Reviews March 2011 week three

Please note: we’ve had HELLBLAZER: PANDEMONIUM, X-MEN: EXOGENETIC and the SPIDER-WOMAN softcovers in for a month or so, and don’t normally reprint reviews of previous hardcovers; we simply list the books in “Also Arrived” and paste the reviews straight into the relevant books’ sections on the shopping side of the site. But the hardcovers of these three came out much earlier than the softcovers, and it was a very thin week!
Night Animals (£5-99, Top Shelf) by Brecht Evens.

One of the many things I love about our website is all the interior art, and the way Jonathan’s designed it to open up when you click on the images. The mere one-week time lag between a book’s arrival and its review (which is what we ideally aim for) isn’t always enough to grab interior art in time for the review’s initial publication in Page 45 News but I’m delighted to say that it’s already up in this instance and if I were you I’d stop reading right now and click on the link below instead. You can always read the review there!

Two silent stories, then.

First a middle-aged man in a business suit zips over it a bunny suit and waits for his date in the park. Evidently stood up, he doesn’t give up but rather gathers his bouquet, takes it to a bar and jumps down its toilet. Thereafter it’s a phantasmagorical, subaquatic journey through hell and high water down to the depths where only the angler fish see. Ride A White Shark is a song which Marc Bolan never quite sang, but he might have been tempted if he’d read this first; he did love comics, after all. Will our ardent lover’s determination pay off? I wasn’t sure if it would, but I adored the resolution.

There are hearts hidden all over the place in both stories: a nesting pair of vultures, their necks entwined; the snaking shape of a rabbit burrow, on clothes, at the bottom of a bed… Also an awful lot of bumholes, not so well hidden. In the second story there are four birds perched on a branch towards the top-left of a double-page spread, who seem to be signalling in semaphore. I can save you some time and tell you they’re not – there’s a ‘U’ there but nothing else, just the Beatles’ single cover never spelled ‘Help’ (it was intended too, but the photographer didn’t like the shape they made!).

Coming to that second story, then, a young girl changing after a P.E. lesson experiences her first period and flees school in shame to curl up in bed, pulling the covers up tight to her neck. Small spots of red trace her path up the stairs, past her puzzled parents. The dog has a lick. At night, however, the menstrual stain spreads over the page as a horned, hairy creature of the woods (Pan, to me, not the devil – though it would depend on your thoughts on female sexuality) sits at the bottom of the bed, playing its pipes, its legs in striped leggings, its feet in red, heeled shoes. She is dragged out the window and carried away to a Bacchanal where she’s gradually transfigured (or again, some would say corrupted), growing older, more comfortable, more exuberant by the second. There are some wonderful creatures flirting and rutting there as the red grows darker still, but the story has a far more ambiguous, sobering conclusion than the first which I enjoyed even more.

Something to make you think, then, and something to simply admire for all its individualistic craft.


Freeway (£22-50, Fantagraphics) by Mark Kalesniko…

“Why is the traffic not moving?
“Why is this happening again?
“Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?”

Wow, Mark Kalesniko has really come on as a creator since MAIL ORDER BRIDE, a book I picked up myself on a recommendation from Mark and enjoyed back in 2001. FREEWAY is a rather clever and wonderfully illustrated work that literally takes us along for the ride as we endure and empathise with, and perhaps also chuckle at, the central character Alex’s truly horrific commute to work at Babbitt Jones Animation Studios in downtown L.A.

This day-in-the-life story is interspersed and enmeshed with memories from the slightly dishevelled Alex’s previous few months since moving to the big city and landing his dream job, as he falls in love with a co-worker, and also falls foul of his boss, but the story also weaves in flashbacks to another rather more dapper individual back in the 1940s, the Golden Era of animation, when L.A. was a rather different looking city. He too has landed his dream job at Babbitt Jones, falls in love with a co-worker, and then gradually falls out of love with his profession as the times start changing. These different elements, together with (I think) some dream sequences, blur and meld together, producing a truly captivating blend that really succeeded in drawing me deeper and deeper into the different stories.

