Plagued – The Miranda Chronicles. Written by Gary Chudleigh, art by Tanya Roberts
A plague has ravaged the planet, a plague which it seems comes from the ground itself. Cities like Glasgow are reduced to burned out wastelands, preyed on by bandits. I once lived in Govan, so can relate to this, however in this instance the blame is placed on witches rather than multiple sources of deprivation.
But when Mackie meets the witch Miranda he finds that she has a magic potion that can cure the plague. Their powers are stolen by electronic dampers – ‘de-witchers’ and they are pursued by mercenary witch-hunters seeking the bounty on their heads.
Mackie doesn’t think he is a witch, in fact he is a witch-hunter, adopted by high heid-yin of the witch-hunters, Salem, as a small child. He does have something unusual about him however. He can talk to his dog Dex. Teaming up with the witch Miranda, they set about spreading the witch cure to afflicted villages and towns and begin unravelling the truth about the Reneco corporation who supply drugs to ‘control’ the plague.
Plagued is like a cyberpunk version of Witch Hunter General, but with an additional twist of social commentary. Mackie, Miranda and Dex are very likeable characters and a critique regarding healthcare is quite palatable coming from them. Miranda cures the plague afflicted because it is the right thing to do, the Reneco corporation’s involvement is purely for profit. They will defend that profit at any cost.
Remember, smiles or knives Mackie — whatever they welcome us with — we help them all the sameMiranda
Whilst most of the plot twists in Plagued can be seen from a mile off, the strength of the writing in the book lies with its characters, and the snappy dialogue. But the characterisation is also brilliantly brought to life by the art of Tanya Roberts.
Tanya has an open and cartoony style with strong influence from animation. Tanya captures facial expressions brilliantly and the art brings a fluidity and dynamism to the book.
In Dex the dog, Plagued has the best canine character since Snowy. Come to think of it, I recognise that quiff. The closing of Plagued opens the door to potentially more tales in the future. Will we see Mackie and Dex again? I hope so, Plagued has a lot of heart and it will have great appeal for younger readers especially.
Plagued is published in three volumes by BHP Comics and you can buy it directly from them or from book stores.