Welcome back to the Global Exo Segregation Zone, The Grey Area. After a disastrous first contact, Earth has set in place strict immigration protocols where all ETs looking to come to Earth are placed in the Grey Area, a melting pot of the strange and alien, some friendly, some desperate, others meaning us great harm. In charge of keeping something like the peace are the Exo Transfer Control Squad officers, including Captain Adam Bulliet and his team.
In Grey Area, Dan Abnett has created a practically perfect sort of sci-fi strip; thrilling, full of deadpan comedy, but also reflective of the world today.
And in this second volume, alongside Abnett’s hard edge sci-fi storyline, there’s the art of Mark Harrison. Volume one was more of an ensemble thing, and the strip really benefits from one artistic vision, especially when it’s as superb as Harrison’s. His pages are absolutely packed with detail, but never at the expense of clear storytelling.
You can read the review of Volume 1 here, but in Volume two… things really kick up a notch…
It’s not going to be a good day for Bulliet and the gang.
Everything in this second volume spins out of Bulliet’s decision to kill the murderous Arakshu ambassador, something that’s coming back to bite him. And hard.
The Arakshu don’t care why he did it, they just want revenge. But not just personal revenge, they want to take it out on the entire planet, the entire species.
Which is why something very much like a God arrives in Earth orbit…
This is the God-Star, with multiple smaller versions across the globe, a global killer that Bulliet is going to have to take down. Bulliet knows just a little about this, from his dealings with the Rookuk, the refugees that claimed they killed God. It is the same thing. The Rookuk dealt with their God by dropping it into a local star.
Bulliet, Birdy, Kym and the gang’s meet & greet for the second coming doesn’t exactly go the way they planned, which is where this volume of Grey Area heads off into some wonderfully unexpected territories… we really aren’t in Kansas anymore.
The delights of Officer Resting Bitch Face and Officer Compelling Male Musk Odour, a new Grey Area and a whole set of new but very familiar problems await both you and the Exo-Squad. But what the hell is Bulliet meant to do when he’s facing off with another God-Star where no-one believes there’s any threat and there aren’t any weapons to speak of?
That, dear reader, is up to you to find out. But dammit, it’s well worth it. And, incredibly, that’s just roughly over half of this volume. The rest of it is just as fabulous, just as epic and sets up everything that is to come in volume three. Rogue Exo-Squads, marriages, cultural exchanges, and so much more await.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here, Grey Area is one of my favourite 2000 AD strips of the last couple of decades and deserves a place on your bookshelves.
Grey Area Volume 2 is written and co-created by Dan Abnett, with art from Mark Harrison, and is published by 2000AD/Rebellion in September. Which should give you all plenty of time to discover the whole series with Grey Area: Volume 1, reviewed here.
Now, here’s the first few pages, just to give you the feel of just where you’ll be going when you enter the Grey Area…
(And it just gets worse for Bulliet from there!)