This is such a well put together work, for example the sequences when we move from the present to the past are so gently handled, often by a three-panel sequence as a typically bustling modern L.A. street scene is literally rolled back in time in front of our eyes to a less urban, leafier and altogether calmer time. But one of my favourite sequences, where Kalesniko really showcases just how good an illustrator he is now, occurs when Alex takes his co-worker to the old part of L.A. on their first proper date, to see all the surviving beautiful pieces of classic architecture. There are art deco buildings, expansive, ornate period interiors, and even a funicular, and these surviving gems can’t help but make you feel wistful for some of the beautiful buildings that have disappeared from every city around the world over the years, to be criminally replaced with modern, soulless, high-rise slabs.

The aspects of the plot that take place within the conveyor-belt hothouse that is the modern day, entirely profit-driven Babbitt Jones machine are very entertaining too, and given that Kalesniko used to work for Disney as an animator, I suspect the elements revolving around office politics contain more than a few autobiographical moments reworked as fiction. And I also really enjoyed how the suspense builds during the truly epic commute as we’re pretty sure something climatic is going to happen, when or indeed if, Alex finally gets to work, but we’re just not sure what.



Lenore 2 issue #1 (£2-99, Titan) by Roman Dirge.

“…And that is why I hate goats.”

“Whatever” is the lamest excuse for a sentence of all time. It doesn’t even contain a verb. If anyone utters, mutters or huffs that word in your vicinity then walk away immediately and never interact with the vacuous parrot again. There’s no point: they have no capacity for expression. It’s not a refusal; it’s not declining to think or reason; it’s just masking an inability to articulate a cogent response by mimicking something they heard in an atrocious American mooovie. “Whatev’s”, on the other hand, in response to personal discomfort or discombobulation seems perfectly stoical to me…

There’s a lot of personal discomfort in Roman Dirge’s LENORE. Something’s always getting poked, prodded or impaled, and it’s usually cute and fluffy. It kind of comes with the territory when the main protagonist is a ten-year-old girl who woke up halfway through her embalming process, and half the humour comes with the pervading shrug – the “whatev’s” in question, voice or unvoiced – with which each atrocity is greeted.

For this second series Dirge has switched shores to British publishers Titan and been given much better quality paper and a colouring budget. Works well, too, with a beautiful matt dawn ushering in the opening origin story and a Japanese sunset greeting the warriors charging up the mountain to do battle with the Samurai Sloth. Lightning reflexes? He’s a sloth! That one was positively Tom Gauld!



Lenore 2 issue #2 (£2-99, Titan) by Roman Dirge.

Unrequited love Lenore-stylee. It’s really going to hurt. No, I mean, it will physically hurt.

Full colour with an old-skool, double-sided, pull-out poster.



I See The Promised Land: A Life Of Martin Luther King Jr. h/c (£12-99, Tara Books) by Arthur Flowers & Manu Chitrakar, Gugliemo Rossi.

Beautiful art by Manu Chitrakar, who is apparently a scroll painter from Bengal, which vividly captures the momentous events of the life of Martin Luther King Jr., but the page design and general assembly of this work is just crying, nay screaming out, for someone who knows what they’re doing. The beautiful panels of art are just plonked on the pages with no thought whatsoever to layout. The speech bubbles too, or great breezeblock oblongs as they are here, only detract from the artwork too. This work was so nearly something wonderful, but instead merely serves as an example of how not to design a graphic novel. A shame.



Weapons Of The Metabarons h/c (£14-99, Humanoids) by Alexandro Jodorowsky & Travis Charest, Zoran Janjetov…

“For a Metabaron, defeat is not an option.
“Victory or death. And if I die in battle, my death will be a triumph!”

Errr… not quite sure how that works, but there’s certainly no doubt the Metabaron with no name is a glass-half-full kinda guy. Still, when you’ve never been defeated by any foe, indeed when no Metabaron has ever been defeated, optimism is bound to be running high. And maybe a smidgeon of high-octane hubris to boot! This time around though, our wandering warrior has a tough task ahead of him if he’s to acquire the four secret weapons that will allow him to drive the reptilian Hulzgeminis back into their own Universe.

