Reviews January 2011 week three

 

Upgrade: because the on-sale date for all comics and graphic novels is now Wednesday, we can now give you the full list of all the books which have arrived each week underneath the main reviews every Wednesday. Though obviously we can’t review them in the eight hours before publishing here: we’re getting them out of the boxes, putting them on the shelves and popping ‘em in customer order files! Reviews will follow, my lovelies, fret ye not!

 

Emitown (18-99, Image) by Emi Lenox.

“I’m useless, but not for long, the future is comin’ on…”

Exhuberance, self-doubt, crazy coffee attacks, sleepless nights, the comfort of clothes, accosted by wonky-eyed weirdoes who want to bum a cigarette, and getting served last at a bar. Don’t you just hate that? These are the sort of things young Emi Lenox encountered on a daily basis for a year between 2009 and 2010. She loses her mobile, loses her house keys, loses her rag when someone insults her friends, but she never, ever loses her courage, optimism or glee. Hey, we all have our black-hearted days and so does Emi, but that’s what the Gorillaz are for, no?

The cartooning here is a black, white and blue/grey joy, laid out with plenty of space as Emi endures, stoically supported by a pair of belligerent cats in Dad’s Army helmets on the battlefield of love. It’s easy to see why Jeffrey Brown, Jeff Lemire and Brandon Graham all fell for these daily diary entries. There’s something more immediate compared to structured autobiography, with room for random reactions and idle speculation but also secretly heartfelt truths.

“I LOVE getting text messages! It means someone thought of you! Except a mass text… you’re just one of the herd… Jealous? Mmmhmm.”

Half the fun is the comfort of recognition – a little empathy goes a long way. I smiled quietly to myself during the dilemma of applying a band aid or allowing a wound to scab over, then when she daydreamed about the next installments of her favourite graphic novels. She’s not short of original material, either!

“This morning when I got to my car there was a napkin under my windshield wiper that someone wrote “I’m sorry…” [on]. Who left it? Why are they sorry? Was it mistakenly put on my car? Oh the mystery.”

We owe yet another great debt to Top Shelf here for Lenox spent time as an intern there and it was Chris Staros’ co-publisher Brett Warnock who first persuaded her to pop these beauties online.

Indeed, there’s no substitute for seeing for yourself, so here’s a rare, external link: EmiTown: All is Well that Ends Well.

Shop link: LINK

SLH

Timularo: The Complete Collected Timulo (Page 45 2nd Special Edition, Sketched & Signed) by Molly Eyre & D’Israeli D’Emon Draughtsman A.K.A. Matt Brooker.

Oh, my days!

As I suspected, this paragraph has already required a substantial re-write because the first run of this special edition, exclusive to Page 45 and limited to ten copies, sold out in under a minute. One single minute! Here then, is our second edition expanded to 45 copies with a subtle change in colour scheme, a more revealing back cover and a brand new self-portrait for the frame surrounding the original sketches. We deliberately previewed this new edition in a letter column first then let it air on the shop floor for a week, so at the time of going to press there are already fewer than fifteen left. Please hurry!

Exclusive to Page 45, then: a brand-new variant cover set outside this very shop with Page 45 logos hidden all over the place. Inside, each signed and numbered copy comes with an original, hand-drawn sketch, and they are beautiful! I said to Matt, “Three lines approximating a face would be awesome” but Matt doesn’t actually do short-cuts, it seems. Let me repeat: a full-page, original sketch. D’Israeli D’one us proud and at no extra cost to you.

As to the contents, this is the first-ever collection of the classic, wit-ridden TIMULO strips that graced DEADLINE MAGAZINE some 20 years ago and helped it impress upon a music-loving world previously unused to comics exactly what they were missing out on. Possibly the finest reach-out programme of all time, DEADLINE was the indie music monthly which first played host to TANK GIRL, plus Nabiel Kanan’s EXIT also featured there.

