Reviews July 2011 week one

Great short story from Paul Tobin, beautifully illustrated by Collen Coover in a style which instantly put me in mind of Sully’s THE HIPLESS BOY with its energy and simple colour palette.

 - Jonathan on Gingerbread Girl.

Signal (£7-99, self-published) by Paul Duffield (all copies signed for free).

Transfiguration at its purest.

We are – and have always been – extraordinarily impressed by the space and light shone on Warren Ellis’ FREAKANGELS by its artist. There are virtually no comparison points in comics for its lambent, four-panel windows which open so often onto full-page landscapes outside. It presents itself to us with a timing that is utterly unique.

But nothing evidenced there can prepare you for the breath-taking, halting, nay silencing satori that is opening a copy of Paul Duffield’s SIGNAL. Liberated from the sheer practicalities of presenting FREAKANGELS online, Duffield has broken loose and then taken flight, much like the protagonist in the realms of his imagination and aspiration as he lays himself down on the cool carpet of grass, becomes one with the world and then soars into the lunar-lit sky as a majestically white and celestially-bound heron or crane.

There is much for you to interpret for yourselves.

Why are the tiles he leaves far behind slightly cracked, loose or broken? Why is the water he leaves in his wake now washed with a leaking of blood? I have my own, personal interpretation which means a great deal to me, but you may have your own.

Let us be clear: £7-99 for such a short story is a premium price to pay. But you have in your life surely been to one gig or another, and given in to buy a luxurious A4 programme with the highest production values imaginable, just like this, which you exhume from time to time and swoon over so blessedly relieved that you took the plunge during that once-in-a-lifetime experience and now own a copy yourself to have and to hold forever. How many of those are signed by the artists? These are, each and every one.

“It’s so lovely to hear that the work I put in is appreciated, even if the intention was mostly self-indulgence!” wrote Paul last week on my initial, slightly awe-struck reaction.

Paul says self-indulgence; I say art from the heart. And that’s precisely what we want from our favourite creators, is it not?

Paul is sending out signals. Are you receiving, over?

SLH

Chester 5000 h/c (£10-99, Top Shelf) by Jess Fink.

“An erotic, robotic, Victorian romance.”

A delightfully playful piece of silent bedtime reading, this juicy, joyful, coital tale of mismatched marital blues presents the term ‘steampunk’ with a whole new meaning, as well as an apposite anagram.

An explicit yet tender celebration of the act of sexual foreplay, the book begins with a spent Victorian husband too easily exhausted by his wife’s more fulsome libido. He therefore sets about constructing a substitute in the form of a mechanical man, debonair, accommodating and anatomically outstanding. After trial and error and a brief flight in terror, the wife is grateful not only for the automaton’s attentions but also to her husband for the gift. But her husband, perhaps feeling his marital duty fulfilled, rebuffs her reinvigorated advances only to steal after the flesh and metal couple late one night to pleasure himself voyeuristically instead. It is only when he discovers a certain portrait locked in the robot’s chest cabinet that his male ego is aroused, and that usually spells trouble, doesn’t it?

Recommended to those who’ve enjoyed Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s LOST GIRLS or to those who simply don’t have that sort of “attention span” but want a genuinely beautiful piece of erotica so evidently drawn with love by a comicbook creator unafraid to concoct something that would arouse women like herself every bit as much as men. Its soft tones, sensual curves and exotic, erotic period costumes are embellished with floral panel borders which curl round the couples, then swirl into more vigorous waves which crest during climax.

Let’s hope the “vert” of attraction here swiftly replaces the “snikt” of aggression as one of the best known comicbook sound effects.

LINK

SLH

Lucille (£22-50, Top Shelf) by Ludovic Debeurme…

It is unfortunate that the name of such a relatively serious and worthy piece of fiction, indeed award-winning at Angoulême, instantly conjures up for me the pompadoured screeching architect of rock and roll himself, Little Richard. This has nothing whatsoever to do with my review or this book you understand, but if that association is well and truly stuck in my head, it seems only fair I try and stick it in yours.

Pressing on quickly… LUCILLE is a story of two troubled French teenagers living in a coastal town who could definitely do with a little of Richard’s joie de vivre, both firmly trapped in the circumstances of their lives by their families, who unexpectedly find in each other something their lives have been sadly lacking until now. Arthur is the son of Russian immigrants, whose father is a drunkard fisherman, as quick to raise his fists as he is a glass, and for whom tough love is the only kind he seems able to display, along with a complete contempt for his wife. Lucille is a shy anorexic, struggling with self-worth issues, as well as a somewhat distant relationship with her mother, who whilst not really falling into the category of an enabler for Lucille’s problems, isn’t really proactively helping either.