It’s been a while since the last new Metabaron material so was it worth the wait is the big question? For fans of the series almost certainly, as this work picks up right where the others left off, though special mention must be made of Travis Charest’s (and also Zoran Janjetov’s) exquisite and intricately detailed art. It’s hard to comprehend how this is the same artist who used to illustrate Jim Lee’s Wildcats back in the proverbial day, and it would remiss of me not to observe that his skills have clearly continued to improve in the interim to a now truly exceptional level, as evidenced by the panel of internal art displayed on the product page.

Those new to the whole Metabaron saga might be a little non-plussed by this work, especially given the somewhat thin nature of Jodorowsky’s plot, but that’s never really been the point with this series in many ways. If this piques your interest though, I do highly recommend checking out the first four volumes starting with The Metabarons vol 1: Othon and Honorata. However, if you’re looking for a little Euro sci-fi something that’s just as beautiful, but also more taxing on the grey matter, you really should look at Denis Barjam’s Universal War One.



Hellblazer: Pandemonium s/c (£13-50, Vertigo) by Jamie Delano & Jock.

“War. I never realised just how brutally fucking loud it is. How viciously its explosive claws disintegrate soft sackfuls of humanity. How shockingly instant, the violent obliteration of a life. And how absolutely alone you are in the chaotic lottery of death.”

It’s 25 years since John Constantine, mouthy wind-up merchant, began tormenting the Swamp Thing under Alan Moore and in celebration the original HELLBLAZER writer returns with a typically topical original graphic novel set first in London then, once suitably stitched up by the British Security Service, out in the desert of Iraq, once home to the magnificent Sumerian temples where John quickly starts sniffing a familiar scent which I’m about to throw you off:

“There’s no humour in the eyes that I unveil… Just a predator’s primal recognition of prey. A hot feline musk engulfs me. And suddenly I’m back in the Big Cat house at the London Zoo in the ‘fifties. Six years old. Stomach churned by tectonic growls, flinching from the tawny lash of tails… Lion teeth gnawing on the skull of my imagination. Forty-eight years later, it’s as much as I can do not to piss myself again.”

It’s some of the Delano’s finest writing to date, every page littered with his love of the English language, whilst Jock’s line and light casts the sun in your eyes as well as the grit of sand.

Definitive HELLBLAZER then, eloquently conjoining the real world horrors of extraordinary rendition and the war in Iraq with John’s long and bloody occult history, whilst making it abundantly clear that any demons involved are merely benefactors of human brutality, not its catalysts. It’s John the witness and John the player, hiding his hand with bluff and black humour right to the gates of the Iraqi detention centres:

“So which way to the Dr. Mengele suite, sport? And where can I charge up my cordless drill?”



Gotham Central Book Four: Corrigan h/c (£22-50, DC) by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka & Steve Lieber, Kano, Gaudiano.

“Hell, maybe it’s suicide. The kid worked for Batman after all.”
“Great. You want to ask him if Robin’s been feeling depressed recently? “How’s he been sleeping? Any signs of drug use? Trouble at school?””
“Aw, God… Can’t be sixteen, even. You realise that if this is actually him, then even if this is accidental, the Bat is at fault?”
“Endangering the life of a minor… unless the parents are in on it too, then they’re all to blame.”
“Maybe Batman is one of the parents.”
“There’s a scary thought.”

It’s also quite a scary Batman: Kano’s feral, spectral version all shadow and blur. When a boy who could well be Robin is found dead on the rain-sodden streets and the crime scene photography is leaked to press, the investigation follows all obvious lines of enquiry until the least obvious and in some ways sickest presents itself.

