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Sentinel #9, "77", Reviewed

Sentinel issue 9 cover

How about some Anarchy in the UK era horror delights that’s as British, horror fueled and punk as tea, cucumber and maggot sandwiches with a bottle of newkie brown and a side of Oi!? Well would you bloody believe it, it’s only a new issue of Sentinel. It’s Sentinel #9 "77" A horror special!!

Ladies, gentlemen, Sentileers, rejoice we lucky people! Sentinel comics continue in strength for yet another genre shift treat full of gory edged horror twists for the hallows eve that lies around the corner. The deadly duo Alan Holloway and Ed Doyle have teamed up again with Sentinel delightful deviants old and new with a return to horror, but this time a tweaked format - as if Sentileers weren’t spoiled enough with 64 pages of British indie entertainment in underground styles. Well, this time the punk edge gets literal and the issue gets pumped up to 80 pages of heavenly horror to stick it to the Hooray Henrys. Oi! Oi!

I’ve got a lot of affection for Sentinel, the team always delivers something different and I’m never disappointed. It's starting to become no surprise that they keep on surprising with a new gear of exceptional entertainment.

So, let’s start with the art. Well, what a group of artists involved here. To pogo dance things off it’s Neil Sim with the wrap-around cover which is sure to delight. Without a doubt my favourite Sentinel cover and it’s pure filth. Neil's style looks right at home in Sentinel, particularly for this issue. The painted art of his co-created character Philthy Luca, who is also guest editor, couldn’t be better suited. The style screams punk rock energy and the overall image is super, the gnawing bone and subtle 77 title are really special. Rumour is there’ll also be two mini strips from Neil inside which will have to remain a surprise for backers but judging from the cover art it will be well worth it.

On to the first of the three main strips then. Yes, you read correctly three. Oh Mr Holloway you do spoil us. Anyway, the first strip art comes from co-founder of Sentinel, reliable as a rainy day in British summer, Ed Doyle who works his black and white magic on Illuminati. Ed’s style of British retro art works really well here suiting the mood with great accomplishment. This is some of Ed’s strongest work. With character design, there's a Dredd leaning Bobby that I enjoyed and the two leads Bob and Darren work as great polar opposites of monarchist and conspiracy nut. The bold ink on display captures a lot of great detail and adds an atmospheric edge to moments like the palace under the moonlight panel. What really stands out is certainly all of ol lizzies sequences which are just criminally brilliant.

Sentinel issue 9 Illuminati

Next up it's the return of Andrew Richmond, last seen here on Sentinel issue 8. The monochrome heavy ink madness continues in art a lot closer to Andrew's noir chapter of "To Be A Hero" but without the rain. The character design for skinhead lead Skinzy is fun but the gorier moments really stand out with the ink splash approach. There's lots of crosshatch shading used to great effect and the graffiti creation really shines for its design elements.

Sentinel issue 9 Monster Ink

Finally, it's new to Sentinel, Sinclair Elliot on SevenPenny Nightmare. Sinclairs art is the most appealing of the internals on offer. There's a high level of fine detail. The standard of panel is some of the most refined of Sentinels catalogue and I’m sorry Paul Spence but there's a contender here for my favourite Sentinel artist. The Dameon panel was absolutely my favourite on offer of all the art here. It's a nightmare snapshot that could adorn a wall with serious monster energy in great effect. Let’s not forget Ed Doyles professional as always lettering work on all but Monster Ink where Andrew Richmond handles duties.

Sentinel issue 9 The Seven Penny Nightmare

On to the story and you’ll never guess who's responsible for all of these stories. It’s only the Seto Thargo, the Terran with the talent who must surely be a Krill Tro Thargo, it's one and only Alan Holloway! Who once more has the storytelling reins. The background to this issue is pretty interesting with the fuller details worth reading on the Kickstarter which we’ll get too. A short summary here would be "The 77" comic missed out on some cracking stories, everyone here worked on issue one and all the stories are set in 1977 but there are no ties to "The 77" comic just us Sentileers, present and future, reaping the benefits. Anywho, Sentinel #9 "77" is once again a cracking showcase of Alan being brilliant, once again with horror and this time within the motif of 1977 Britain and he delivers on everything you’d want and, at this point, come to expect from a Sentinel Halloween special. This one is back to an older age-appropriate audience, we had Crackpot! for the little ones and it is a horror special so things get a bit tasty in violence and gore aspects. I am all for it. Alan hits some cool twists in each story with splendid surprises and inspired moments, it’s what I now consider typical Alan Holloway, prepare to be entertained.

Here's a snapshot of each story.

Illuminati- Sees Bob Blainey get a bump to the head from conspiracy nut Darren Selman that might change his worldview. All I’ll say is God save the queen and beware the midnight snack.

Monster Ink- This is the story that gave me a first in comics. My first full Geordie comic strip that goes to prove you never mess with the Geordies and graffiti isn’t always just art like Banksy

The Seven Penny Nightmare- Aspiring writers trying the difficult task of creating an edgy new boys comic. They're battling a stuffy editor but can their creations give them the edge?

All this plus some extra from Alan and Neil with Philthy Luca as well as a pin-up gallery featuring Sentinel alumni Andrew Richmond, Paul Spence, David Metcalfe-Carr, Ian Beadle, Filippo Roncone and Ed Doyle.

For fans of horror, retro British bumper bonanzas, 1977, punk, underground art, Alan Holloways ridiculous diversity, movie references, the Queen's eating habits, monsters and gore waste no time and make haste for the Kickstarter here you will be most pleased. For physical backers, there's some smashing add ons while they last, in the form of signed #1’s of "The 77" the UK based anthology comic, commission slots for Neil Sims, Sinclair Elliot, Ed Doyle and Andrew Richmond. Horror sketches from David Metcalfe or Paul Spence. So don’t delay as this campaign closes in on its final week.

Review: 4.5/5

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