Only a year younger than 2000AD itself, Ant Wars debuted in 1978 to an audience who were still very much entertained by the idea of giant insects causeing havoc and generally eating people to the melodious screams of "Aieeeee!" and the like. The question that has to be answered by this collection is whether people will still be entertained by this sort of guff, as giants ants are unlikely to have the same appeal for 50 year olds as they did 10 year olds.
Rebellion have been doing a sterling job of reprinting genuine clasics from the 70s, as my glowing reviews of Faceache, the Leopard From Lime St and others will attest. The choice of Ant Wars is, then, rather odd, as it would be hard to find many people who would read it today and stick the word 'classic 'anywhere near it's grasping mandibles.
Set in South America, it concerns giant mutant ants (caused by experimental chemicals, natch) that have to be stopped before they basically take over the world. Leading the fray are the usual square jawed nobhead and a native boy who likes to eat ants. Naturally the nobhead learns that the 'savage' is pretty handy really, and comes to respect him blah blah blah. The action crawls from location to location as our heroes barely excape with their skin intact until finally the ants are squashed.
Ant Wars is a traditional B movie of a strip, and to be honest it's hard to see any other way it could have been done at the time. It's a throwaway story that will likely be read, filed and forgotten. Gerry Finlay-Day knew how to stretch out a story and he does so with his usual flair here, ably abetted by some decent Spanish artists. As a slice of pulp history it's not all that bad, really, just not something that ever needed dragging out yet again (it's been reprinted in comic form a few times) to get the royal treatment of a graphic novel release.
Also included here is the 2005 Judge Dredd Megazine tale Zancudo, from Simon Spurrier and Cam Kennedy. The tale of two judges beset by more bloated South American insects failed to amuse me then and does even less now, as despite the talent involved it's a real yawn fest, even managing to make me miss the glorious pulp of the main story.
In conclusion, this collection should be approached with caution. The main story is very dated and overlong, whilst the back up fails to entertain in any way that really matters. Both have some good art. and giant insects are always fun for a while, but I hope Rebellion delve deeper into the real treasure of Britsh comics and leave stuff like this buried in the jungle.
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