This is the final volume of GOTHAM CENTRAL, the superb police procedural drama in which the streets are made all the more dangerous by its more notorious inhabitants, and Batman, far from being embraced, is blamed for their existence and resented for the emasculation involved in having to fire up the spotlight and call for outside help. So they don’t tend to do that: they solve the crimes themselves. Like any precinct, it’s populated by a variety of individuals, and it’s as much about them as the crimes themselves, in particular Detectives Renée Montoya and Crispus Allen, whose stories don’t end well, for snaking his way through the pages has been bent forensics expert, Corrigan. It’s here that their paths finally converge and the subplot erupts to devastating effect, shattering the lives around it.

Psychologically this is so well written, every artist they’ve chosen has kept it firmly grounded at street level, and a big tip of the hat should go to colourist Lee Loughbridge’s part in all that. There’s also a terrifying sequence in which no mere battle but outright Armageddon erupts in the skies above them, anarchy is loosed below, and Allen and Montoya have no idea whether they will ever make it across the city to see their loved ones again.

“Metal tears as something crushes the engine block. The windshield explodes inwards, showering me with safety glass. I tumble out of the car and into air that stinks of sulphur and burning flesh. My sight catches on one word and a face… and I freeze for a moment, staring into the eyes of a sin.”



Ultimate Thor h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Jonathan Hickman & Carlos Pacheco.

“And you must be the man they have sent to help me. You’re a doctor of psychiatry, I presume?”
“Among other things.”
“Then be forewarned. It is not a delusion of madness you’ll find here, doctor, but purpose and destiny. Professor Braddock will have told you that I am Thorlief Golmen — this is incorrect. I am Thor, God of Thunder, and I will be called the name my father gave me.”
“Of course, and I am only here to help you, Thor. Why don’t you tell me how I can do that?”
“May I have your pen? This one is almost empty and I’m almost finished.”
“Certainly. It looks incomplete.”
“It’s all I can remember.”
“A rather ominous place to leave off, don’t you think?”
“You can read this?”
“I can.”
“Then do so.”
“‘There is a storm coming.’”
“Yes… Yes, there is.”

Nice touch that, having Dr. Donald Blake translate the sequence of the Norse Poetic Edda written on the observation room’s floor. It allows that final extra line of quiet and genuinely concerned worry perfectly in keeping with Mark Millar’s version of Thor. Now, why is it that we don’t get a proper look at Dr. Donald Blake’s face, do you think? In the regular Marvel universe Dr. Donald Blake is the tag-team partner to Thor, exchanging places with a tap of the cane or a smash of the mighty Mjolnir. But the Ultimate Universe is renowned for its sly departures and this is one of them written by the creator of THE NIGHTLY NEWS and the author of Marvel’s most original book in years, the current series of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Set in Germany 1939, in Asgard a great deal earlier than that, and in the Dome of the European Super-Soldier Initiative just prior to Mark Millar’s ULTIMATES, Hickman’s tale finally reveals the circumstances under which Loki was banished by Odin to The Room With No Doors, and those which overcame Thor’s reluctance to join Fury’s Ultimates just in time to join battle on the streets of Manhattan towards the end of the first volume.

So, Germany 1939, and Baron Zemo has been assigned one hundred thousand men by Reichsfurher Himmler, found a gateway near Niebull to any of the Seven Realms and the twenty-four sacred runes which will, if correctly partnered, activate various sequences of the legendary Rainbow Bridge. The Aesir sequence, for example, is how they’ll reach Asgard and plunder it in pursuit of mystic weaponry to use in service to the Furher; but first another sequence will dramatically improve their chances of success. Who is the Ultimate version of Baron Zemo, how has he come by his knowledge and when?

I particularly enjoyed the resurrection of the stone circle near Niebull, the early appearance of the Schutzstaffel symbol amongst the ancient runes and, the revelation about Dr. Donald Blake and – I didn’t see this coming – the origin of this Thor’s hammer. Pacheco you may already know from Ultimate Comics Avengers volume one, and his Thor is a perfect match for Hitch’s, as his Nick Fury.



Astonishing X-Men vol 6: Exogenetic s/c (£10-99, Marvel) by Warren Ellis & Phil Jimenez.

