AUTHOR: PATT MILLS | ARTIST: SIMON BISLEY | PUBLISHER: REBELLION | FORMAT: TRADE | RELEASE DATE: MAY 28TH (DIGITAL), SEPTEMBER 3RD (PRINT)
By now, The Horned God has been collected in more books than Sláine has lopped off heads. Still, we don't think it too many. After all, this is the character's definitive arc and one of the greatest 2000AD stories of all time.
This sumptuous collector's edition collects Pat Mills and Simon Bisley's all-time-best work in one deluxe graphic novel. Again. The story, for the uninitiated, follows Celtic warrior king Sláine as he attempts to free Tír na nÓg from the oppression of the drunes, and the dominion of their vile, decaying leader, Lord Weird Slough Feg. Really, though, The Horned God is but a showcase for Simon Bisley's breathtakingly beautiful artwork – surely the most gorgeous thing 2000 AD has ever put out, and one of the most beautiful comic books of all time.
Crudely narrated by Sláine's dwarf companion Ukko, we learn of his quest to unite the four kings of Tír na nÓg, battling his way through hordes of man and monster alike. Hilarious, super violent, and profoundly - almost unsettlingly - sexy, it's the epitome of late eighties 2000AD, and a storyline so good that the character never really recovered from it afterwards.
Granted, the story is too reliant upon Ukko's narration to flow as smoothly as it should, but this remains Pat Mills's masterpiece, effortlessly weaving Celtic mythology into a tale of barbarian ultraviolence, insidious Lovecraftian malice, and heaps of nudity that somehow never feels gratuitous. Keep an eye out, during the back half of the book, for Sláine's schlong, peeking out from under his kilt in almost every panel, should you care to look hard enough. Game of Thrones take note: now this is how you do tits and dragons.
A treat for newcomers and long-time fans alike, age has in no way lessened the impact of The Horned God, which remains as exciting, amusing and arousing a read as it ever was. Dredd may keep the lights on, but The Horned God is 2000 AD's masterpiece, and one of the greatest comic book stories ever told.