to the area of space known as "The Vermin Stars", to make contact with the mysterious underground mutant terrorist organisation, the Tenebrae. But will they play ball? Or will she need to get her teeth into them?...

First impression of The Vermin Stars is extremely positive. Rebellion want to make sure that when you pick this collection up it screams: "Take me home!" And it does.

Let's put aside the slightly sexist content (you know, semi-nude babes wandering around for no good reason) and look at the reproduction job that has been performed here. This screams quality from every page. The cover is a work of art (quite literally) and the artwork for this collection is breathtaking in places.

Now, enough sucking up to Rebellion's publisher, what is the content like? If you haven't read a Durham Red story before, the best way to describe her is as a mutant, vampire bounty hunter - sort of a female Johnny Alpha with fangs. She takes no crap and is quite prepared to bite off more than she can chew. She would certainly give Buffy a run for her money.

The humour in this collection is also something that is the hallmark of a good British comic book - and there is plenty here. Thankfully this collection never takes itself too seriously.

The only slight moan I have, as hinted at earlier, is that some of the content is a little on the sexist side. Yes, the female form is beautiful, but do we really need it thrust down our throats like a Frank Frazetta Dungeons & Dragons painting?

Having said that, sex sells - and it's not as though there are that many panels that are of this nature.

This collection looks great, reads well and is worth picking up and having a quick flick through. Although, you'd better have the cash on you because once you pick this up you won't want to put it down.

Pete Boomer

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