Reviews January 2012 week four

Before we begin: Page 45 has secured its own exclusive signed and numbered bookplate edition of Antony Johnston’s THE COLDEST CITY at no extra cost! I’ve read the whole thing and you’ll find a full review of THE COLDEST CITY with interior art here! Due in May but pre-order as soon as you can, please: it’s a limited edition. At no extra cost! Also, see breaking news at the bottom.

Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary h/c (£13-50, HMH) by Kenshni Kashyap & Mari Araki…

“Why so pale and wan my love?”
“Did you speak with Alex?”
“Who’s Alex?”
“She’s my best friend. Was.”
“Not was, darling, still is. You must sort this out.”
“What happened?”
“We had a fight.”
“With your best friend? How maddening.”
“She has a new boyfriend.”
“Mum!”
“Men are always the culprits, aren’t they?”
“Darling, don’t look so sad. These are the normal trials and tribulations of friendship. It’s just ghastly in the moment. Who cares about this girl? Tell me about you. What classes are you taking?
“Math, French, history, biology and existentialism.”
“Existentialism! Why that’s perfectly fabulous! What kind of school is this?”
“A very expensive one.”

Existentialism is just about the only school of philosophy I have any time for personally, perhaps not unsurprisingly given I am someone who practices Buddhist meditation. In any event the idea that discursive thought about the nature of things begins with the human individual as a whole surely isn’t any great philosophical insight, merely common sense? There are many parallels with Buddhism in that with existentialism the beginning of someone’s journey to understand often commences with a feeling of non-belonging and confusion in what seems like a world that makes little or no sense. I am also amused by the fact that many existentialist philosophers had an innate dislike or disapproval of traditional philosophy, regarding it as abstract, limited in its scope and not remotely useful in illuminating the human condition to an individual personally. I would heartily concur. Why raise the Buddhist angle? Well I was rather tickled by the very last page as we see a letter Tina is sending to her teacher Mr Moosewood (aka Moose), who has left her school and joined a Soto Zen monastery in California, one which does actually exist and was founded by the same woman, and is in fact the parent monastery of the one I often go in wilds of Cumbria.

Anyway, I digress and I haven’t even started the review properly yet! So… Tina, our 15-year-old never-been-kissed central character, and the rest of her classmates have been given an assignment by Moose, of which hers is to keep an existential diary. She’s writing it to Jean-Paul Satre…

“Dear Mr Jean-Paul Sartre,
I know that you are dead and old and also a philosopher. So, on an obvious level, you and I do not have a lot in common.”

… and at the end of the semester the diary will be sealed and given to Moose. He’s not intending to read it (precisely how he’s going to mark it I have no idea!), but instead will send it back to her in three years. Which all makes TINA’S MOUTH sound rather dry (ho ho), but actually this is a lovely, heart-warming tale about self-discovery, rites of passage and how best friends and boys can be, quite frankly, bitches and buttheads, respectively. Tina also happens to be of Indian descent so has her own cultural family foibles to deal with too, aside from making her already a little different from the social norm. So when BFF Alex dumps her for a boy, she decides it’s time to put her own cliquey prejudices aside and look for some new friends with a fresh eye. Oh, and whilst she’s at it, she’s determined to find the right person to pucker up and give her that all-important first kiss!

This is such a cleverly constructed, wryly observed work, dealing sensitively yet often hilariously with all the myriad types of issues an intelligent, well-grounded 15 year old is likely to run into. This is no diary of handwringing woe-is-me strife; instead Tina just observes what life is throwing at her, provides a daily commentary for her trusted confidante Jean-Paul and keeps firmly moving forward as her understanding of society and the people around her, and also herself, starts to blossom. Most enjoyable.

JR

Tina’S Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary hardcover

Hildafolk brand-new edition (£6-50, Nobrow Press) by Luke Pearson.

Oh, the difference a dash of spot-varnish makes! Adult and tiny eyes alike will shine like marbles when they see the sheen, both on the front cover and the French flaps inside. Tilt it under lamplight and you’ll note it’s been administered not only unto young Hilda, Twig, and the snow gently falling over the rich brown mountains, but also just to the left, below each snowflake, effectively rendering them 3-D! We love attention to detail.