For me TIMULO was in a world of its own – as, it seems, was Matt ‘D’Israeli’ Brooker, for there are so many comedic and sly slights of hand here which I will leave you to discover for yourselves. But right from the go it warned readers that it was blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction, offering the surreal adventures of a doubtful Sheffield-based comicbook writer who’d retreated from the real world to one of his own imagination. There he was set at odds with Jehovah’s Witnesses visiting at 5am in his dreams then 7am in reality (charred) but backed up by a certain Mark E. DeSade (his pugilistic male power fantasy) and a Grim Reaper called Edgar who had “Here Is My Sting” engraved on his scythe in Runes.

Also in sporadic attendance: Hewie, Dewey and Glenys Nietzche, the same sort of Dadaist do-badders rendered in Cubism which would play so well for Grant Morrison in DOOM PATROL. They were destined to replace humanity, and dispatched only by extra-special delivery courtesy of a gun bearing the label, “In case of Darwinism, pull trigger!”

It’s like Roger Langridge (ART D’ECCO) meeting Paul Grist (KANE) in a Yorkshire coffee shop where they discover Grant Morrison serving Battenberg and that biting on a Bakewell Tart opens up an absurdist genie that no one can stuff back into the bottle. Thank goodness D’Israeli never cut back on the grilled cheese before bed time.

The strips are riddled with mischief, including extra text which circumscribes each individual page: first-hand advice from the artist to his individual readers making them aware of the fact that rotating the magazine (or here book) on a bus in order to read the inscriptions would make fellow passengers suspect that they were looking at pornography. Or lying about the eighth original sin. D’Israeli was a wealth of knowledge/disinformation again preying on the fine line between fact and fabrication and his own readers’ potential gullibility.

Also, who can forget the puns? Even the earlier, cruder and previously unpublished strips (do bear with it!) before the main event boast characters like Daffers D’Maurier and a planet called Dandeyre. I mean, who can argue with a title called ‘A Fistful Of Fingers’? Exhuberance is all, and this is that personified.

At £10-00 in any format this is ridiculously good value for your entertainment money: complete with so much previously unpublished material, it is dense rather than thick, bright whilst still being stoopid, and so many years ahead of its time at the time only readers of DEADLINE would get it, but got it they did. I got it then but I’ve got this too now. Now get it, got it?

Many, many thanks to D’Israeli for making Page 45 home to this special edition. It is everything we love: playing around with what comics can do, messing about with the minds of one’s readers, and doing so with a fiercely informed intelligence we sincerely wish we exhibited ourselves.

D’Israeli, you very much are D’a man!

SLH

Salvatore vol 1: Transports Of Love (£10-99, NBM) by Nicolas De Crécy…

I think perhaps this may well be Nicolas De Crécy’s finest work to date, once again featuring a whole host of anthropomorphic oddballs, including our central characters… the myopic, heavily pregnant sow Amandine and the reclusive kleptomaniacal canine mechanic Salvatore. Amandine’s short-sightedness provides us with frequent slapstick humour in addition to unexpected plot developments, whilst Salvatore’s pining for his distant love in South America provides us with the heart of our story.

Forced to resort to nefarious means to build the behemoth of a vehicle which will cross mountains and sea to reunite him with his love, always assuming her head hasn’t been turned by a handsome, Latin, canine lothario that is, Salvatore helps himself to vital parts from cars that customers have trustingly brought to him to repair. Unfortunately for Salvatore some of the parts he needs are rather rare, which in turn creates ever more elaborately ridiculous difficulties involved in acquiring them, and forces him to venture down from his mountain top garage into the city.

Meanwhile Amandine has given birth, not that she realises as she can’t even see the end of her nose never mind past it, after a rather spectacular journey of Clouseau-worthy clumsiness down from Salvatore’s garage, including her car ending up (briefly) on top of a flying plane. Sadly for Amandine one of her litter, Frank, subsequently goes missing, however happily for us it ensures he’ll have a story all of his own to tell, as he’s fortuitously found and adopted by a teenage Gothic feline.

This is whimsical story telling at its finest, always absurdly humorous yet supremely engaging.

