In the early 1980s, way before he was famous for absolutely anything, Alan Moore was tapped to pen a series of science fiction strips for the now-venerable British comic mag 2000 AD. Dubbed Future Shocks, these 2000 AD staples were one-and-done stories with diabolical twist endings and a quirky cast of aliens, time travelers, and ill-mannered mutants.
Rebellion Press has recently collected these vignettes by the bearded one in The Complete Alan Moore Future Shocks, which hit bookstores earlier this month. And even though no one's optioning a big-screen adaptation of the adventures of Bayer Lupo, The First Werewolf in Outer Space or protesting the status quo with masks of, uh, Phlondrutian dungeon guards, this collection remains a worthy purchase.
It's somewhat bizarre to think of Alan Moore as a novice. 75% of this has to do with his formidable bibliography; the other 25% stems from the fact that his primal, untamable beard has roamed the Earth for millennia, slaying mastodons before settling on Moore's jawline in the late 20th century. But yes, the reader can definitely tell that a younger Moore was still perfecting his craft here.
And although none of the comics are outright bad, several of them are more generic than the Alan Moore you may be accustomed to. The worst of these shorts read like middling entries in mildewy 1970s horror anthologies. It's good when "inoffensive" is the worst it gets.
But how about the good stuff? Lo, there's plenty of it. People tend to forget that Alan Moore can be a funny dude, and the high points of this collection are off-kilter comedy. The best bits star weirdos like the aforementioned Bayer Lupo, the doomed planet Klakton (a riff on Superman's origin), Dr. Dibworthy (a time stream meddler who tosses anvils through chronoportals), and the unctuous Abelard Snazz, a problem-solving supergenius who has the uncanny knack for attracting angry mobs. Moore even pens a ripping take on Tharg the Mighty, 2000 AD's surly, Betelgeusian master of ceremonies.
$20 would be a bargain for Alan Moore's formative zaniness by its lonesome, but when you factor in the art staff — folks like Dave Gibbons, Steve Dillon, Alan Davis, and Brendan McCarthy — this collection is a must-buy for Moore completists and a zarjaz choice for anyone else looking to take a respite from reality.