“They’re digging up mutants, Henry. They’re digging up dead mutants and making them into tools. They’ve got reanimated mutants as tools and they’ve engineered living missiles from alien DNA and they used your theoretical work to get there. That’s what I’ve been trying not to say.
“They’re using your work to try and exterminate you.”

Agent Abigail Brand, the Beast’s girlfriend, is back so you know this will end up in space, plus Ellis’s Beast is as delightfully loquacious to my adult self as David Michelinie’s was to the twelve-year-old me:

“Have you gone completely mad?”
“My viridian sweetheart, I went quite insane many years ago. I assumed it was one of my more attractive features.”
“This isn’t good.”
“We’re doing fine. This vessel was designed by the most expensive Japanese sadists working in engineering today. … Okay, that’s not so good.”
“Oh, you think? With engines blowing out and no weapons. You have hair growing inside your skull, don’t you?”
“We don’t need weapons, my little angel of death. We have science.”

Quick-fire carnage with lots of snappy banter as the X-Men find themselves under attack by tailor-made mutations of their former foes: the Brood (Aliens without the slime), semi-organic Sentinels (giant purple robots with trade-mark looming hands – seriously, show me a picture of a Sentinel with its hand not looming large) and that living island Krakoa whose appetite first caused Xavier to found the second wave of X-Men.

Phil Jimenez enjoys himself mightily, and so will you. He’s George Perez’s natural and exceptionally worthy successor, he’s upped his lithe game even further, and every single panel is worth waiting for, particularly the one wherein Cyclops grows bored of “faffing around” and lets rip on the Krakoa/Brood hybrid:

“Good grief, that’s a little Damien Hirst, isn’t it?”

Interview in the back.



Spider-Woman: Agent Of S.W.O.R.D. s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev.

Psychological action-crime-thriller with a big thing for internal monologue, set on the seedy streets of Madripoor.

Jessica Drew is a woman whose life has been an unmitigated disaster since she first said the word “Da-da”. After all, her father was murdering her mother at the time. Her parents were scientists working for the terrorist organisation known as Hydra – working for Hydra on Jessica’s deliberately damaged DNA. But Hydra was good enough to at least give Jessica counselling (that is how you spell ‘brainwash’, right?) and send her out to kill Nick Fury, head of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Nick Fury then knocked her back over the net in order to return the favour. Talk about failing to carve out your own destiny! After a few years being badly drawn by an ageing Carmine Infantino, Jessica was then abducted by the shape-shifting Skrulls whose Empress went on to use her likeness as the vanguard for their infiltration of Earth in events leading up to SECRET INVASION.

Convinced that everyone in the world is now baulking at the very sight of her, she’s sitting in a comfortless hotel room with a fist to her head, contemplating suicide, when an envelope appears on the floor. It’s Abigail Brand, Agent of S.W.O.R.D., with an alternative offer to get it out of her system: use her past as a Private Eye to flush out the remaining Skrulls around the globe and execute them. First off, a nice little holiday in Miami.

No, not really. First stop: Madripoor, gutter of the world. Almost immediately the whole mission goes tits-up as the hunter becomes hunted by Hydra, the Thunderbolts, plus half of Madripoor’s police, and Spider-Woman becomes the kiss of death to everyone caught in the cross-fire.

For those who demand costumes, you’re going to have to be patient: two-thirds-of-the-way-through patient. For those who didn’t care and just relished the action, I hope to God you’re reading Bendis and Maleev’s SCARLET. This is told with a similar chatty charm, as Jessica engages readers directly with a dry, self-denigrating tally of just how much trouble she’s in (she’s in a lot of trouble) and runs like hell from her former mentor, Madame Hydra, high up on the tallest skyscraper in the city, launching herself off the top.

“I can’t be here. I can’t. No more.
“I can’t be one of those people who keeps making the same mistakes over and over and over again. Never learning. Never growing. I can’t let that be me, I can’t!
“I snap out of my panic just in time to remember I can’t fly. Crap.”

