... tried it (issue 1) again and still found myself baffled) I've always wanted to give it a proper go as I'm told as you get further in it becomes less of a puzzle. This definitely doesn't tie up with my recollections. The first few issues seem relatively straightforward. It's around halfway through that it all goes mental.
Well having finally got around to reading it the impression I had actually holds. Its a bloody work of wonder BUT you can see Bryan Talbot learning so much over the course of the story (not surprising when you consider its long creative history). The opening 2 or 3 parts (I got this as a digital collection so not quite sure where the episode breaks are) are a little confused. The chopping rapid changes between scenes and context making it all a bit puzzling to a linear mind like mine. That said its entirely apt that it is, as what your dealing with is a very complex world and set up and so feeling a little out of sorts as you break into that world could be a masterstroke, rather than the over enthusiasm of a beginner. Who knows... well Mr Talbot maybe.
Anyway after that the plot and story become more settled and the pacing calms things down as the stories finds a focus in the Cromwellian world Arkwright is using to draw out the baddies. Don't get me wrong it still has its indulgences, I found the whole death bit a little over egged and think it would have worked better if it'd be leaner, all be it with the wonderful stream of consiousiness life flashing before your eyes thing (as I read it very possibly wrongly!) - its just not that pleasent to read, especially as the letter is one of the comics weak points.
Over all though incredibly satisfying and I'm so glad I've finally got around to giving this a proper go and it does indeed belong amongst the pantheon of great comics of the 80s.
So looking forward to Heart of the Empire now.