From the creator of SOME PEOPLE, EVERYTHING WE MISS etc., a brand new edition of the very first adventure before HILDA AND THE MIDNIGHT GIANT where we find young Hilda following in her mother’s artistic footsteps by taking her sketchbook out into the grassy, rock-strewn hillside to draw. She sketches her pet Twig perched on a tiny island in the rippling plunge pool below a cascading waterfall, she spies a lost Sea Spirit that must have drifted down the fjord; and then finally, excitedly, she discovers a true Troll Rock! She’d been reading up on trolls the previous day, but then the prospect of camping out under rain had distracted her, as did yet another visit by that strange, silent wood man who keeps walking through their front door completely uninvited (thank you very much indeed!) to lie quietly down by the fireside. What is that guy’s problem?

Anyway, Hilda gives Twig a bell to perch on the Troll Rock’s big, long nose to warn them in case it in transforms (as they’re said to at night!) and starts moving. She then sets about sketching it from every conceivable angle: from afar, from behind and from below – even from on top of its schnozzle! Oh, but it’s tiring work, and soon our pioneer and portrait artist starts to fall asleep, only to be woken up during the bright orange sunset in the middle of a blizzard… by the jingle-jangle of bells!!!

Oh so exciting and full of surprises, this will warm the cockles of the coldest of hearts: the cosiness of camping out at night, and the sound of rain on canvas; a giant lost above the tree-tops, confounded by their conformity; the mystery of the wood man, the wonder of the world Luke Pearson has created, at once familiar yet populated by exotic and fantastical new fauna. I’m not quite sure what Twig is! A blue-grey fox-cat with a bright white belly and antlers. In fact as a colourist alone Luke Pearson deserves to win every award going, and his attention to detail is right up there with Ware. The inside front and back covers would make the best Christmas wrapping paper ever! Indeed Nobrow probably have, and their paper stock is of the highest possible quality.

An awe-inspiring adventure, then, with two important lessons in hospitality and research. Because you remember that bell…?

“One should always read the whole book. They’re not for dipping into.”

SLH

Buy Hildafolk new edition and read the Page 45 review here

Prophet #21 (£2-25, Image) by Brandon Graham & Simon Roy.

Look, just pretend it’s #1. That’s what it should have been called – or by another name entirely. You will want nothing whatsoever to do with its previous incarnation. You will, however, want this, fully endorsed byWarren Ellis.

“All around John, the clicks and ticks of new creatures.
“Earth has changed since he last knew it. The old land is harsher, now. Unforgiving. Even the animals he’s known have changed.
“On the first evening he fights a domoeode wolfpack made more deadly by the cunning parasites that have bonded to them.
“Other animals, new unknowns. His second morning awake: a hiber xull screams like a kitten as he pulls it out of a river, proving to be inedible once he’s killed it. So he kills what he knows he can eat.”

John Prophet has awoken after millions of years buried deep beneath the Earth’s surface. It is a world now entirely alien to him, and his physical resources are few. But he has his instincts, he has his wits and he has his skills along with dreams which tell him where he must go and when. TheJellCityis a smell-based caste society, each with its own regions and roles. Most of what they gorge on is inedible to John – his stomach, however enhanced, simply can’t handle it – but they also eat meet from the oonaka farm he surveyed days earlier, and that will have to do. So for weeks John Prophet bides his time, hiding in an organic pod within the city, venturing out when he can to reconnoitre and forage until he can meet his preordained contact and learn of his mission. Then finally, one day, his contact arrives with a somewhat insalubrious demand…!

Quietly riveting science fiction from Brandon Graham (King City collection imminent) and drawn by Simon Roy in a way that demands you linger over every detail just as John Prophet must too. And the details do reward: I’d take a close inspection of that oonaka farm, if I were you! The creatures themselves are deliriously alien mutations which avoid all visual clichés, as does the language. Sci-fi nomenclature often makes me wince, but not here. There’s a keen sense of survivalism in the sparse tools at John’s disposal, and the second batch inJellCity proves highly imaginative. Far from overwritten in the third person singular, present tense, one forms an immediate bond with the dispassionate, observational author which is absolutely entrancing.

John’s mission, by the way, is a pretty tall order. You’ll see what I mean when you get there. I wonder if John ever will.

Here’s Warren Ellis’ endorsement of PROPHET with interior art.

