Kingdom: The Promised Land – graphic novel by Dan Abnett (spoilers)

Kingdom: The Promised Land
Published by Rebellion

KINGDOM

Script: Dan Abnett
Art: Richard Elson
Letters: Ellie De Ville
Originally published in 2000 AD
Progs 2007, 1518-1525

THE PROMISED LAND

Script: Dan Abnett
Art: Richard Elson
Letters: Simon Bowland
Originally published in 2000 AD
Progs 2008, 15671576

Recently Abadon Books announced the forthcoming publication of Fiefdom by Dan Abnett, and Nik Vincent, The novel will be set 100 in the future of the tales in the 2000AD comic series Kingdom.

This is the first collection of Kingdom by Dan Abnett and Richard Elson,

Gene the Hackman and his pack of Aux are on a ‘walk around’ each dawn and each dusk they receive ‘urgings’ telling them what to do. And those ‘urgings’ take them to fight ‘Them’. To keep ‘Them off the lawn’. The pack don’t even know what a ‘lawn’ is. But they know what ‘Them’ are and what to do to ‘Them’, they ‘get whet’.

In the first part, Kingdom, The pack are eight strong. Jack so Wild, Run Run Shaw, Tod of Much Slaughter, Maryan Faithful, Louey Armstrong, Old Man Gary, Ginny Wolf and their Alpha Male: Gene The Hackman.

They serve their masters, who send the urgings. Until one day they find something new, they have no word for, they name it Land Bridge. The next morning – no urgings come…

The strip stands out from the first few pages. The story is told from the point of view of the pack, narrated as if told by one of their own kind with a world view similar to their own. simplified language with a tendency to repetitions such as ‘tougher and tough’ and ‘deader and dead’.

We know from the outset that this may be an unreliable narrator. The Naíf: A narrator whose perception is limited through his or her point of view.

So without being told we can guess that these are genetically altered dogs, we can guess something bad has happened to the Human race. The specifics we learn along with Gene.

Then in Promised Land we follow Gene over the land bridge.

There Gene finds that may of Them are sick, infested with creatures like ticks but much, much bigger. The infected Them just ignore him but others he has to kill. The urgings return and tell him where to go. But they seem to have forgotten Old Man Gary who in the last tale Gene was told had retired to a farm in the country in reward of his long time serving the masters.

kingdom leezeeGene finds himself drawn to an idyll, a township set in farmland that is almost free of Them despite there being no Aux to defend it. And there are masters here, living free, their dogs are of the four legged variety. Life is good and Gene befriends Leezee Sower, a young girl.

Again an unreliable narrator but slowly Gene starts to see things from our perspective, slowly. He starts to question what others tell him, starts to wonder.

In both the art is outstandingly good. The Aux all have distinct looks despite being dressed similarly. Their expressions and body language work well. The Human in the Outpost seems worn and damaged. The Humans in the Promised Land though instantly make one think of healthy country folk.

There are some great extras at the back of the book showing the pencils, inks and finally colours of a page. There are also design sketches that tell us about the armour and scarring of the Aux pack.

This is one of my favourite strips of recent years in 2000AD. I’m looking forward to see what Dan and Nik get up to in Fiefdom.

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