Crecy’s loose art style allows him to create some truly crazy set-pieces with which to delight us, and also to warm our hearts. Will Amandine be reunited with her lost piglet Frank? Would she even be able to see him if she was!? And will Salvatore make it to South America into the waiting paws of his doggy damsel? Or will he arrive only to find she’s forgotten all about him, not unreasonably, given how inordinately long it’s taking him to build his transport de l’amour?!

JR

Casanova II: Gula #1 (£2-99, Icon/Marvel) by Matt Fraction & Fabio Moon.

“What the hell is “Zen Crime?””
“It’s like crime, only there’re no victims, and really, no crimes. It really just spreads a general sense of unrest.”

From the author of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN and one of the two Brazilian brothers responsible for DE: TALES and DAYTRIPPER, another blast of bombast and badinage so ridiculously dense in ideas and nomenclatural horseplay that you expect arch-neologist Grant Morrison to turn up any moment with a lexical injunction. Here be jargon, by George!

“I am the Supreme Director of E.M.P.I.R.E. – that’s why you’re handcuffed at the moment. My name is Cornelius Quinn. My son Casanova went missing from Timeline 919 while on a mission two years, two weeks, and two days ago. I’ve devoted what is, frankly, a ridiculous amount of time and energy following the breadcrumbs that led out of his disappearance. Breadcrumbs that led us to you, Miss Lisi. Missus Lisi?”
“Doctor. I have a PhD in Catastrophic Temporal Entropy Manipulation Theory.”
“What?”
“I’m a time traveller that loves to step on butterflies.”
“M.O.T.T.  – define it for me.”
“We’re the spacetime protectorate. We monitor the whole of the way things are and manipulate it for optimal results.”
“On whose authority?”
“In both literal and philosophical interpretations, I don’t think I’m qualified to accurately answer your question.”
“Why are you here?”
“There is a mystery in time – when is Casanova Quinn? – that we can’t answer. This cannot stand.”

I think they’ve just told you the plot. It took Fraction most of the first issue to get there, though, so don’t expect to be hand-held or patronised.

Meanwhile Casanova’s sister, Zephyr Quinn has been field tested by the bad guys (keep it simple, Stephen) for work on a hit list of everyone who knows of the H-Element Generator powered by the electromagnetic supercharge released upon dying, and the issue ends quite literally with a “Dum! Dumm! Dahhhhhhhh!!!” that may lead her to reconsider the gig.

Moon is on prime, Pope-esque form whilst Cris Peter (sic – no ‘h’) reserves colour for when it really counts, making you sit up and take notice. Lots of swagger, sex and the shooting of things. But when, exactly, is Casanova Quinn…?

Fascinating exchange between Fraction and Scott Pilgrim’s Bryan Lee O’Malley about the ways they’ve each changed over the last half dozen years, and the effect the last two books, a couple of moves and the Scott Pilgrim film itself have had on the poor Canadian. Imagine 30,000 followers on Twitter, all screaming at you at once. Probably not the best way to contact the man, and I’m never going to @ him again.

Review of vol one (back in stock!):

LINK

SLH

Chloe Noonan #3 (£3-99, self-published) by Marc Ellerby.

Meet Chloe Noonan: natural ginger, amateur ninja, professional whinger. Boy, does she whinge! On the other hand, she may have a point about tonight’s book launch as Zoe and Chloe sip steaming coffee and the Pozzy Pops wind down their gig. Here’s the author:

“I wanted to create a novella that isn’t read, rather you smell the scent of each packet and that creates the narrative derived from the connotation that each fragrance creates.”
“Is she serious?”
“Yeah, I think she is.”
“I don’t get it. They just smell like sandwich bags.”
“I heard she got a book deal out of this.”
“But it’s not even a book.”
“<slurp>”

Noonan has no powers but my God does she have a gob on her, so if she can’t hex monsters into submission she can surely berate them to death. This issue: The Kraken Awakes! Then promptly wishes it had stayed in bed.

Same goes for Noonan, actually, as Mewmins Attack!!! You read me right. They can be absolute beasts in a brat-ridden pack, hanging out by the slide and swings. Sooo intimidating.

Love the tones, love the recurring jokes (particularly zoned-out Zach’s clueless oblivion towards Chloe – even though she’s been his band’s keyboard player for nearly a year), love Marc Ellerby really.