SLH

Buy Prophet #21 the good old-fashioned way by phoning 0115 9508045 or emailing page45@page45.com. Personal contact: good lord!

Blue Estate vol 2 (£9-99, Image) by Viktor Kalvachev, Kosta Yanev, Andrew Osborne & Viktor Kalvachev, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Paul Maybury, Marley Zarcone, Tomm Coker, Andrew Robinson, Peter Nguyen…

“Think you’re ready to roll with us?”
“Not so fast.”
“There’s no place for amateurs on the mean streets ofHollywood… So before we get started, you need to ask yourself one question: DO I FEEL HOFF?”
“Well, do ya, punk?”

This time around it’s the turn of semi-competent Mafiosi Lino & Mauro to get us into the requisite ‘Blue Estate state of mind’ with their guide to how David Hasslehoff would handle any number of tricky situations a (not-so) wise guy could find themselves in on a day-to-day basis.

There surely can’t be too many crime comics out there that have you crying with laughter before you’ve even got past the introductory page, but yet again the surreal, opening-page entreaty perfectly captures the sublimely ridiculous nature of life amongst the movie-hip gangsters and good-time gals that really do inhabitTinselTown.

Volume two picks up the high-octane pace right where the previous volume left off as Lino & Mauro’s completely incompetent boss Tony Luciano, son of the head of the local Italian crime family, continues in his ill-conceived attempts to be a serious player. It’s not long before he’s causing Daddy problems with the local Russian mob, whose Big Bosski is bankrolling the latest film in Bruce Maddox’s Hunt To Kill franchise.

Bruce meanwhile has got problems of his own, as he’s pretty convinced his wife Rachel is cheating on him, and has hired obese, weasely P.I. Roy Devine Jr. to keep tabs on her. And we won’t even get into Roy Jr. issues with his Dad, who’s a serious old-school, ass-kicking cop, and thinks Roy Jr. is worth about as much as a shit on his shoe. WhenRoy snaps some covert pics of Rachel leaving a hotel room with sleazy Tony lurking in the background, it seems like it all makes sense. Except of course nothing is exactly what it seems as cinemascope-sized quantities of the brown stuff start hitting the fan for pretty much all of our cast of characters.

Seems like right about now would be a good time to take a deep breath, chill out and kick back to Mauro’s favourite Hoff music video… If you only watch one truly unbelievably bad music video this year, make it this one! You will believe a Hoff can fly!!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJQVlVHsFF8

JR

Buy Blue Estate vol 2 and read the Page 45 review here

The Twelve vol 1 s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by J. Michael Straczynski & Chris Weston.

Great news: after several years on hiatus, this series is about to be completed!

Occasionally, just occasionally, you find a Marvel comic that transcends its trappings and truly surprises you. THE INHUMANS by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee was one of the first in recent times. Then FANTASTIC FOUR: UNSTABLE MOLECULES brought “unusual” to a whole new level, as does the new Omega The Unknown, whilst this is sure to send shivers down your spine. Here’s Dynamic Man:

“I was supposed to be.. I was meant to be… the perfect man. The man of tomorrow. The man of the future. That’s what they always called me. The press. The public. Even my father. I was supposed to protect the world so it could become the perfect future, and once that happened, I would fit in. I would be home. But I don’t… I can’t understand this future. This world. It’s not what it was supposed to be. Clean. Pure. Perfect. There were supposed to be flying cars, and jet packs, and no more poverty, and buildings five miles high, and lunar colonies, and —

” — And instead it’s a place of even more despicable crime, more depraved behaviour, people crawling on the devoured rind of the earth. I stay in the air because I can’t stand the stink of it. I keep moving because that way I don’t have to think, is this the world we fought so hard to save? A world I don’t understand?”

“Depraved behaviour”, by the way, includes mixed-race marriages and homosexuality. Everyone is beneath him, whether he’s flying or not. I think Dynamic Man might have been fighting on the wrong side during World War II. Chris Weston does a peerless job throughout, but most especially in his depiction of this Aryan uber-man: his snarling sneers and body-builder poses ripped from mid-1900s German magazines, as repellently grotesque as he is physically fit.

