Review by Frank Plowright
In later years Dan Abnett would extend Sinister Dexter stories over several episodes, but at thirteen chapters ‘Eurocrash’ remains their longest outing. As with other long stories to this point (1999, about three years into the strip’s run) Abnett has Simon Davis on board as artist, and uses it to bring a major change to the European sprawl of Downlode.
While free to accept other contracts, it’s understood that first call on Sinister and Dexter’s services comes from Downlode’s crime boss Demi Octavo. ‘Eurocrash’ starts with her feeling that the Steelburg district isn’t showing due respect, and so the gunsharks are dispatched to send a message. It doesn’t go as planned, and fellow gunsharks tell of similar rebellions. It’s a neat story as Abnett and Davis revisit several eccentrics seen in previous episodes, letting some occupy entire chapters, and introduce some threatening new hardcases. At times Davis’ people are too posed, ‘Nervous’ Rex being an example, but he compensates by dressing Sinister and Dexter like you’ve never seen them before over the final chapters. It’s very stylish. By the time ‘Eurocrash’ finishes, much has changed in Downlode, and it’s been an enjoyable ride.
Before the title piece there are two single episodes, Paul Marshall drawing what could be a tragedy, but doesn’t quite work, the lead-in too long and the pay-off too trivial, and we have the farce of Dexter’s attempts to go on a date in a restaurant where he hasn’t whacked someone. Andy Clarke’s art is nice, but again, the story’s on the trivial side. To some extent, so is the first piece following ‘Eurocrash’. Abnett has already produced stories with Sinister and Dexter waiting for their victim to arrive, but the use here of a single viewpoint and Paul Johnson’s inventive way of manoeuvring the characters within that raises it a cut above.
We first see the consequences of the title story in the nine chapter ‘Mission to Mangapore’, in which Sinister and Dexter arrive in the Asian equivalent of Downlode. Do we believe why they claim to be there? Can bullets stop ninjas? Both questions are answered along with a couple of surprises in another story that shifts the status quo, quite cleverly and appropriately, but it’s okay without ever rising above that, a particular point of contention being just how simple the eventual mission is.
Davis is back for the two chapter finale, the really neat ‘Behind Bars’, which probably isn’t what you think. It follows up on another plot thread from the title strip and ties it up stylishly, ending Eurocrash on a high note and setting the scene nicely for Money Shots.