This year’s Free Comic Book Day is over and the dust has settled. That means it’s time for another roundup of some of the best, worst and most bizarre titles which readers had their pick of. More than that, it’s time for another annual tradition: The Battle Of The Books!
Round One begins with two old sparring partners going head to head once more in the battle of Britain. Last year it was almost too close to call, with Doctor Who almost toppling the mighty 2000AD. Will it manage the job this year?
There’s been little doubt that in terms of sheer value, 2000AD has been king of the hill. In terms of variety of stories, quality, creativity and size, it’s one of the best representations of the overall product you could get. It truly is the galaxy’s greatest comic.
However, this year they didn’t quite reach those same heights. The variety was there, the artwork was mostly gorgeous, the digital extras were a bonus and the size was chunky… but sadly it felt like it was slightly lacking this year, and the main culprit is, ironically, Judge Dredd. While previous years have come up with some amusing tales for the legendary lawman – sometimes even parodying comic books and Free Comic Book Day itself – this time around it’s a rather bland affair with little that makes Dredd stand out.
Instead of telling four separate tales of the Doctor, this year they’ve gone for one big story which shows how some of his adventures span both time and regenerations. It’s a case of putting all their eggs in one basket. It’s a risky gamble and the quality of the story seems uneven at times because of the different visual style for each Doctor’s appearance but, for the most part, it really works.
Utilising some plot devices from various shows, it still tells a creative story about how society needs conflict to progress – both for right and wrong. The current Doctor’s opinions of some of his earlier incarnations is easily one of the standout running jokes here, as he points out how Nine was brilliant, Ten was someone that everyone loved (especially mums), and Eleven had an impressive chin. Plus, with a variant cover exclusive to Forbidden Planet visitors, the value of this issue made it quite a find.
In a stunning upset, this time around the win goes to Doctor Who. While it wasn’t better, strictly speaking than previous offerings they were willing to try something a little different. However, it was the Dredd story for 2000AD which sealed its loss. While it was easily the more attractive comic book on the day, that opening story didn’t take full advantage of Free Comic Book Day like it has in previous years. Doctor Who squeaks through with a win, but arguably only because of 2000AD’s mistake. However, at the end of the day, both were definitely solid offerings.