So let’s pull back. During WWII twelve random “superheroes” – not a team at all – explored the SS Headquarters inBerlinduring a mop-up operation. They were looking for snipers and other opposition forces, but found more than they bargained for. Buried deep underground and left in suspended animation, they’re discovered in the present day by the construction industry revitalisingEast Germany.Americais quick to reappropriate, relocate and then fund the heroes who were born into a patriotism that wouldn’t think twice which side to choose during any superhero Civil War. But that doesn’t mean to say that all sorts of other baggage isn’t collected from the metaphorical conveyor belt as well. Family reunions, if they happen at all, don’t all go well – and there’s one in a Jewish household that is particularly painful to watch as one of the so-called heroes is taught a well deserved lesson in being proud of one’s heritage. Adapting to modern life proves hard for some and impossible for others, with consequences that are decidedly worrying. One superficial show-off makes an utter TV tosser of himself, one has his heart-broken by the realities of life for kids in some urban schools, whilst another sultry sexpot conjoins vamp and ire to redecorative effect on her late-night assignations outside of the lesbian goth circuit she is wont to frequent.

Straczynski has taken old superheroes created in innocence then written and drawn in childish adventures, and transposed them, golden-age-tinted glasses and all, into the liberal/decadent/permissive (delete as appropriate to your world-view) 21st Century where they have as much to say about the there and then as the here and now.

It’s not a pretty picture. Or it wouldn’t be if Chris Weston wasn’t involved. He’s one of those troopers like DAN DARE’s Gary Erskine and indeed Bryan Talbot who marry British (and other) comics’ past and present to perfection. See Ellis & Weston’s MINISTRY OF SPACE.

SLH

Buy The Twelve vol 1 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Journey Into Mystery vol 1: Fear Itself h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Kieron Gillen & Doug Braithwaite.

“I see your future, and it is knee-bound, tear-faced and bloody-lipped. It sees your eyes dancing at the end of meaty cords and your tongue sore-crowned in the belly of a beast. You are in the hands of Loki. You are deep in the land of Hell. From where you will find yourself, you will not even be able to see mere misery. You will gift me secrets and I will gift you death. You don’t, and you will truly know Loki.”
“…”
“…”
“The scroll’s seal is released. Inside you will find details of all The Serpent’s plans for Hel.”
“Good. Your death will send the clearest messenger to your master. That there’s more to fear than he.”
[A bucket of blood sprays across the room.]
“Oh, ick. Though… “more to fear than he!” Oh, Tyr! I do so enjoy this villainous talk!”

There’s nothing else quite like this in comics right now: a sparklingly literate fantasy from a writer well versed in mythology and with such an evident love of storytelling that it put me in mind of Neil Gaiman. In the hands of PHONOGRAM’s Kieron Gillen, Loki as a cunning, mischievous and eloquent young tyke is infinitely more interesting than he ever was as a bitter and malevolent adult. He’s naughty, irreverent, gleeful and funny and here on the side, if not of the angels, then at least of the gods. As Thor and Odin do battle against the Serpent and his minions in Fear Itself, young Loki gathers his wits to marshal his resources in the form of Mephisto, Hela et al. But the King of Hell and Queen of Hel are no mere pawns – except in the hands of the ultimate trickster. Indeed Loki manoeuvres each of his pieces across a board only he can see clearly with an ingenuity that will make your smile crack into a big, broad grin.

Loki’s guile, of course, is completely dependent on Gillen’s and Kieron is thinking right outside the box. The very idea that a shadow can be transported, and that wherever the shadow goes so much what casts it, is a brilliant way to smuggle something out of captivity. Similarly Loki’s early quest to find himself – quite literally – is both far from obvious, taking on the form of a most original treasure hunt. All this Loki must accomplish without true allies, for after his last lifetime as a liar, trickster and revolutionary, no one in Asgard, Hell, Limbo, Midgard or Hell trusts him. Only Thor acts as his benefactor, his protector in a universally hostile environment. He’s like a kindly foster father and it’s this new dynamic which first makes the book. Here Thor’s caught Loki texting on a Stark Phone he bought with the proceeds of gambling:

“… Were you cheating, Loki?”
“Yes! But they were too! Cheating was the game, and I triumphed unfairly most fairly.”
“I do not think I approve.”
“There was no harm! Unlike this! The humans of the internetare uncouth. When I said I was an Asgardian God, they called me a troll!”

