Review: Are You Ready To Blast Off With The Thrills Of ‘Full Tilt Boogie’?
by Richard Bruton
The all-new, all-ages collection of Full Tilt Boogie is full of space adventure with a very modern feel, yet harking back to the very best of both 2000 AD and classic Euro sci-fi comics.
Alex de Campi and Eduardo Ocana give us a glorious mix of action-packed thrills and good old-fashioned sci-fi, creating something that should appeal to all in this and many more adventures to come.
This was definitely something different for 2000 AD, the very first of their strips to debut in the all-ages 2000 AD Regened Progs that then got a full 2000 AD series, it retained the all-ages aspect but Full Tilt Boogie is still very much the great space opera romp in classic 2000 AD style!
“Tee, along with her grandmother and cat, is a wannabe bounty hunter, odd-jobbing across the galaxy in her ship the Full Tilt Boogie, constantly on the lookout for the bigger, better payday. Some days, though, it’s less bounty-hunting and more baby-sitting, especially when they rescue the narcissistic Prince Ifan from Debtor’s Prison.
Accidentally sparking an intergalactic war, suddenly Tee finds herself chased across the universe by sacred knights and unstoppable undead warriors. Planet conquering, prince rescuing, and ramen eating – it’s all in a day’s work for the crew of the Full Tilt Boogie!”
In Full Tilt Boogie, Alex de Campi and Eduardo Ocana draw deep on both de Campi’s love of space anime sagas (Gatchaman/ Battle of the Planets and Space Battleship Yamato/ Star Blazers) and Ocana’s clean-line Euro classic influences.
The result is something truly all-ages, a smart, fast-paced thing with action a-plenty but also one that takes the time to build both the world of the strip and all of the great characters involved. It’s a series that I enjoyed in serialisation in 2000 AD but one that really comes into its own here in this collection.
At its heart, Full Tilt Boogie is all about family and the idea that your family unit can be whatever you make it. Here, the core is Tee, her Grandmother, and their cat (whose name is Cat and may or may not have a portal to another dimension in its stomach), operating together to chase down bounties – or at least Tee goes for the bounties and Grandmother keeps everyone in ramen and mangoes.
Now, although Tee’s thing is bounty hunting, we get the idea right away that she’s not all that great at it, scratching around from job to job, never really getting that big payday. Although, as it all open, we have the sense that it could all be changing.
Although, Tee’s luck with these things though… not so good.
No, no she’s really not that good at this. And that’s so much of the fun here.
By the end of that first introductory adventure, we get an idea of what it’s all about, have the new crew of the Full Tilt Boogie assembled and set off for a fantastic adventure with Tee and the gang becoming seriously wanted through the Universe.
Although that’s a bit of an over-reaction, surely?
After all, the only thing Tee did whilst rescuing the Luxine Empire’s wayward Prince Ifan (for a bounty that (yet again) didn’t come off) was accidentally re-awaken the last of the Luxine Empire’s mortal enemies – an Anubite warrior and Horus, the grumpy and scatty war computer – yep, just a little thing.
Although Tee did get the good ship Full Tilt Boogie out of it all… so not all bad…
And that all leads us into the main adventure, with Tee and the gang coming into conflict with the Luxine Empire, pursued by the newly created Luxine Knights, a relic of the past war with the Anubites.
And here’s where de Campi introduces more adult elements into the storyline, with the past destruction of the Anubite Empire and the sacrifice of the Luxine knights, brought into play since Tee met the Black Dog, the last of the Anubite warriors.
There’s serious death and destruction, genocide even, here in Full Tilt Boogie, because de Campi understands how important it is to never talk down to her all-ages audience.
Kids get it, they understand the horrors of the world, they’re stronger than we adults often give them credit for – such is the basis of all great all-ages literature, there has to be conflict, there has to be threat, and that’s here in spades – an all-ages book with true jeopardy but getting the mix of the dark and the light just right.
The look for Full Tilt Boogie, thanks to Ocana’s artwork, is a gorgeous Euro clean line, with elements of Valerian, of Moebius, and of so many other Euro greats, with the simple line, the futuristic stylings, characters with a simple line juxtaposed against fully realised and detailed backgrounds. There are so many simply lovely textures to Ocana’s work in here, it’s a sheer joy to take it all in.
The Full Tilt Boogie takes us into a galaxy-wide conflict yet never forgets what it’s trying to do, giving us thrills and action, and along the way characters are developed and worlds are built, giving us a fully formed universe of potential for future adventures.
By the end of it all, we have just the first salvo in what could run and run as a classic 2000 AD strip, perfect for younger readers, as much of 2000 AD‘s sci-fi action was, but also giving older readers that slice of nostalgia for a fabulous looking, easy reading, space-set thriller.
It’s a collection that reads so well, a perfect example of how to create a huge, galaxy-spanning epic from the ground up, full of fun, full of adventure, and never forgetting the importance of family – whatever that may be.
It’s time to blast off with the crew of the Full Tilt Boogie. There will be adventure, there will be excitement and, of course, thanks to Grandma there’s plenty of ramen and mangoes to go around.
Regened Presents: Fill Tilt Boogie by Alex De Campi and Eduardo Ocaña, letters by Simon Bowland.
Published by 2000 AD/ Rebellion on 13th May 2021 in softcover and an exclusive 2000 AD web shop hardcover.