5 out of 5
Pros and Cons finally gets the gang back together… Somewhat. Abnett had put his Bullet Monkeys through some hijinks leading up to this, separating them and then seemingly offing Dex, with Finnigan having an amusing idenity crisis after going into hiding. It all reads very fluidly in these mini collections (praise the Meg for putting out so many back to back), amd the twists and turns are well-played, so it’s interesting to consider how this experience would have been waiting an unknown amount of time between installments. That’s part of the fun of the 2000 AD model, though.
Finnigan finds out that Ramone has actually been in prison, so of course the local next step is to get incarcerated. Abnett does a great job leading up to the reveal of this, establishing the penitentiary as a legit environment with characters and a sense of structure and not just a backdrop. When the duo connect – no need for long explanations as to who’s been doing what and where, since this is 2000 AD and not hand-holding Marvel / DC – a curveball arrives in that Ramone might not be dead, but he is injured, and cannot walk. A funny dream sequence follows wherein Finny imagines ways around that problem.
But of course the real way around it is what follows. It’s neither straight forward or overly twisty; it has moving pieces but is pretty dumb at the same time. This is what makes it fun to read, and fitting for the shoot first nature of the title.
Art-wise, the first chapters get split between Ian Richardson, Simon Coleby and Anthony Williams. Coleby’s pages have life and attitude, but otherwise the art’s a bit stiff and digital. It’s a welcome change when Simon Davis comes in. He’s been iffy on the title, but when it’s just character interaction (e.g. not a lot of big action) his layouts and unique style really, really work for the book, and thankfully that’s the case here.
Abnett’s story propels you forward the entire way, and very satisfyingly brings the Sin / Dex separation runaround to a close.