If you haven't heard about Slaine by now, it can be best described as being the British take on the whole barbarian myth. Slaine is probably the most famous 2000AD serial (if you, of course discard the almighty Judge Dredd) and even though it is often compared to Conan, I would propose the argument that Slaine is much better and much more accomplished piece of work than Conan. Because most of the stories are loosely centered around the plethora of various European and Celtic myths, by reading Slaine you can actually google the names of character and reading their Wikipedia entries read what really happened. Therefore, we are very happy that Slaine is getting treatment it deserves through the latest batch of beautiful paperback collections from 2000AD.
Grail War is 8th such collection and finds Slaine in 13th Century France during one of the bloodiest times in history - Christian crusade against Cathars. In a strange twist of face, Slaine's long lost lover Niamh has reincarnated as Crusader Simon De Montfort - crazed enemy of the Cathars and Slaine must fight with him despite the fact that he is disgusted by the position he's in. For those who are not history buffs, De Montfort is one of the most brutal figures from this period of history which, as you can imagine, proposes some very interesting moral doubts for Slaine. In the middle of all this is the legend of the Holy Grail, also loosely taken from one particular Cathar legend. However, just because this is Slaine, thrown in the mix, you also get healthy amounts of fun and outrageous action.
The collection also includes short story which features the short re-telling of William Wallace tale. I really enjoyed it as well and it is definitely worthy addition to Slaine cantos. On the other hand, also included is the story from 2000AD Annual 1985 which is best forgotten but is still a nice addition for those who want a complete collection.
All in all, I really enjoyed Grail War as a whole and would recommend it to everyone who wants to experience really good fantasy romp through pages of history.