100% Biodegradable #16 is a pleasant hodgepodge anthology of comic art styles and story genres. Featuring a bevy of supremely talented writers and artists, the book just has an absolutely fun feel to it; the stories are quick reads that never drag or overstay their welcome, and you almost always wish for there to be more.
The anthology starts things off with writer John Freeman and artist Liam Sharp’s Rourke of the Radlands, a returning character first featured in Marvel UK’s STRIP anthology (Issue Four); the story features some very early-to-mid-90’s comic book art style, and it’s a fun throwback to the look predominantly associated to the comics I grew up reading as a kid. Complementing the excellent art style is colorist Brett Burbridge and letterer Stuart Bartlett. Rourke of the Radlands tells the story of a very brutal confrontation between its titular character and a Wizard. I thought this story was fun, and it was definitely had me looking forward to more.
The Ides of Mars, written by Paul Bradford with art by Luciano Fleitas, is a very effective story featuring a deadly alien that explodes out of the bodies of the hapless humans who come across it; there’s a character named Scott, which I’m assuming is an apropos homage to Alien director Ridley Scott. The art is super, and the alien creature is really neat. It has a somewhat Twilight Zone-esque ending which I totally dug.
John Freeman returns as writer for Skowdogs #2, this time joined by co-writer (as well as 100% Biodegradable Editor) Dave Hailwood and artist Dave Thomson. Skowdogs is a fun sci-fi adventure story featuring a loveably feisty robot and a crew of space explorers. I like the idea that this is a continuing story, and it kind of reminded me of an intergalactic Indiana Jones escapade. My only complaint with this story was the lettering; the font they used was a bit distracting, especially when Mex the Construction Robot speaks. Overall though, it’s another solid entry in this anthology.
Next up is The Odd Squad, a story about a group of super powered misfits dispatched by the government. Co-Written by David Hailwood and Tony Suleri, it’s a fun short reminiscent of X-Men, but with a more violent edge. What doesn’t work for me is Tony Suleri’s art; it’s this odd style that comes off a bit smudged and unrefined. It’s not bad, mind you; it’s just not my kind of thing.
Last but not least is Switchblade in Germs: Part Two from the team of Alan Burrows (Script/Art), Paul H Birch (Additional Words), and letterer Steve Harrison. This one is hard to review, much harder than anything else in the anthology because it’s part two of a story and I feel a bit lost having not read part one. There are other stories in this anthology that I’m diving into without a complete frame of reference, but they seem fairly easy to pick up and instantly gain a sense of what’s going on; not this one though, I’m pretty lost here. I don’t blame the writers; I just blame my unfamiliarity first and foremost. I really dig the art though, I’m a sucker for comics in black and white that have gross, oozing snot and puss reminiscent of old EC Comics.
100% Biodegradable #16 was a neat collection of stories; standouts for me were Roarke of the RadLands and Skowdogs #2, they were exceptional in my opinion, but the rest were certainly enjoyable. I’d give it a solid recommendation to most comic fans I know.
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100% Biodegradable #16 is a really well put together anthology that has something for just about every kind of comic book fan. It’s definitely worth checking out, specifically Roarke of the Radlands, a true gem from the 1990’s.