Review by Frank Plowright
Alex De Campi was hooked by the anime she saw on Saturday morning TV growing up, and given a chance to produce a sci-fi thriller for 2000AD she channelled that love into Full Tilt Boogie.
In the anime fashion, she begins with a headrush of action, good ideas and the main cast bonding as the plot and setting is introduced. That primarily concerns Prince Ifan, who’s worn out his family’s goodwill by running up massive debts. They’re now inclined to let wild bear debt-chasers deal with him. Unfortunately for all, the place he chooses to take refuge might have technology capable of dealing with the short term danger, but it reawakens an incredibly potent, centuries old warrior whose motivation is conquering the galaxy. Again, nodding toward the anime, Full Tilt Boogie is the name of the ship the mismatched cast use.
This is a slim, but conceptually dense story packing a lot of excitement for young adult readers into its pages. Eduardo Ocaña’s art is exactly right for events, precise, decorative and with a good eye for the necessities of telling a good adventure story as clearly as possible. He gives the cast personality, and he’s imaginative when it comes to the designs of the science fiction trappings.
Ifan’s initial casual attitude toward the greater threat eventually brings him and his new friends into conflict with the establishment. De Campi arranges this with a smart, but seemingly casual turn of plot that’s simultaneously funny and dangerous, and she broadens the cast considerably for what’s a such a slim book, ensuring we know them all, while continuing to throw in interesting ideas. The best of them is that almost everyone is good-natured with their heart in the right place, yet seemingly being dragged inexorably to war. The ending is very abrupt, leaving the door open for a sequel, and readers may pick up on the way a problem near the end is dealt with, but it’s clever, and Full Tilt Boogie plays out as a great homage to the anime that inspired De Campi.