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Monday, October 14, 2019

The Thirteenth Floor - Home Sweet Home

The latest Rebellion one-shot is a "Scream! Presents" special continuing the storylines begun on the Scream & Misty Specials for 2017 and 2018. This new story is written by Guy Adams, with a wraparound story drawn by John Stokes, and various other pages drawn by Hanrik Sahlstron, Tom Paterson, Abigail Harding, Frazer Irving, Vince Locke, Jimmy Broxton, V.V. Glass and Kelley Jones.

Max, the computer that runs Maxwell Tower, has been trying to restore himself after so long being dormant, and has teamed up with a young lad named Sam Bowers, who lives unhappily in a flat in the building. His parents argue constantly, but this might not be his biggest problem: Max is using his ability to control people to perform repairs to his system and Sam doesn't know what will happen to them afterwards.

There is also the problem of police officer Hester Benedict who believes too many people have gone missing in the vicinity of the towerblock and has been suffering bad dreams after she, too, experienced Max's Thirteenth Floor, where he punishes wrongdoers.

In the latest installment, Max must turn to Hester when the entire population of the tower find themselves on the Thirteenth Floor. The trigger for the storyline isn't what you might expect and all the more interesting for it (I'm desperately trying to make this spoiler free!).

Because this is a fairly linear story, the changes in style between artists isn't as jarring as you might imagine, leaping as it does from the realism of the opening few pages by Sahlstron to John Stokes' classic British comics' style and abruptly switching to the cartoon insanity of Tom Paterson. The previous two episodes of this story established the convention of artists working on different elements of the tale, bringing their talents to the sometimes gruesome settings for Max's Thirteenth Floor vengeance.

The artists range from the Swedish Sahlstron to Americans Locke and Jones, from illustrator Glass to veteran comic strip artists (Broxton, Irving) and a newcomer (Harding). Andreas Butzbach provides the artwork for a rather more humorous take on the Thirteenth Floor and a reprint of the very first episode (drawn by Spaniard, the late Jose Ortiz) wraps up this 52-page special.

The slowly building reintroduction of Max and the Thirteenth Floor strip takes another solid step forward. We can't be far off a new weekly comic surely?

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