Upon meeting the two teens feel an immediate connection, it’s not love at first sight by any means, but it’s certainly something. Perhaps it’s a mutual recognition of each other’s unhappiness, but there also seems to be the potential for compassion and empathy towards each other, something that Arthur in particular seems to be singularly unable to display towards anyone else, with his penchant for terrifying oracular predictions of satanic doom for his ‘friends’. When a family tragedy befalls him, partly as a result of his own actions, he realises if he doesn’t leave their provincial coastal town immediately he probably never will, so implores Lucille to abscond with him, convincing her that a fresh start away from the emotional snares of her current environment might be beneficial to her also.

And so begins our story afresh, as the pair travel to rural Italy, seeking solace from their travails in each others’ arms at last, and beginning new lives as hired hands on a Tuscan vineyard. Of course, now if the rest of the world would just leave them alone to adapt and thrive in their new sunny surroundings and supportive circumstances like freshly planted vines, then perhaps true happiness might follow. Except of course, life isn’t always kind like that is it, particularly to people who need it to be…

I have to say, I was very unsure after the first few pages whether, purely due to personal sensibilities, I was going to enjoy LUCILLE, but I very quickly warmed to the characters, particularly Arthur, and also the story as a whole, and I can see easily see why it was a deserved prize winner at Angoulême. Debeurme has created characters of tremendous depth here, who succeeded in tugging on my heartstrings and drawing me in. The relatively simplistic art style, entirely without panels, and in particular the portrayal of the skinny Lucille, put me in mind of I NEVER LIKED YOU by Chester Brown. I ended up enjoying LUCILLE enormously, and look forward to the next volume.

LINK

JR

Gingerbread Girl (£9-99, Top Shelf) by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover…

A tasty delight from start to frustratingly ambiguously finish. I could actually be describing the main character Anna herself actually, though in fact I am referring to the work as a whole. We begin with a cover which is a wonderful spectrum of curling colours whirling around a giant letter G that immediately put me in mind of the sort of doodling we all did as a child with felt tip pens; which again is appropriate on one level given Anna’s story: of someone who’s never quite grown up.

Whether you believe her story that it’s because her mad scientist father removed the part of her brain called the Penfield Homunculus – responsible for responding to the sense of touch – as a child, with which he grew a sister for Anna called Ginger; or, whether you merely conclude she’s just not all there in the head, thanks to the constant arguing of her parents which she was forced to endure growing up, this forms the charming premise of our story. For whilst you would think her theory is patently nonsense, there’s more than enough circumstantial evidence not to dismiss it out of hand completely…

So as Anna quite literally teases her way through life, it’s left to those who’d like to get a little closer to her and, errr… observant passing dogs and pigeons, plus various other random talking heads, to elucidate their own theories regarding Anna’s obsessive search for Ginger, who of course no one else has ever set eyes on. Nor indeed her father, either, who also disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Anna believes she spots Ginger from time to time around the city, always on the periphery of her sight, always just out of communication, and always exiting stage-right just in the nick of time, but others aren’t so sure. And she’s devised a rather unique way of searching for her sister which, again, viewed from the outside looks remarkably like the self-harming behaviour of someone who is more than a little unhinged…

Great short story from Paul Tobin, beautifully illustrated by Collen Coover in a style which instantly put me in mind of Sully’s THE HIPLESS BOY with its energy and simple colour palette. My opening sentence probably gives away a touch too much as to whether Anna is reunited with her sister, but Paul has certainly left himself an opening for a sequel… At least I hope he’s going to write a sequel.

LINK

JR

Strangers In Paradise PKT edition vol 3 (£11-99, Abstract Studios) by Terry Moore.

“We’re not going to make it to Nashville, David. Even if we did, we couldn’t land it.”
“What are you talking about? How do you know?”
“Planes can’t fly without a rudder, David.”

The third volume of six begins once again in the present with Francine trapped in a debilitatingly unhappy marriage, and it becomes gradually clear that not everyone has survived the intervening years. For if you thought that the venomous presence of Darcy Parker in the lives of Francine, Katchoo and David was gone, think again. She’s left a legacy behind and a vacuum in her wake with a power struggle which is about to ignite and suck the poor girls in again.