Braithwaite judges the young lad’s expressions to perfection and Thor’s body language, leaning down conspiratorially as he points out Loki is half-giant, is actually quite touching. While we’re on the subject of Braithwaite, this is like nothing I’ve seen from him before, coloured as it is straight over his pencils, and full of the requisite eerie light for these fantastical otherworlds. It’s a book of intrigue, machinations and so full of surprises; also big ideas and a real love of language, as here when Volstagg, in defence of Loki, unexpectedly takes the blame for Thor’s escape:

“But why? You hate me.”
“I hate Loki. You have destroyed us all, time and time over. But… I have children, Loki. A great, prattling, squelching brood who exist to do nothing but create smells and trouble and joy. I love them all. And by the eternal droppings of Huginn and Munnin, I find myself sentimental about even the worst of you little monsters.”

Oh yes, sorry, there’s also a great deal of dung.

Most importantly, however, you don’t need to read Fear Itself to enjoy this separately: Loki’s feast of deceit may be in service to the gods’ fight against The Serpent but it’s another quest altogether. Even though Marvel have called it something different this book is most emphatically JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY VOLUME ONE, and continues in what Marvel calls Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself Fall-Out. That’s important because I should warn you that the story itself ends on a cliffhanger a couple of dozen pages before you’re expecting it to, followed as it is by pages of Marvel Thor history, interviews with Gillen and cover art etc.

SLH

Fear Itself: Journey Into Mystery hardcover

Fear Itself s/c (UK Ed’n) (£15-99, Marvel) by Matt Fraction & Stuart Immonen.

Released but a single week after the American hardcover edition, so bang goes our sales there! Never mind, at least it means I’ve already written the review we ran last week. I don’t want to clutter up this week’s blog so instead why don’t you make with the clicky below to read the full review and see the cover too!

SLH

Fear Itself softcover (Uk Ed’N)

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Jonathan Hickman & Rafa Sandoval…

Everyone’s favourite second-stringer gets his take to take a bow… and fire it repeatedly…

Actually, in the hands of Jonathan Hickman (ULTIMATE COMICS THOR and current run of the ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES), this squarely hits the mark. In fact, it ties in with the current U.C.U. arc, providing considerable extra recon and intel on the current goings-on in the Southeast Asian Republic, where, if it weren’t enough trouble for Nick Fury that Reed Richards has returned with his very super-powered ‘children’ in eastern Europe, there’s another bunch of amped-up interlopers – well, two in fact – inhabiting twin cities that have suddenly popped into existence on the other side of the planet.

Backed up by the gang from Ultimate Comics X including the Hulk, it’s up to Clint Barton to make all nicey nice and play the diplomat with the newcomers (hmm… sensing a teeny weeny snag with that part of the plan)  whilst working out what they’re really up to. Hickman also provides an extremely credible sci-fi secret origin for Hawkeye and reveals a little more back story about the Ultimate version of the bespectacled bowman than we’ve known to date. Not as outright thrilling as ULTIMATE COMICS THOR perhaps, but this story is much more intended as a piece of a larger jigsaw, that is for sure.

JR

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye hardcover

Editor’s note: we’re not making these titles up. It really is ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES.

X-Men: Schism s/c (UK Ed’n) (£15-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron,Kieron Gillen & Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho, Daniel Acuna, Alan Davis, Adam Kubert, Billy Tan.

Please note: in addition to the five-issue mini-series and the X-MEN: REGENESIS one-shot, the UK edition of X-MEN: SCHISM s/c also contains Gillen’s GENERATION HOPE #10 and 11. TheUS edition, whenever it appears, won’t. We’ve only just reviewed the h/c but if you missed it you can read the full review by clicking below. No purchase necessary!

SLH

X-Men: Schism softcover

War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath h/c (£19-50, DC) by Tony Bedard, Peter Tomasi, Scott Kolins & various…

“That isn’t how this is supposed to end!”
“Mister…? Who the heck are you?”
“I’m nobody. I’m nobody now.”

