Page 45 Review by Stephen
You will find speech bubbles!
And they will come floating right out of mage Micah's mouth!
Yes please! Yes please to any comic as fun and inventive as this! For considering its medium, and for such a wealth of world-building - as evidenced in the extensive, annotated sketch section beyond - which has not yet even begun to come into play in this perfectly composed, initial self-contained salvo.
Riddled with wit, pumped up with heart, and threaded with tantalising clues as to so much that will inevitably come next from these two new comics visionaries, this debut delivers on every front including its price point. I have no idea how Dominik and Simms have found the means to produce such a lavish, glossy and glowing package for a mere five quid.
They give you an entire comic story with a beginning bursting with subtle intrigue as to Jasper's unique nature - provided by his insatiably inquisitive propensity to dive in and discover novelty at the very real and rash risk of revealing his resistances - a middle in which those advantageous attributes are challenged as flip-sided flaws, and the most ecstatic end in which passion is provided in the form of a representational, phosphorescent firework display!
Phosphorous was always my favourite element. Drive it from water then see for yourself! Oh, wait, maybe it was Caesium. Do not add any water or all your bone china will be brutalised! It's possible I was expelled from a Chemistry class. Anyway...
Only then, once your value for money has already been delivered in dove-winged droves do these two ridiculously generous creators give you seventeen additional pages of lavishly illustrated, eloquent prose illuminating an entirely new and different but equally well thought-out perspective on this self-same world. An additional adventure!
And then Simms gives you her research: four full pages of gasp-inducing art intimating so much of what will follow.
The confidence and flawless execution is astounding.
Another thing I adored in very particular order: the third of four succinct paragraphs of what is so often too much introductory waffle:
"Doors change where they lead to, and if you step into a shop it may have moved by the time you step out"
Oh, you'll love The Foldings. It's basically Venice, free-floating in the sky.
Everyone knows that Venice rotates half its geographical mass overnight by 45% so inviting those of us over-confident in navigating its canal-crossing bridges the discomforting joy of experiencing misaligned hubris.
But this is a Venice not built on water but floating in air. There is no bottom to its depths, no sea-bed to which you might sink. Or is there? I experienced more than one extreme episode of vertigo for which I will be thanking neither Dominik nor Simms.
Oh, these two are so good!
And wood! Wood! Almost everything there is built of warped, creaking wood! And that carries - in addition to so much architectural beauty - additional consequences when the world is so structured on steam-punk.
Now, where do I buy some dust-eating fabric? I could do with a furlong or two of that.
"You know, if you ever did go in for assassination, I bet you'd accidentally use something totally harmless."
"Perfect, no one would ever suspect if no one actually died..."