For more Noonan nonsense, please see SOLIPSISTIC POP VOLS THREE and TWO. Then there are Marc’s daily diaries, Ellerbisms.

LINK

SLH

Chloe Noonan #3 (£3-99) by Marc Ellerby…

So soon into 2011 and already the benchmark for bombastic, self-published quality has been firmly set by Mr. Ellerby! This voluminous comic is a fat hat-trick of tales concerning our ginger-ninja and her hapless friends. For those in need of synopsis, you would be forgiven for thinking Chloe is just another hipster in black-rimmed glasses and fetching cardigans, but you would be wrong! If Chloe happens to walk into your local boutique looking for a copy of Vice it’s probably because there are Trolls creeping in the corduroy suit selection, or an incantation for demonic Smurfs stitched into that ‘70s throw. That’s right, folks, she’s a badge-carrying Monster Hunter, dispatching ghouls on (what I hope is) a commission basis, armed with sword, bus pass, and a bag of bitch.

First up is a short tale displaying the perils of accidentally feeding lack-lustre pop acts after midnight, or is it the perils of entering pretentious bars? This is followed by a blistering set by Chloe’s band, The Freudian Repercussions, whose take on Release The Kraken makes for a messier mosh-pit than anything Clutch could pull off. But when her aforementioned hapless friends, the Foxy Zoe Fox and Hard Core putz Doug are chav-blocked in a park by some rotund teenagers of Finnish decent, Chloe finds she may have met her match. Just remember Chloe, keep your cool and don’t call them hippos, it’s racist!

LINK

TFR

Who Is Jake Ellis? #1 fo 5 (£2-25, Image) by Nathan Edmondson & Tonci Zonjic.

Action espionage thriller with a psychic twist which means you don’t get the full picture, as it were, until page four when they rewind fifteen seconds and all becomes much clearer – to us!

That was Barcelona, Spain, late at night on board an enormous yacht infested with criminales. Probably best if Jon Moore doesn’t go back there for a while. If nothing else they’ll be pretty pissed off about that terrible waste of whisky. Now we’re in Strasbourg, two days later, but you might be well be asking not just who is Jake Ellis, where is he? Because whilst drinking coffee over a copy of El Pays news, only Jon appears to be able to see or hear him. Handy for that hasty aquatic retreat and vital if he’s going escape those who’ve already tracked him to France. But are they Spanish or American – and what do the Americans want with him anyway? Chased from a waitress’ bed then trapped on a train, there’s been precious little time to find out so far, but Jon better figure it all out fast, including who else Ellis is speaking to.

Edmondson made a fine start with Brett Weldele on his combustible zombie graphic novel THE LIGHT and you may well know Zonjic from DAREDEVIL: LADY BULLSEYE. Here Zonjic shows he’s as much of a master of glorious sunlit aerial views as he is a Cathedral lamplit at night, and I love his economy of line. He does sunglasses as well as Mazzucchelli. I don’t quite know why Moore didn’t steal a cassock when he was down to his boxer shorts there – would have made a much better disguise at the station – but maybe he was a little distracted by the men with shotguns, the invisible man at his side and, err, being down to his boxers.

Four issues to go and a few copies left with a second print on its way in time for the second issue next month. That immaculate opening sequence is previewed here:

LINK

SLH

Mouse Guard: Legends Of The Guard h/c (£14-99, Titan / Archaia) by Gene Ha, Jeremy Bastian, Ted Naifeh, Alex Sheikman, Alex Kain, Sean Rubin, Terry Moore, Lowell Francis, Katie Cook, Guy Davis, Nate Pride, Jason Shawn Alexander, Craig Rousseau, Karl Kerschl, Mark Smylie, David Petersen, Dave Lanphear.

Short stories based on David Petersen’s furry feudal fantasies, MOUSE GUARD: FALL 1152 and MOUSE GUARD WINTER 1152, with only one exception the artists here are a perfect match for the established tone – especially David Petersen who provides the links, double-page spreads at the back and the promise of more this year.

