Villordsutch reviews The V.C.s Hell in the Heavens…
By 2531, man had colonised the solar system. Warfare and barbarity had all but been forgotten. But then the Geeks arrived – a deadly alien species with only one thing on their dark, unfathomable minds…the extinction of the human race! And so, man was forced to fight once more, this time amongst the stars in space patrol ships crewed by the V.C.s. New recruit Steve Smith is ready for action. But first he must face a confrontation closer to home, and gain the acceptance of his battle-hardened crew mates.
I truly love my old 2000AD comic book strips. To be given the chance to read the reprints of stories of old is a true moment of joy. When you can look back and feel your synapses fire off as certain images are recalled from a time when you were no taller that the shop counter and 2000AD was about 14p (sterling). However, there is always a concern with going back to the good times, which is will they still be “Good Times”?
In The V.C.s Hell in the Heavens our journey begins with the Earth born Steve Smith (very Marvel) joining the bunch of space travelling space-troopers nicknamed the V.C.s (Vacuum Cleaners). The primary mission of the V.C.’s is to scour our Solar System and destroy any incursions from the invading alien threat called the Geeks. The V.C.’s don’t take to kindly to Steve Smith – giving him the name of Earthworm – and make his life hell, and it doesn’t help that nearly every good idea Steve has ends up with something negatively impacting upon the crew. During an attempted peace treaty the Geeks mount a devastating attack upon Mars and then they swiftly following this with another upon Earth; this leads to a final brutal conflict around the Geeks home system.
To see the artistic talents of Mick McMahon, Garry Leach, Cam Kennedy and John Richardson in one book is in itself a amazing treat alone, as each page highlights their fantastic talents and I absolutely love their artwork. The over-arching story from Gerry Finley-Day and Steve McManus is – on the whole – a great piece of work, but each micro chapter feels like the old 1940’s Buck Rogers cinema serials; they arrive quickly, blast through and end. In today’s comics this would have been given the time to develop and expanded over issues, having a less rushed, compacted feel to them.
There are a few minor issues too that haven’t travelled well from the Seventies, like Brother – the ships computer – becoming a Hippy, and the throwaway mild racism. Though not overly offensive to a person who grew up through the 1970’s, when you read words like “Half-Caste”, “Chinky” and “Gooks” today in comic,s I still remember the times we left behind and become rather embarrassed.
Putting the compacted chapters aside and the minor elements of the story which were clearly written thirty plus years ago The V.C.s Hell in the Heavens is an excellent piece of 2000AD comic book nostalgia which you would do well picking up.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.