“144 people died because they got on a plane with you. Are you at peace with that? …If you really do care about the girl and her family, you need to get them away from you – as soon as possible. Before they’re taken away. Permanently.”

And that’s the most horrific sequence in an already turbulent relationship where harsh words are said: after the plane crash when one of the cast jettisons the other in the most hurtful way imaginable in order to try to save her life. The dramatic irony is excruciatingly. Francine isn’t just pushed into the arms of her future husband who will cause her such pain, she is positively, literally punched there.

Unfortunately it’s not enough. Do you remember Darcy’s cousin, Veronica? Because Veronica certainly remembers Francine, and you’re in for a very brutal encounter.

It is this, of course, which makes the funny bits all the funnier back when they were safe and happy, and as well as snow and gales he evokes so well with our loved ones staring into the distance, Terry draws a glorious summer countryside where David and Francine once shared some lazy afternoons at Francine’s mother’s.

“You’re not sitting on a bughouse or anything, are you?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Bugs? You down there?”
“No answer. Must be safe.”
“That’s what they want you to think. That’s how they trick you!”
“Francine… I think it’s safe.”
“I’m all about a bug-free bottom.”
“It’s a wonderful thing.”

Three hundred and fifty more pages in which we see Katchoo’s first break in the art world, its unexpected effect on Francine, David’s secret finally revealed, and Francine struggling with her feelings for Katchoo as their trajectories diverge and all that is left are the lonesome lights flashing in the evening sky.

“See that star… the one shining brighter than all the others? I know the girl who hung it there.”

LINK

SLH

Witch Doctor #1 of 4 (£2-25, Image) by Brandon Seifert & Lukas Ketner.

“You’re a witch doctor?”
“’Cunning man’ is the preferred term.”

This was described by Warren Ellis as ‘mental’ according to the publishers, but I hadn’t actually seen Warren write that nor in what context, so I took it with a pinch of salt.

This is mental.

“It’s not a demon.”
“What do you mean, it’s not a demon? We know it’s a demon! Of course it’s a demon!”
“But ‘demon’ means ‘one.’”

It’s fast, full of fury and dripping with demons (plural) in possession of a young boy. Fortunately Dr. Vincent Morrow M.D. is adept at adapting and able to make complex diagnoses very much on the run:

“No wonder the kid’s got an impossible aura – - He’s got Gerasene Syndrome!”
“He’s got what?”
“Super-parasitism! One host, more than one parasite!”
“So how do we treat it?”
“I don’t know! I’ve only seen one case this bad in the literature – - and that was in the Bible! Look, your soul isn’t this immortal car your personality drives around – - It’s your spiritual immune system! It’s what keeps magic pathogens from getting into you! An infection like this? There’s got to be something seriously wrong with the kid’s soul! … uh…”
“Go!”

Cleverly thought out terminology and treatments swiftly administered in the most entertainingly unexpected manner, this combines some of the pace and quirkiness of the current Doctor Who incarnation with a deep love of pink, slimy protuberances and, yes, a certain degree of Auntie Ellis.

“Go to the hospital and get a C.T. scan.”
“What?”
“A Computed Tomography scan. A sciencey thing at the doctory place.”

Art? Try this external link.

LINK

SLH

Batman: Knight And Squire (£10-99, DC) by Paul Cornell & Jimmy Broxton…

“… If we get a few more like that lad ‘Face-Off’… One day he’ll have someone’s face off. Lord, that’s not even funny.”
“But, this being Britain, there’s a sense of moderation here. You could have been more like the original Joker.”
“Oh, I suppose. I do rather worship his style. I just can’t bring myself to commit crimes. Too dreary for me.”

The only way I can describe KNIGHT AND SQUIRE without giggling is as a mash-up of the Adam West ‘60s Batman TV show and the irreverently offensive British ‘comic’ Viz. With characters like Jarvis Poker the British Joker it’s a delightfully farcical romp featuring a ludicrously named cast of villains from our sceptred isle with the UK’s Dynamic Duo-alikes Knight and Squire playing the straight man and lady. Paul Cornell is on typically amusing form here, much like his Dark X-Men for Marvel.

