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  • Writer's pictureTrusty Henchman

Reading Pile: Dr. Grordbort Onslaught: Excessive Space Violence For Girls & Boys HC

"Each page of each copy of Onslaught has been laced with advanced-state inter-solar space-herpes. It's more or less the worst kind of herpes."

That single excerpt pretty much defines this book, and it's from the second paragraph of the introduction alone. The Dr. Grordbort books are chock full of the type of satire that laces every single bit of text with jokes (and herpes), so you would do well to not skip any bit of it as it's loaded with pulp violence humor based off of colonial era chauvinism. And this is an incredibly dense book full of catalogs for interstellar weaponry, cosmic bestiaries, propaganda posters, and much much more.

This particular collection brings together the previous books Doctor Grordbort’s Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory, Victory: Science Adventure Violence for Young Men and Literate Women, and Triumph: Unnecessarily Violent Tales of Science Adventure for the Simple and Unfortunate. On top of that it also includes a chunk of newer content (well, new as of 2014), so if you already had the original material there's still new material to tempt you.

And while a lot of the older editions that were original published by Dark Horse were printed in larger formats, this Titan version is nicely done and it's great to get it all in one place without having to hunt for out of print editions.

The comic elements of these collections follow the adventurer Lord Cockswain ("The Man, the Myth, the Muttonchops") as he explores the cosmos and studies interplanetary flora and fauna by killing it with large guns. He is an unforgivably arrogant piece of work that abuses the local natives of any planet he lands on and we're pretty much stuck with him as he's unnaturally lucky when it comes to survival.

The stories are all quick snippets of adventures that are sparse on plot and heavy on humor and lasers, a mix mash of genres with a heavy pulp feeling that revels in highlighting how much humans suck. They were all originally released as parts of other books that shared space with the weapons catalogs or bestiaries, so it's interesting to absorb them all in one sitting like this. The art changes a bit from adventure to adventure as creator Greg Broadmore experimented and honed his style over the years of the original releases. I would maybe recommend reading this in spurts and chunks though, as the comic adventures themselves are a bit repetitive in nature. Sure they are broken up by the other sequences and art galleries and that helps a lot, but they can get a bit predictable and they lack any real tension.

A lot of where Broadmore really shines is in his concept and design work. He was a concept designer for Avatar, Black Sheep, and King Kong, as well as the lead concept designer on District 9 and it definitely shows. He truly excels in creating bizarre aliens, so if you're a fan of speculative biology this should be right up your alley.

There's also just a pure love for pulp sci-fi at work throughout every element of this collection and it really just makes the entire package shine. Especially in the beautiful art galleries full of great vistas and in the industrial sci-fi war propaganda pieces scattered throughout the book.

This edition is 176 pages for just $22.99 and is still fairly easy to track down. If you find that this material speaks to you I would say the older editions are really nice and worth hunting down as Dark Horse just does great work in their book designs and they brought out more of the flavor of the Grordbort universe. But if you just want a nice, clean, and condensed package this is a great value and a dense chunk of reading that will keep you very busy as you pour through the designs and all the accompanying text.

And you definitely won't want to skip too much of that text because you won't want to miss out on them space-herpes.

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