David Lloyd’s weekly digital comics art anthology releases it’s second collected edition on ComiXology, but with a new mixture of writers, artists and characters can this Aces Weekly Volume 2 live up to the high standards of the first?
Publisher: Aces Weekly
Writer: Algesiras, Benjamin Dickson, Henry Flint, Ferg Handley, James Hudnall, Kathryn Layno
Artist: Henry Flint, Kevin Hopgood, Kathryn Layno, Yishan Li, Val Mayerik, Gavin Mitchell
Price: £6.99 from ComiXology
Collecting together the second arc of stories from David Lloyd’s weekly comic art anthology, Aces Weekly Volume 2 on ComiXology features a completely different range of character and stories from the excellent volume 1. Subscribers on the website will have received these in 7 weekly updates, so to have them all collected into one volume definitely aids reading. Unfortunately now that the novelty of the first issue has worn off, the ‘difficult second volume’ of Aces Weekly does not quite live up to the high standards that Lloyd and co have set for this series.
Despite some of the titles in Aces Weekly Volume 1 being unresolved, Aces Weekly Volume 2 features all new stories which means no continuation of the excellent Paradise Mechanism or the intriguing Progenitor from John McCrea. Instead we get a new raft of stories to familiarise ourselves with and there is also no product from Lloyd in this collection which is a shame and may be a let down for anyone hoping to get a regular dose of work from the V For Vendetta co-creator.
The quality of stories in Aces Weekly Volume 2 is still higher than your average anthology though, with stories from big UK comics names like 2000 AD stalwart Henry Flint, whose surreal world building (and falling) story Catalyst Island reads like a surreal history of mankind mixed with Lord of the Flies, and is told with scratchy black and white woodcut style pen and ink drawings that is probably the stand out of the whole volume.
Other stories worth mentioning in the volume are Ferg Handley and Kevin Hopgood’s Roman supernatural horror story Legion Zero which mixes Roman mythology with zombies and a modern contemporary edge. While Benjamin Dickson and Gavin Mitchell’s Santa Claus vs. The Nazis is not nearly as goofy as the title suggests, with Santa Claus fending off a Nazi invasion in a series which doesn’t have it’s tongue planted in it’s cheek as firmly as you would expect, reimagining Santa as an immortal force of nature who remains neutral in the world’s affairs until the Nazis invade Lapland and push his hand.
Unfortunately the other stories in this volume are somewhat lacking when compared to these first three. Blue Cat and The Cat That Came To Call are fairly whimsical stories that see lead characters transposed into dreamlike worlds thanks to feline intervention. While Kept Woman is a gritty Manga inspired story of a family hidden away in the woods.
With a price tag of £6.99, value for money is always going to be a challenge for the Aces Weekly product. When offered as part of a weekly service, a drop in quality can sometimes be tolerated by a loyal reader, however when asking new readers to shell out that kind of money (instead of £0.99 for something familiar), the quality of the output must always remain high to justify the price and unfortunately they don’t manage it with this one.