LINK

JR

Red Hood: The Lost Days (£10-99, DC) by Judd Winick & Pablo Raimondi, Jerermy Haun…

In which the Red Hood waits sadly for someone to collect him from the lost property office…

I’m still not completely clear about how Superboy Prime altering reality whilst trapped in another dimension brought Jason Todd back to life, but regardless, Judd Winick’s further elucidation of Jason’s post-death back-story, before he exploded like a loose circus cannon into Grant Morrison’s first arc of BATMAN & ROBIN is gritty stuff. In fact, in a way, the only slightly odd aspect is the incongruity of the two portrayals of the same character.

Morrison’s version is clearly barking padded-cell-in-Arkham mad, whereas Winick’s version is almost the exact opposite, completely cold and calculating as he undergoes the extensive training in armed and unarmed combat, demolition, espionage and detective work that he knows he’ll need for the personal war he’s planning to wage. But would that be against the Joker, the person responsible for his untimely demise, or against the Batman, the person who placed him in that vulnerable position? This is a great mini-series that will probably get overlooked amidst the myriad Bat-wash of books when it really shouldn’t. Purposeful art from Pablo Raimondi and Jeremy Haun contributes in producing something that has the feel of a slick action film along the lines of the Bourne trilogy.

Note: Jason gets his own series in the September, post-DC-reboot entitled RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS.

LINK

JR

Daredevil: Reborn h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Andy Diggle & Davide Gianfelice.

Before we begin: if you loved Jock’s cover art then you will swoon over the cover concepts reprinted here in the back. I think I actually prefer the original to issue #1 with its simplicity even though its final incarnation, the cover you see here, is stunning. You also get the first issue’s script.

Matthew Murdock has fallen from grace, in his own eyes especially. The Man Without Fear has found the one thing he fears: himself. In Shadowland: Daredevil and Shadowland itself, Murdock inflicted huge pain and unspeakable turmoil on a community he swore he’d protect, so he’s left Hell’s Kitchen and the city altogether to wander The Badlands. Obviously (obviously) the town we now join him in is simmering with secrets and stifled in corruption, plus they don’t take kindly to strangers. Cue conflict and a quick internet search to discover the FBI is convinced Matthew’s Daredevil – they’ve just never been able to prove it – which they think will rob Murdock of his element of surprise.

Gianfelice brings a Vertigo sensibility to the art. I do like his waves of hair and that final page silhouetted against a full moon, composed just like Frank Miller might have in his more supple days, really leaps out at you. And if the whole point of the book is that Matt leaves the city to find himself far from its confines and noise, Davide’s art is also a breath of spacious fresh air.

Diggle and Gianfelice have also given some considerable thought as to how a man who’s trained himself to perfection in a high-rise urban environment, working thousands of feet in the air, would have to adapt his combat style and extemporise using the few bits of cover at his disposal. It’s certainly a learning curve but he soon gets the hang of it: you will be amused.

SLH

Spider-Man: The Original Clone Saga s/c (£29-99, Marvel) by Conway, Goodwin, Mantlo & Andru, Kane, Mooney, Miller, Springer, Sal Buscema, Bagley.

The Day Of The Jackal.

More years ago than I care to remember a death was a death in the Marvel Universe, and Gwen Stacy’s was particularly poignant. Peter Parker’s first true love, she died after being thrown off a bridge and it was Spider-Man’s webbing which broke both her fall and her neck.

Yet here, a couple of years later, Peter starts catching glimpses of the sixties’ blonde beauty, alive and well, wandering around town. Convinced that he’s either going mad or it’s the cruellest trick played yet by Mysterio, it’s only when Aunt May experiences a similar, traumatically shocking encounter that they finally meet up in Peter’s flat. Peter’s confused and angry; Gwen is bewildered and scared. Her grave lies untouched yet her finger prints match those of Gwen Stacy’s on file to the tiniest detail.

Truly, we had no idea what was going on. It’s hardly the film Don’t Look Now, but back in 1974 before I had even heard of cloning and we had no idea it would be used in a Marvel comic it was a gripping sub-plot that today would have been played out for years. Thankfully one part of the mystery was resolved early on because the suspense was too much to bear. What took far, far longer to be revealed is who was behind the vendetta and why: whose face lay behind the mask of the Jackal. Because Peter is right about one thing: it is a vendetta, it’s aimed straight at him and it’s going to cause him maximum pain just when he’s starting to get over Gwen Stacy and getting it together with Mary Jane Watson instead.