In the same tradition as SANDMAN: WORLD’S END and the recent HOUSE OF MYSTERY, patrons of the June Alley Inn, each of whom have run up a hefty tab, settle down for an evening’s mug o’ mead and take their turn spinning yarns in the hope that their skills as an orator are enough to win them the prize of their debt being cleared.

Ted Naifeh you may know from COURTNEY CRUMRIN and DEATH JR, Terry Moore from ECHO and STRANGERS IN PARADISE, Guy Davis from SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE and BAKER STREET, Jason Alexander (here on a version of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’) from the HELLBOY spin-off ABE SAPIEN, Gene Ha from Alan Moore’s TOP TEN whilst Jeremy Bastian’s insanely detailed CURSED PIRATE GIRL is set to blow your socks off in a couple of month’s time.

LINK

SLH

The Spider Moon Book 1 h/c (£9-99, DFC Library) by Kate Brown.

“In the far North, there are ancient caves, with murals painted by long-dead hands… They tell a prophecy of our homelands being crushed by the falling sky.
“Then, a year ago, the stars began to fall just like the murals show.
“The end has begun… in my lifetime.”

In the Entopa Ocean and the vast Maal Sea there are islands. Most have beaches that are lapped by the tides, but one of them floats up above. Is that the key to survival?

This is the shared, desperate dream of young Bekka’s people and the Bird-Folk of Darthar. The Bird-Folk, you see, have lost their power of flight. They lost it years ago, even before the isle started floating. Their wings are just too small. But they’re building an engine to turn the floating island into a skyship fuelled by oil refined from the ocean’s spine-fish which Bekka’s tribe harvest from the clear waters below. Only now the oil has stopped shipping and in retaliation Ekli Lau, chairman of the divers’ council and mother of Becka’s instructor, has been arrested by order of the Bird-Folks’ masked king and queen. Surely there has been some misunderstanding? It’s in both their interests that the engine is fuelled in order to evacuate the land!

There’s a relaxing sense of space in this warm-coloured, album-sized, all-ages fantasy but just when you’re getting cosy there’s a sudden surge of danger.

The diving test, for example. It’s like a driving test, only fail it the first time and you don’t get a second chance. Bekka faces hers early on. Sent to fetch sand from the sea-bed below, dive she surely does but there’s no sign of the sand, just a shadow in the depths and then the looming presence of a gargantuan whale, its jaws open wide…

How does Bekka survive the experience never mind bottle enough sand to qualify? Why does the Bird-Folk’s Princess Sera, sister to the impetuous but well-meaning Prince Kaliel, lie in a coma? Who could possibly stand to benefit from the missing oil when the stars are falling from the sky? We have no idea yet. It seems Bekka’s journey is only beginning…

SLH

Brody’s Ghost vol 2 (£4-99, Dark Horse) by Mark Crilley.

“Not too often you get to extend your condolences to the person who’s already dead, huh?”

Brody is broke and broken-hearted. Talia is a girl five years in the grave, determined to hunt down a serial killer to earn her way to heaven. To physically stop them, however, she needs  Brody’s help but he’s more of busker than Batman. Time for some supernatural samurai training and a large leap of faith.

From the creator of all-ages AKIKO and now MIKI FALLS, a perfect blend of poignancy, humour and good old fashioned action with some exceptional cityscapes and a great big heart of gold.

For more see VOLUME ONE.

SLH

Junjo Romantica vol 1 of 12 (£7-50, Blu) by Shungiku Nakamura.

“I’m not your toy!”

Umm, you sort of are, Misaki.

One of our most popular top-shelf yaoi whose final Twelfth volume is now out and proud, I’d never taken the opportunity of poking about inside until now. I do hope it’s not a book responsible for much learned behaviour because it’s got the darnedest series of fucked up relationships whereby no one seems happy outside of subservience apart from self-assured novelist, rich kid and tutor Usami Akihiko. Oh wait, except later on he too acts out a fantasy blindfolded with a guy besotted with him to disguise the fact that it isn’t his best friend whom Akihiko is unrequitedly in love with. That would be Takahiro who’s just got married leaving his younger brother Misaki to fend off Akihiko’s advances instead.