Poor old Hal. He finally gets a taste of what’s it like to get jilted, and he doesn’t even get to keep the ring. Yes, as the Guardians show their gratitude for the one person who’s saved their collective blue behinds more times than Guy Gardner’s had temper tantrums, it finally hits home to Hal just how little else he has in his life other than the Corps. Which is pretty much the high pointof this mish-mash of stories from the post-BRIGHTEST DAY / pre-DC reboot (that isn’t a reboot, of course) before the various Lantern titles start again from #1. So, we have War Of The Green Lanterns Aftermath #1-2, Green Lantern Corps #61-63 featuring what Kyle and John have been up to and the extremely pants filler-issues starring Guy that were Emerald Warriors #11-13. Happily, the new titles – especially Green Lantern itself – seem pretty good, and don’t worry too much, Hal fans, for he might not be without the bling for too long…

JR

War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath hardcover

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Normally you can click on these and, by the miracle of little online pixies, you will be escorted to the relevant webpage in the shopping area. Alas, due to some monumental fuckwittery over the last 24 hours, the pixies have been replaced by gremlins and all you do is just stare at this list vacantly, a globule of saliva dribbling down your chin.

No, wait! All sorted now! Reviews to follow or already up if they’re softcovers of previous hardcovers. Feel free to click away!

 

The Manara Library vol 2 h/c (£45-00, Dark Horse) by Milo Manara with Hugo Pratt

The Best Of Girl (£14-99, Prion) by various

You Are A Cat! Pick A Plot Book 1 (£12-99, Conundrum Press) by Sherwin Tija

Apple Selection vol 1: Summer (£29-99, Udon) by various

A.D.D. Adolescent Demo Division h/c (£18-99, Vertigo) by Douglas Rushkoff & Goran Sudzuka

Sweet Tooth vol 4: Endangered Species (£12-99, Vertigo) by Jeff Lemire

Irredeemable vol 8 (£12-99, Boom!) by Mark Waid & Peter Krause

Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Promise Part One (£8-50, Dark Horse) by Gene Luen Yang & Gurihiru

Batman Beyond: Industrial Revolution (£12-99, DC) by Adam Beechen & Ryan Benjamin

Catwoman vol 1: Trail Of The Catwoman (£22-50, DC) by Ed Brubaker & Darwyn Cooke

Batman & Robin: Dark Knight vs. White Knight h/c (£16-99, DC) by Paul Cornell & Scott McDaniel, Christopher Jones

X-Men Legacy: Aftermath softcover (£11-99, Marvel) by Mike Carey & Paul Davidson, Harvey Tolibao, Jorge Molina, Rafa Sandoval

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine softcover (£14-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Adam Kubert

Spider-Man: Spider-Island softcover (Uk Ed’N) (£16-99, Marvel) by Dan Slott, Rick Remender & Humberto Ramos, Stefano Caselli, Tom Fowler

FF vol 2 h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Jonathan Hickman & Steve Epting, Barry Kitson, Greg Tocchini

Daredevil vol 1 hardcover (£14-99, Marvel) by Mark Waid & Paolo Riveria, Marcos Martin

Wolverine vol 2: Wolverine Vs. The X-Men s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Daniel Acuna, Jefte Palo

Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men vol 4 (£18-99, Marvel) by Chris Claremont & John Byrne, George Perez

Iron Man: Extremis hardcover (Uk Ed’N) (£9-99, Marvel) byWarren Ellis & Adi Granov

Cardcaptor Sakura Book 3 (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Clamp

Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D vol 6 (£10-50, DMP) by Saiko Takaki

Mr. Convenience (£9-99, June) by Nase Yamato

Storm Flower (£9-99, June) by Runa Konjiki

Kimi Ni Todoke vol 12 (£6-99, Viz) by Karuho Shiina

One Piece Omnibus vols 1-3 (£9-99, Viz) by Eiichiro Oda

NGE: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project vol 9 (£7-50, Dark Horse) by Osamu Takahashi

Assassin’S Creed: The Fall softcover (Deluxe Ed’N) (£13-99, Ubisoft) by Cameron Stewart, Karl Kerschl

Breaking news: to make good on my consistently erroneous tweeting of THE COLDEST CITY as THE COLDEST DAY, Antony Johnston has been forced to call the second book in this series THE COLDEST DAY. If I continue to fuck up, he’s threatened to call the third instalment THE COLDEST SHOULDER.

And I will be assassinated by the end of its opening sequence.

– Stephen

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