The horror of wounds torn freshly open was well played indeed, as well as its traumatic effect on Peter and MJ’s relationship, but lesser creators would have failed to focus on the plight of Gwen Stacy herself. The title gives it away – she’s a clone of the original – yet to all intents and purposes she is Gwen Stacy unable to comprehend what he loved ones have been through immediately following her death.

There is far, far more to it than this with Peter constantly assailed by the Scorpion, Tarantula, the Grizzly as well as the Jackal himself, and they cleverly left a hint that all was not well at the end of the first sequence which was picked up years later in PETER PARKER for a brand new mystery, all of which you get here as well in nearly 500 pages of full-colour comics which represent key Marvel history.

Lovely, lithe art from Ross Andru and Gil Kane in the first half.

Reprints AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #139-150, PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #25-31, 149, 162-163, ANNUAL #8 and GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-MAN #5.

LINK

SLH

Essential Spider-Man vol 10 (£14-99, Marvel) by Dennis O’Neil, Gerry Conway, guests & John Romita Jr, guests.

Another big, black and white slab on newspaper print with a remarkable consistency of writer and artist, this reprints AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #211-230 and ANNUAL #15.

Almost everything here represents early John Romita Jr, before he cut loose and whilst watered down by Jim Mooney’s inks: they’re just too soft, though it should be noted that Spider-Man in full costume is a perfect continuation of the honourable tradition as represented by John’s Dad, Gil Kane then Ross Andru.

The writing too is pretty traditional at a time when the tradition was far from innovative or had anything to us about our lives. Still, if it’s an exotic line-up of both new and high-profile foes doing battle on the streets of Manhattan, that’s what you’ll get, and you’ll find them recurring in different combinations throughout: Sandman, Hydroman, a Sandman/Hydroman composite the likes of which you’ve never built with a bucket and spade on the beaches of Haverford West, Namor, the Frightful Four, and some of the earliest appearances of Madame Web torn from her life-support chair by the Juggernaut.

Visually the annual is a dream with Frank Miller drawing Doc Ock and the Punisher sparring with the same fluid grace as he did on DAREDEVIL, and there’s attention to detail like the way the Punisher’s calves lose their definition below his boot-line, indicating the boots’ sturdier material.

Great cover.

LINK

SLH

X-Men: Age Of X h/c (£22-50, Marvel) by Mike Carey, Simon Spurrier, Jim McCann, Chuck Kim & Mirco Pierfederici, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Carlo Barberi, Walden Wong, Paco Diaz, Paul Davidson, Clay Mann, Steve Kurth, Khoi Pham, Tom Palmer…

“David!”
“Hi Mom, you came to see the walls go up?”
“Always m’love. Every day.”
“I worry about you, you know? Pouring your soul into those barriers, day after day, with no rest.”

I did sigh slightly when I saw Marvel was going straight into another X-over , complete with sidebar titles, directly after the excellent X-MEN: SECOND COMING, but actually this is great stuff. I probably shouldn’t be surprised given the bulk of it is written by Mike (MESSIAH COMPLEX) Carey. That’s one of the key books of recent years for jumping into all things X by the way for newcomers, not a statement regarding his ego, which I’m sure is perfectly normal and well rounded. After all, writing about costumed mutants all day isn’t going to warp your mind now is it?

And speaking of warping minds… we find our not-so-merry band of mutants holed up in a fortress (named Fortress X, of course) and assailed from literally all sides day after day, as humanity makes a final push to exterminate those pesky mutants once and for all. But is this an alternate reality we’re viewing, as most of our cast of characters are rather different from the regular versions we’re used to seeing, or has something else happened?

Despite the whopping clues I’ve dropped, it would be churlish of me to say any more, other than I don’t believe this is the last we’ve seen of the Age Of X. I must just add that all the sidebar stuff, collected here rather than in a separate book, is great fun, as various writers and artists flesh out the Age Of X universe a bit more.

JR

X-Men: Second Coming Revelations s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Duane Swierczynski, Simon Spurrier, Chris Yost, Peter David & Steve Dillon, Paul Davidson, Harvey Tolibao, Tom Raney, Valentine De Landro.

An add-on to X-MEN: SECOND COMING itself which was pretty impressive, this reprints X-MEN: HOPE set before Cable and his young charge make it back to the present, X-MEN: BLIND SCIENCE, X-MEN HELLBOUND #1-3 starring Illyana which blatantly nicks a line from Mark Millar’s ULTIMATES (it isn’t alone) and X-FACTOR #204-206.