To be fair, affluent Akihiko is supremely altruistic when it comes to straight brother Takahiro. He knows he doesn’t stand a chance, he doesn’t want to ruin their friendship, and so bites his lip even after being introduced to Takahiro’s surprise bride. Good on you, mate. So quite why he thinks it’s okay to molest younger brother Misaki as a substitute is unfathomable. Only in yaoi could Misaki then fall for Akihiko as he tutors him into university.

The thing with love triangles is that they have spiked edges, and even in the second half (Junjo Egoist) where a couple stand a real chance of finding happiness together it almost all goes horribly wrong when tongue-tied tutor number two goes about looking after his charge by looking in on him at work and from afar, then ‘accidentally’ bumping into one in every seven sessions. I don’t think he quite understands why he’s doing it, either.

So what we have here is a tangled succession of self-restraint and self-abandonment, self-sacrifice and self-gratification, self-flagellation (as in, excessive self-criticism) and self-serving seduction all wrapped up in the same, much fondled package. They should really self-medicate, especially when it comes to the sudden outbursts of jagged-toothed venom following months of sullen silence and stalking.

The strange thing is every single customer who’s bought a copy has been one of the shiniest, seemingly well adjusted men or women in the world. (Most yaoi is bought by women, but this has quite a high hit rate with guys too.) I bet by book two they’re all single, though, because this must surely do for relationships what the Gabriel Byrne and Dianne Wiest HBO series In Treatment does for psychotherapists: put you right off them for life.

SLH

Madame Xanadu vol 3: Broken House Of Cards (£13-50) by Matt Wagner & Amy Reeder, Richard Friend, Joelle Jones, David Hahn…

So MADAME XANADU has been cancelled then, despite not being the worst selling Vertigo title by some distance. It would seem the grand plan is to bring characters on the magical fringes out of Vertigo and more firmly into the DC mainstream. Sounds like a crap idea to me, and the exact opposite of what makes the most interesting use of characters like Xanadu, Phantom Stranger, John Zatara etc.

This includes canning a planned run on SWAMP THING I was very much looking forward to – and on which work was apparently already well under way on – by acclaimed British sci-fi novelist China Miéville as DC now have “big plans” for the mossy one in the fast-flowing part of the DC mainstream. Obviously someone at DC got very excited at how many extra copies of ACTION COMICS they sold the couple of months that Death was in it when Lex Luthor was apparently going to die. He didn’t, obviously. No doubt a Constantine/Batman team-up is in the works even as I type… <shudder>

Anyway, even given that MADAME XANADU isn’t anywhere nearly as good as Wagner’s much missed SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE, I am sad to see it go. I liked the fact that it gave readers an opportunity to wander some of the roads less travelled on the mystical side of the DC Universe. And also different eras in the case of MADAME XANADU, with this volume guest-starring the Silver-Era J’onn J’onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter, in his earlier gum-shoe detective guise, as Madame Xanadu investigates more curious goings-on from her home in Greenwich Village. Her sister Morganna Le Fey is involved somehow once again, with the usual attendant trail of chaos that follows in her wake.

LINK

JR

New Avengers vol 1 h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brain Michael Bendis & Stuart Immonen.

And so we start afresh. By snatching teenagers’ mobiles in Central Park.

“Hi. I need your phone. I’ll give it back or buy you a new one. I live right over there.”
“Here! Don’t hit me!”
“I’m not going to hit you.”
“Take it!”
[Mockingbird takes it.]
“Which one was she?”
“I don’t know.”
“She’s hot.”
“She’s insanely hot. I’m never going to see my phone again.”

“Right over there” is the Avengers Mansion, finally rebuilt after being trashed in AVENGERS: DISASSEMBLED several years, one CIVIL WAR, and a SECRET INVASION ago. They really shouldn’t have bothered with the curtains and cushions, though, because it’s about to become somewhat ‘open plan’ again as the sky rips open, is set ablaze and vomits an unholy mass of glowing and indeed glowering demons that don’t know the first thing about introductory etiquette. Household insurance is about to go through the roof. As is the roof.

