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Titan: God-Machine
Dan Abnett, illustrated by Anthony Williams & Andy Lanning
Black Library, no page count

Titan: God-Machine
Dan Abnett
Dan Abnett lives and works in Maidstone, Kent. After graduating from Oxford, he worked for a while as an editor of comics and children's books before turning to writing full time. In the dozen or so years since then, he has written for such a diverse range of characters -- including Scooby Doo, Thunderbirds, Conan the Barbarian, the X-Men, Johnny Bravo, Batman, Rupert the Bear, Dr Who, Mr Men, The Terminator and Postman Pat -- that he is now clinically bewildered. He created the popular series Sinister Dexter, which he continues to write, along with other strips, for 2000 AD, and has recently helped rejuvenate the Legion of Superheroes for DC Comics.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Ravenor
SF Site Review: Riders of the Dead

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil


'The first victory. Our first victory, Dictatio. A world at our feet. A billion foes dead and burning.'
Titan: God Machine is a series omnibus, book-sized graphic novel. Reproduced in black and white for half the book, the artwork changes to greyscale for the second half. The subject is the adventures of the Warlord Titan Imperius Dictatio and its crew. Titans are the ultimate in 41st Millennium war machines, standing over 100ft tall and armed with volcano cannons, turbo lasers and gatling blasters. They have but one purpose; to kill anything that potentially threatens the God-Emperor of mankind. Imperius Dictatio is commanded by Princeps Ervin Hekate, who comes to power when Dictatio's original Princeps dies on the job. Hekate soon finds himself mentally bound to the great machine, and like the rest of his command crew, is equipped with grafted on ports which provide a direct physical connection to the Titan. When this connection is active, Princeps Hekate controls the power of a mechanical god of war. When the link is broken, even for maintenance, he begins to suffer withdrawal symptoms akin to those of a drug addict. Hekate lives to fight and fights to live.

Dan Abnett has shown himself to be one of the better writers of action oriented SF, be it in comic book or novel form. But Titan: God Machine allows him so little room for development that he struggles to inject anything that might be described as a more than one dimensional. What we're presented with is centred around destruction; giant war machines that look like Transformers on steroids, traversing worlds and blowing the hell out of anything they encounter. It's the Murkan nightmare, twenty centuries ahead, and just as ugly. The impact of the artwork suffers from being reduced in size, more so in the first half, as the transition to greyscale helps with the definition of scenes. An extended belch of almost non-stop action includes a campaign on Vivaporius, a world where a swarm of Alien-like creatures called the Tyranid dominate. Here, the story briefly flickers into life when the Tyranid capture and possess another Warlord Titan. Unfortunately, just as this sequence is showing promise, it is abruptly cut short with another example of uber violence.

What I found particularly irritating is that every so often there's a ghost-like glimpse of a real story, trying to get out. But all threads which in a better title and with more imaginative editing might've been developed into interesting sub-plots, inevitably fall under the glorification of wanton destruction. All that remains, is a soulless emotionally truncated tale, that will appeal only to those who think that war is fun and might is right. Anyone else, I suspect, who has previously enjoyed the complexity and quality of Abnett's work, will recognise this as being the author on auto-pilot.

Copyright © 2005 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

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