Preview: ‘The Thirteenth Floor Volume 3’ – There Goes The Neighbourhood – Max Is Back!

by Richard Bruton

The third and final volume of The Thirteenth Floor means the return of maniacal Max, the psychopathic computer with his own ideas on social engineering… deadly ones. It’s time to visit The Thirteenth Floor for the last time…

When we first met Max, he was the sentient computer running things in the futuristic Maxwell Tower, consigning anyone he considered a threat to the residents to a one-way trip to the thirteenth floor.

By volume two, he’d been shut down, removed from Maxwell Tower, and sold off to the private sector (well, it was the ’80s, everything ended up being sold off to the private sector back then!) Mini Max ended up in a fancy Oxford Street department store and got the job of security, hunting down the shop-lifters, the worst of the entitled customers, even the odd secret agent.

And now, for volume three, Max is back where he began, back in Maxwell Tower, and back to dishing out his own kind of summary justice, neighbourhood watch taken to the homicidal level.

 

It’s back to the good old days – sending anyone who goes against Max’s strict rules of behaviour to the horrors of the thirteenth floor – and that could be anything from a crooked milkman or a group of young thugs tormenting the block.

There’s trouble to come with Max malfunctioning, a new persona of Kung-Fu Max, and even a bit of globe-trotting as the Cold War comes to Maxwell Tower when the KGB comes calling for Max, through their own sentient computer (called Boris, of course) to make Max an offer… help the Reds take over the world or go offline… for good!

So, for one last time, fresh from the pages of the newly merged Eagle & Scream!, it’s time to relive the nightmares and weirdness created by the team of John Wagner and Alan Grant, and featuring classic artwork from José Ortiz.

It’s all wonderfully strange stuff, Wagner and Grant coming up with more and more bizarre ways to get Max involved, all working within a three-page weekly story, alongside Ortiz’s artwork, which is just so gloriously done.

We had three volumes of The Thirteenth Floor before Wagner and Grant made the decision to pull the plug on poor old Max. But they made certain that it was a case of going out before it all got tired and mundane. Instead, these three volumes go all-out, frequently fantastically inventive, with antes being upped every volume, and always looking great… three and out, a good way to go.

The Thirteenth Floor Volume 3
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, art by Jose Ortiz.

Published by Rebellion / Treasury of British Comics on 16 September.

This final collection of the classic Wagner/Grant & Ortiz Thirteenth Floor features stories from Eagle & Scream! from 1 March 1986 to 28 February 1987, plus work from Eagle Annual 1987.

Right then… time for those preview pages…

First up – Max goes all Kung-Fu…

 

The trouble with the milkman…

 

And finally… Max meets Boris…