“Is there a Ghostbuster in the house?! You don’t need a degree in both psychology and paranormal psychology. Just the latter will do.”
“You know, I’ve never seen that movie?”
“You’ve never seen Ghostbusters?”
“I’ve been busy.”
“I can’t even talk ta ya right now. That is so upsetting.”
“Dude, I’ve been busy! You know, with stuff like this.”

The SIEGE has been lifted, Osborn’s been jailed and Steve Rogers, formerly known as Captain America, is back in charge with all his bases covered: there’s a flagship team to restore the Avengers’ reputation, a secret team to avoid any reputation at all, and because not every peg fits the same hole, there’s even a team for malcontents.

Luke Cage is malcontented. He cannot pretend that everything they went through whilst on the run under Osborn’s Dark Reign of terror or even Stark’s reign of error never happened.* He’s certainly not going to be giving man-love to Stark. Instead Stark sells Luke Avengers Mansion for a dollar and Rogers gives him the right to pick a card – any card – with the full deck showing. Old friend Iron Fist is a shoe-in obviously as is his wife Jessica Jones, then there’s Spider-Man, Mockingbird, Wolverine, Carol Danvers and The Thing.

Dr. Strange is possessed to appear as well. Oh wait, Dr. Strange’s simply possessed, just like his Eye of Ago-whatthehey and that’s where the conflict begins. Someone wants the Eye Of Agamotto very badly indeed, and the sort of person that wants it is the last sort of person you need using it. FIGHT!!!

Artist Stuart Immonen is on such top form, but not just with the spectacle. With Bendis it’s as much about the quick-fire conversations as anything else, and Immonen’s breakfast scenes both here and in the next volume are full of subtle expressions and body language that will have the corners of your mouth twitching with mirth. Further guest-stars include Daimon Hellstrom and Brother Voodoo, the current Sorcerer Supreme, and Dr. Stephen Strange is going to have to do more than a little soul searching after the dust and debris settle here.

There is a slight lack of coordination on account of Stark somehow possessing the money to refurbish Avengers Mansion from the skeletal shell we last saw it in and then magnanimously hand it over to Cage for a dollar when in Fraction’s INVINCIBLE IRON MAN he can’t even afford to pay Mrs. Arbogast. But whatthehey, Agota motto too: it’s just a bit of fun!

Next: butlers and baby sitters. Who needs ‘em? Err, they do.

* Try saying “Stark’s reign of error never happened” after your second bottle of brandy.

SLH

Ultimate Captain America #1 (£2-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Ron Garney.

In which the author of Vertigo’s SCALPED and the modern John Buscema play beautifully with a certain DAREDEVIL storyline I deliberately haven’t linked to by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli.

Pyongyang, North Korea, and there appears to be a highly successful Super Soldier Project on the go. With all the trouble Banner’s team had before they found Captain America on ice in ULTIMATES VOL 1, how is that even possible? Time for a little international intervention courtesy of the S.A.S. and the Triskelion’s finest. Who will they find when they get there?

“Subject A-17 is showing no signs of cellular degeneration. This serum appears to be a vast improvement over your previous batch. Dear Leader will be pleased.”
“Just make sure Dear Leader remembers the rules. First sign of aggression he shows toward his neighbours to the south, I cut off his supply. I’m not setting him up with Super Soldiers so he can conquer South Korea.”
“Ah, then way are you doing it, my American friend?”
“That’s my business.”

Ron Garney’s always been reliable for the physical stuff and beefs it up further here, with a brilliantly timed reveal.

“I’ll show you what America really stands for.”

Uh-oh.

SLH

Also arrived:

(Reviews may follow or already be up in the case of s/c versions of h/cs. Just pop the titles in our search engines and see.)