The attention to the environment here is magnificent, whether it’s Maleev’s breath-taking aerial vistas spread across page after page, or his London sky pelting so hard with rain that he nails the twilight that can be England around two o’clock in the late-Autumn afternoon. I don’t know why Iran’s bothering to construct uranium enrichment plants, either. The colouring’s so radioactive, they’d just need to shove half a dozen copies of this in their warheads. Bendis has a history of taking two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs and the naffest characters imaginable, then completely reinventing them, charging them with a personality and perspective of their own. He’s also very good at taking self-loathing victims and taking them on a journey of self-discovery in order to reclaim their lives back. So it was with Jessica Jones in ALIAS; so it is here with Jessica Drew.



Red Moon (£14-99, Cossack) by David McAdoo.

“I… I don’t know what to do… One day we’re laughing and playing and the next I’m getting thrown out for the night because his glove smelled like a chew toy…. I’m… just a little confused…”
“They’re all the same, Mox. And it won’t get any easier to figure out why they wanted you in the first place.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean they’ll spend less and less time with you the longer you’re with them.”

Mox, the back cover tells me, is a schnauzer; not a big dog, but not a yappy-type thing, either. Freed from his unhappy suburban existence by a larger dog, Daeden, himself liberated from being a household pet and since befriended by a coyote, he’s beset by terrifying visions of a big red moon burning in the sky. Together they seek The Colotal, a giant centipede-like creature presiding over a council of animals in a cave far away, in order to determine what the visions mean. Are they some dire warning of an approaching asteroid, and if so what can mere dogs do to alert the ungrateful humans to their impending doom?

There have been some outstanding books with similar premises: Morrison and Quitely’s We3 was a scathing diatribe about animal experimentation and our treatment of household pets, whilst Dorkin and Thompson’s BEASTS OF BURDEN blended some of the same themes into its anthropomorphic occult investigations. Far from being sweet, both series were genuinely horrific, and there was always potential here too. But the conclave of animals is a million miles from Alan Moore’s Parliament of Trees in SWAMP THING, and whatever was left broke down immediately the second Mox started telepathically imparting his vision to Earth’s scientists who can see big chunks of rocks and their trajectories light-years away. I don’t demand total credibility from a story and I don’t want to spoil the last fifty-odd pages for you – I’ll leave that to David McAdoo – but it’s excruciatingly simplistic and twee. We3 was never going to end in a military/animal kingdom love-in.

All of which is a shame because you tell McAdoo poured his heart into this, and the man can definitely draw. But the story was in definite need of a spine – not courage, but something solid to support it – or at the very least a carapace, an exoskeleton of sorts to stop all the squidgy bits flopping around so aimlessly.


Finally we have this, err, adapted from last week’s review of the new series!

Axe Cop vol 1 (£10-99, Dark Horse) by Ethan Nicolle & Malachai Nicolle.

“Written by a six-year-old and drawn by his thirty-year-old brother!”

That’s Dark Horse’s selling sentence right there, and it works. Customer Andrew Jadowski – otherwise known to me as Tigger – bought it on the spot based purely on that sentence! Of course the fact that it’s been such a successful web strip doesn’t hurt.

So what is the attraction? Witnessing the crazy, all-over-the-place result of a fertile imagination unfettered by any desire for artistic success, egged on by his brother at play and loving every second off it! That’s what’s transcribed here: hours of interactive play. It’s not actually ‘written’ as a comic by Ethan, but written up and then illustrated by his brother.

Of course it bounces off the wall! Ethan is bouncing off the wall and inventing on the fly – as did we all as we turned paving stones into imaginary transmats or time platforms; when plastic guns suddenly assumed new capabilities in the heat of the moment when put on the spot by our friends; or when one of us spontaneously came up with a new ‘plot’ development that turned the five-inch Aerofix spitfire model into an intangible space rocket and brought that big pile of bricks into fifty-foot life!

“No! No! Dracula’s behind you now, run!”
“But – but – I have a lolly stick and I stab him through the heart!”
“That’s his leg!”
“He knelt down to bite me!”
“And I chop off his head with my karate chop!”

