Strontium Dog
Fire From Heaven

Starring: Simon Pegg, Toby Longworth, Mark McDonnell and Nicholas Briggs
Big Finish
RRP £9.99
ISBN 1 903654 89 0
Available now

Fugitive conman Oswald Mega has found the perfect place to hide. Johnny Alpha and his fellow Search/Destroy Agents have just 24 hours to find him, before every bounty hunter in the galaxy comes after the reward. But while they search in vain for him on the university planet Midgard, Mega has become a prophet on the forbidden desert world of Muspel... preparing an army of religious fanatics for the last battle against the Strontium Gods... lords of destruction who will fall from the sky... bringing fire from heaven...

Fire From Heaven is the second Strontium Dog audio production from Big Finish. This collection is more adult than the previous instalment, or the regular Judge Dredd audio's for that matter, with a handful of swear words (Gasp!) thrown in to heighten the realism. Let's hope this is the direction that future Strontium Dog episodes will go (The world of Judge Dredd already has it's own "Stom" and "Drok") because the constant use of the word "Snecking" is starting to get a little worn.

Simon Pegg is perfect as Johnny Alpha, the mutant bounty hunter. Pegg's co-stars are also extremely well cast. Mark McDonnell is wonderfully curt as McNulty, with spot on comic timing and Toby Longworth (who, incidentally, plays Judge Dredd in Big Finish's range of the same name) is wonderfully entertaining as the time travelling Viking Wulf Sternhammer. Nicholas Briggs (who also directs this episode) also turns in (an intended) bordering on pantomime villain performance as the warped Mega.

There was only one minor complaint which I thought may have confused listeners not overly familiar with the dynamics of the relationships in the 2000AD strips. In the previous Down to Earth audio release Alpha and McNulty are working very much as a team, but when they meet up in Fire From Heaven, they are openly hostile towards each other.

There are some great throw away lines and scenes, including McNulty's habit of urinating in public places, as well as his paranoid obsession that people think he is stupid, which also helped to enrich this production. It is also satisfying to see the conclusion come full circle, relating to subtle events at the start of the recording.

This is a first rate audio production and Jonathan Clements should be patting himself on the back for such a work of art.

Oh, in case it's not obvious... I bloody loved this! Go buy!

Darren Rea