Crickets #3 (£5-99) by Sammy Harkham
Tricked h/c (£14-99, Top Shelf) by Alex Robinson
Juxtapoz Erotica (£22-50, Gingko) by various
Farscape Uncharted Tales: D’Argo’s Trial s/c (£9-99, Boom!) by Keith R. A. Decandido & Caleb Cleveland
Star Wars Legacy vol 10: Extremes (£12-99, Dark Horse) by John Ostrander & Jan Duursema
Battlefields vol 6: Motherland (£9-99, Dynamite) by Garth Ennis & Russ Braun
Dark Tower vol 6: The Journey Begins (£18-99, Marvel) by Peter David, Robin Furth & Sean Phillips, Richard Isanove
House Of Mystery vol 5: Under New Management (£10-99, Vertigo) by Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham, David Justus, Paul Levitz, Alisa Kwitney & Luca Rossi, Jose Marzan Jr, Sergio Aragones, Farel Dalrymple, Sam Kieth, John Bolton
Pilot & Huxley: The First Adventure (£5-99, Scholastic) by Dan McGuiness
Usagi Yojimbo boxed set (£75-00, Fantagraphics) by Stan Sakai
Tank Girl: We Hate Tank Girl (£7-50, Image) by Alan Martin & Rufus Dayglo
Age Of Reptiles Omnibus vol 1 (£18-99, Dark Horse) by Ricardo Delgado
Dark Ivory vol 1: Blue Blood (£10-99, Image) by Joseph Michael Linsner, Eva Hopkins
The Goon vol 10: Death’s Greedy Comeuppance (£12-99, Dark Horse) by Eric Powell
Rat Catcher h/c (£14-99, Vertigo) by Andy Diggle & Victor Ibanez
Dark Avengers: Siege s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Mike Deodato, Chris Bachalo
Mighty Avengers: Siege s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Dan Slott & Khoi Pham, Neil Edwards
Secret Avengers vol 1: Mission To Mars h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Ed Brubaker &Mike Deodata Jr., Will Conrad, David Aja, Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano
Steve Rogers: Super Soldier h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Ed Brubaker & Dale Eaglesham
Deadpool Classic vol 4 (£22-50, Marvel) by Joe Kelly, James Felder & Walter Mc Daniel, Pete Woods, Steve Harris, Yancey Labat
X-Factor: Second Coming s/c (£10-99, Marvel) by Peter David & Valentine De Landro
Spawn Origins vol 9 (£10-99, Image) by Todd McFarlane & Greg Capullo
After School Charisma vol 1 (£9-99, Viz) by Kumiko Suekane
Neko Ramen vol 3: A Cat After All! (£8-50, Tokyopop)
Dorohedoro vol 3 (£9-99, Viz) by Q Hayashida
Cross Game vol 2 (£10-99, Viz) by Mitsuru Adachi
Hyde & Closer vol 3 (£7-50, Viz) by Haro Aso
Full Metal Alchemist vol 24 (£7-50, Viz) by Hiromu Arakawa
Battle Angle Alita: Last Order vol 14 (£7-50, Viz) by Yukito Kishiro
Deadworld Omnibus vol 1 (£14-99, IDW) by Gary Reed, Mike Raicht & Vince Locke, Dalibor Talajic, Federico Dallocchio, Rafael Ortiz, Sami Makkonen
The Chill s/c (£9-99, Vertigo) by Jason Starr & Mick Bertilorenzi
Three Thieves vol 1: Tower Of Treasure (£6-99, KidsCanPress) by Scott Chandler
Hack Slash: My First Maniac vol 1 (£7-50, IDW) by Tim Seeley & Daniel Leister
Halo: Helljumper s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Peter David & Eric Nguyen
Batman: Joker’s Asylum vol 2 (£10-99, DC) by Landry Quinn Walker, James Patrick, Peter Galloway, Mike Raicht, Kevin Shinick & Keith Giffen, Bill Sienkiewicz, Joe Quinones, Andres Guinaldo, David Yardin, Cliff Richards, Kelley Jones
Claymore vol 17 (£7-50, Viz) by Norihiro Yagi
Twin Spica vol 5 (£8-50, Vertical) by Kou Yaginuma
NGE: Campus Apocalypse vol 2 (£8-50, Dark Horse) by Mingming
K-ON! vol 1 (£7-99, Yen) by Kakifly

One Response to “Reviews January 2011 week three”

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