We were only playing Doctors & Nurses that day.

So it is in The Ultimate Battle, with Axe Cop called in to investigating the abduction of young Fishy Fish by a Zombie Dog Woman who has dog and zombie powers, and Axe Cop quickly narrows her current location right down to “up a tree”. With no time to find out which tree, Axe Cop, Ghost Cop, Dinosaur Soldier, Ralph Wrinkles and Sockarang jump straight into the Axe Cop Monster Truck and head straight there except that they stop to see if the Moon Warriors want help first and find Lobster Man who wants to be their leader but Axe Cop doesn’t want him to be leader because he’s leader and a Very Good Fighter and covers his forehead with lobster blood. Fortunately Ghost Cop has a gun which shoots bullets and unicorns and Axe Cop has a plunger because meanwhile in a park Babyman’s chasing a duck with exploding, projectile eggs…

It’s almost impossible to transcribe but I think I’ve done it justice enough: the way the story veers off on A.D.D. tangents and anything can happen. Did I think the storytelling was inventive, captivating, thrilling? Was I wowed by the art? No, no, no and no…

The stories are inventive. Highly inventive. The project is inventive too. As an exercise and a reminder of all things six-year-old, it’s highly amusing and even informative for those studying such psychology. And in any case, as a bit of fun – to put your playtime adventures with your kid brother up on the web for you both to chortle over and entertain passers-by – it’s not just utterly harmless, it’s positively sweet. If you’re looking to me for permission to buy it then you’re just plain weird; on the other hand, if you’re looking to me to dissuade you from buying it then you’ve come to the wrong guy.

Something that proclaims itself to be a ground-breaking work of art that falls dismally short of being even mediocre is what gets my goat. Cynical huckstering by comicbook corporations of yet another formulaic, barely literate load of same-old junk is what pisses me off. Neither Dark Horse nor the brothers themselves have done any such thing.

“Written by a six-year-old and drawn by his thirty-year-old brother!”

It does exactly what is said of the kin.

Also arrived:

Reviews to follow or in some cases not.

The Adventures Of Unemployed Man (£10-99, Little Brown) by Erich Origen & Gan Golan
Krazy & Ignatz 1919-1921: A Kind, Benevolent And Amiable Brick (£18-99, Fantagraphics) by George Herriman
God Of War (£10-99, DC) by Marv Wolfman & Andrea Sorrentino
Dragon Age  vol 1 (£14-99, IDW) by Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston & Mark Robinson, Anthony J. Tan
iZombie vol 1: Dead To The World (£10-99, Vertigo) by Chris Robinson & Michael Allred
Superman: New Krypton vol 3 s/c (£13-50, DC) by James Robinson, Greg Rucka & Pete Woods
Thunderbolts: Cage s/c (£10-99, Marvel) by Jeff Parker & Kev Walker
Deadpool: Pulp h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Adam Glass, Mike Benson & Laurence Campbell
Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Warren Ellis & Kaare Andrews
Neon Genesis Evangelion vol 12 (£7-50, Viz) by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Gantz vol 16 (£9-99, Dark Horse) by Hiroya Oku
Berserk vol 21 (£10-50, Dark Horse) byKentaro Miura
Berserk vol 22 (£10-50, Dark Horse) byKentaro Miura
Berserk vol 23 (£10-50, Dark Horse) byKentaro Miura
Berserk vol 24 (£10-50, Dark Horse) byKentaro Miura
… to fill in the gaps and
Battle Royale : Ultimate Edition vol 1 h/c (£18-99, Tokyopop) by Koushun Takami & Masayuki Taguchi
… because it looks like the normal volume one is out of print. Contains vols 1, 2 and 3.

Hearty congratulations to writer Kieron Gillen, agent of SWORD, on his wedding this weekend! Apologies to any customers who picked up a copy of Kieron’s GENERATION HOPE #4 to find it had been infiltrated by SHIELD in the form of four of Hickman’s pages. I suspect foul play!

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