Isn’t this a great cover combination! Beautifully full of art and colour, and I like the curved composition too. The contrast between light & fluffy, and dark & sinister, is also well-thought-out.
“The Zodiac Prince” is a rare story with a male protagonist. He is sent to Earth by his long-suffering father (the Zodiac King, of course) because he was too lazy to do his allotted job properly, namely handing out talents that should have been assigned at birth to girl children between certain dates. That means that his mission (whether he accepts it or no) is to belatedly give out talents to girls between 8 and 15. He does this, rather randomly I must say, with a whirl of his massive medallion; and as this is a humour strip he causes chaos on his way, with everything ending happily after the chaos subsides. Of course he has to have a human girl as sidekick; this is his friend Shrimp, who is one of the earliest victims of his chaos-causing and still puts up with him (while giving him a well-deserved ear-bashing on occasion too).
In contrast, “Shadow on the Fen” is a proper spooky spooky story. Linden James is a mopey teen who’s gone down in the world because of her dad’s illness; they had to move to a rural location and she misses her old friends and way of life. She wishes for a friend at the old wishing tree; a flash of light and someone who has far more serious problems appears: Rebecca has been whisked into the 20th century from the 17th, where / when she was running for her life from an angry mob who thought she was a witch. They were incited by her evil cousin, Matthew Hobley, ‘the Witchfinder’ – and it seems he may also have found a way to travel in time after his quarry!
“Two Mothers for Maggie” has no magic or fantasy elements: it is part kitchen-sink drama, part literal soap opera. Maggie Jones has got a part in a long-running tv soap and is tasting fame and fortune as a result; co-star and screen ‘mother’ Simone Keyes is mentoring and teaching her lots. It seems however that Simone may be trying to encourage Maggie away from her real family, with the best intentions in the world… but with no appreciation of those important ties. This is a stronger story than the wish-fulfilment “Jackie’s Two Lives“: at heart it is about inequality and injustice.
Stories in this issue:
- Concrete Surfer (writer Pat Mills)
- Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
- Two Mothers For Maggie (artist Jim Baikie)
- Alley Cat
- Waking Nightmare! (artist Phil Townsend)
- The Zodiac Prince(artist Trini Tinturé)
- Paula’s Puppets (artist Julian Vivas)
- Shadow on the Fen (artist Douglas Perry)
- Darling Clementine (artist Richard Neillands, writer Alison Christie)