LINK

SLH

X-Men: With Great Power h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Victor Gischler & Chris Bachalo…

…Comes responsibility for writing a decent story arc.

Did you learn nothing from Uncle Ben, Victor? Not even the appearance of the near omnipresent webbed wonder himself can save this story from being as dull as the sewers its set in. You know how sometimes you’ll read a story and it feels like the writer has trotted something out in two minutes flat as filler? Well, that’s kind of how all five issues of this felt to me. Even the Lizard, so compellingly written in the recent SPIDER-MAN: THE GAUNTLET VOL 5, is just completely one-dimensional here. This remains the weakest of X-titles for me by far.

LINK

JR

Also Arrived

Reviews to follow but s/cs of previous h/cs like Revolver and h/cs of previous s/cs like SWAMP THING VOL 5 will already be up on site. Wouldn’t it be a good idea if I finally got round to linking them so you can tell which they were? Brilliant! Only took me nine months and the last three seconds to think of that! If the typing goes pale, they are linked!

Oh, it’s only those two this week. Typical.

Everything Is Its Own Reward (£20-99, City Lights) by Paul Madonna
Supergods: Our World In The Age Of The Superhero h/c (£17-99, Jonathan Cape) by Grant Morrison
Shame vol 1: Conception (£7-50, Renegade) by Lovern Kindzierski & John Bolton
Scarlet vol 1 h/c (£18-99, Icon) by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev
Saga Of The Swamp Thing vol 5 h/c (£18-99, Vertigo) by Alan Moore & John Totleben, Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala
Northlanders vol 5: Metal And Other Stories (£13-50, Vertigo) by Brian Wood & Riccardo Burchielli, Fiona Staples, Becky Cloonan
Revolver s/c (£14-99, Vertigo) by Matt Kindt
Fallen Angel: Return Of The Son (£13-50, IDW) by Peter David & J.K. Woodward
Flight vol 8 (£19-99, Villard) by various
Locke & Key vol 3: Crown Of Shadows s/c (£14-99, IDW) by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
Locke & Key vol 4: Keys To The Kingdom h/c (£18-99, IDW) by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
Penny Arcade vol 7: Be Good, Little Puppy (£10-99, Del Rey) by Jerry Holkins & Mike Krahulik
Kull vol 2: The Hate Witch (£11-99, Dark Horse) by David Lapham & Gabriel Guzman
X-Files / 30 Days Of Night (£13-50, DC) by Steve Niles, Adam Jones & Tom Mandrake
Halo: Blood Line s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Fred Van Lente & Francis Portela
A.B.C. Warriors: The Volgan War vol 4 (£14-99,  2000AD) by Pat Mills & Clint Langley
Green Arrow: Brightest Day – Into The Woods h/c (£16-99, DC) by J.T. Krul & Diogenes Neves, Mike Mayhew
Heroes For Hire vol 1: Control s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning & Brad Walker, Robert Atkins
New X-Men vol 1 (Digest) (£10-99, Marvel) by Grant Morrison & Ethan Van Sciver, Igor Kordey, Frank Quitely
New X-Men vol 2 (Digest) (£10-99, Marvel) by Grant Morrison & Ethan Van Sciver, Leinil Yu, Frank Quitely
Wandering Son vol 1 h/c (£14-99, Fantagraphics) by Shimura Takako
Monster Hunter Orage vol 1 (£8-50, Kodansha) by Hiro Mashima
Negima!? Neo vol 7 (£8-50, Kodansha) by Ken Akamatsu & Takuya Fujima
Air Gear vol 18 (£8-50, Kodansha) by Oh!Great
Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei vol 9 (£8-50) by Koji Kumeta & Koji Kumeta
Arata The Legend vol 6 (£6-99, Viz) by Yuu Watase
Chi’s Sweet Home vol 6 (£10-50, Vertical) by Konami Kanata
Magic Knight Rayearth vol 1 (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Clamp
Blue Exorcist vol 1 (£6-99, Viz) by Kazue Kato
Higurashi vol 13: Eye Opening Arc vol 3 (£7-99, Yen) by Ryukishio7 & Yutori Houjyou

Currently undergoing what is technically known as New Mobile Phone Dysfunctionality Disorder. STOOPID for short. Jonathan took half an hour out of his life to tutor me today, but my former teachers in… well, every subject… will tell you just how much wasted effort that is.

Please don’t text me for 48 hours while I attempt to adjust.

 - Stephen x

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