Page 45 Review by Stephen
Professor Maria Kilbride was once an optimist: a fresh-faced, enthusiastic explorer of hidden science. She was given funding by the FPI and four similarly specialised experts to cross-pollinate with. They were to put their minds together, think outside the box and do stuff.
They did stuff: they poisoned the 21st Century.
They did it with an Injection and now they discover that they and this planet are far from immune.
Professor Maria Kilbride now resides at Sawlung Hospital which, translated from old English, means "giving up the ghost". Nominally a patient, she but is anything but. She is worn out, fractious, unkempt and implicitly under investigation by the FPI's own inner Cursus which demands she cleans up her mess. Ever since Maria and her cohorts dissolved their Cultural Cross-Contamination Unit in the wake of their Injection, incidents have occurred. Walls of science and nature have come crashing down or are opening up. The world is evolving. The breaches are pretty spectacular.
So Professor Maria Kilbride is being dragged out once again to stop what she has started and she will try the best that she can. But she is tired, malnourished and would very much like a fucking sandwich.
From the writer of GLOBAL FREQUENCY and PLANETARY, this boasts elements of both: weird science, history, ghostly echoes, specialised experts and catastrophic incidents. It's also highly reminiscent of Jamie Delano's early HELLBLAZER with secret, string-pulling organisations and references to stone circles, ley lines, cursuses, cunning folk and the Ridgeway. In other words very British indeed, quaint villages included.
Shalvey and Bellaire have done a tremendous job of separating the past from the present: it couldn't be clearer. Both the body language and colours command that you consider the contrast. They've also executed the most furious and thrilling cyclone of leaves I ever thought possible, while the action sequences later on come with balletic grace and a clipped, military precision.
In places I get whiffs of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN's Kevin O'Neill. I may be down-wind.
It's also typical Ellis in that it demands you go Google-ing specialised terms and then - if you're anything like me - pretend you knew exactly what they all meant in the first place. You think I knew what a cursus was? Oh, how you overestimate me!
But if you're also anything like me then you love to learn, you hate being hand-held and you relish a comic with intelligence, wit, and so much hard research and forethought behind it that you embrace the brand-new even when it harks so geo-specifically back to the past.
I am old, I am tired. Can someone please make me a fucking sandwich? Something with mushrooms, tuna and cheese would be ideal; melted even better.
Because like Professor Maria Kilbride I have seen what's behind this closed door and it shouldn't even be possible.