Reviews February 2012 week four

 

Yes, it would be fair to say if you’re looking for examples of dark humour in comics, Jason probably would be a very good place to start…

 – Jonathan on Jason’s Athos In America.

 

Jinchalo (£14-99, D&Q) by Matthew Forsythe.

Virtually silent sequel to OJINGOGO as the same shouty little crosspatch returns for more morphing dreamscapes, bizarre beasties and sundry transmogrification. It’s a book that rewards several short readings, first for the sheer joy of seeing what Andi Watson might draw in his sleep after eating way too much cheese, but also because retrospect is a funny old thing.

Really it’s up to you interpret what’s going on. However – unless I have this very wrong – here the young girl stumbles on some giant sushi (that isn’t hers), gobbles it up, falls asleep with a grumbling tummy then wakes in a house (that isn’t hers), bad-breathed with bed hair, in time to serve a plaintive ogre food which is clearly inedible. And isn’t hers!

Undeterred, she sets about making a feast before returning to bed with a copy of COWA. When the true occupant, an elderly gent, discovers he’s been eaten out of house and home he goes through the roof before dispatching the girl to market to replenish his cupboards and buy, specifically, a very large egg. What follows is all manner of mistaken identity and hatched-egg extreme imprinting as well as a guest appearance by the artist himself who’s roped in to address his creation.

It’s an absolute delight in black, white, and eggshell blue. The expressions are a hoot and just watching her pack is a riot, as is the school nature trail. Plus, as I say, both the punchline and epilogue will send you scurrying back to the beginning.

P.S. ‘Jinchalo’ is the Korean for ‘Really?’ Really.

SLH

Buy Jinchalo and read the Page 45 review here

Athos In America h/c (£18-99, Fantagraphics) by Jason…

After the Page 45 Comicbook of The Month choice ISLE OF 100,000 GRAVES in collaboration with writer Fabien Vehlmann, this collection of stories has Jason back on writing and art duties as per usual. It’s the usual collection of laconic oddness and outright weirdness. I did enjoy Vehlmann’s somewhat more overt humour in ISLE OF 100,000 GRAVES, I have to say, but there’s plenty to amuse here.

The titular story, which is a very loose prequel to THE LAST MUSKEETER, has Athos recounting a sorry tale of lost love and woe to a 1920s New York barkeep about how he was all set to play himself in a Hollywood film of The Three Musketeers before a dastardly love rival ruined his chance at the big time.

‘The Smiling Horse’ sees characters from one of the stories in LOW MOON feature in a kidnap plot that doesn’t so much go wrong, as just all gets very sinister. ‘The Brain That Wouldn’t Virginia Woolf’ is a most bizarre mash-up, as the title suggests, told in a most unorthodox order. ‘Tom Waits on the Moon’ features an inter-related tale of four very different people that comes a typically Jason conclusion i.e. not a happy ending.

Then there are my two personal favourites with firstly ‘So Long Mary Ann’ as an escaped convict goes on the lam with his girlfriend who has been waiting for him and the woman they’ve just abducted to help them escape a police roadblock. As time goes on there’s a definite Stockholm Syndrome scenario developing, but will our convict and his new squeeze ride off into the sunset together happily ever after? Err… if you really need that answering you obviously haven’t read much Jason.

And finally the apparently autobiographical – though I hope for all concerned really not – ‘A Cat From Heaven, in which Jason treats his girlfriend like absolute garbage during a break-up then promptly starts to find the green isn’t particularly greener on the other side. Yes, it would be fair to say if you’re looking for examples of dark humour in comics, Jason probably would be a very good place to start…

Buy Athos In America h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Kramers Ergot vol 8 h/c (£24-99, PictureBox) by Anya Davidson, Leon Sadler, Ben Jones, CF, Sammy Harkham, Tim Hensley, Kevin Huizenga, Johnny Ryan, Takeshi Murata, Robert Beatty, Chris Cilla, Gabrielle Bell, Frank Santoro, Dash Shaw, Gary Panter, Ian Svenonius ~

Just when I thought I was safe, KRAMERS ERGOT blows my mind again. This anthology is the comics equivalent of the Peel Sessions. And as those benchmark musical renditions had a certain standard of aural quality, so everyone Sammy picks has a sense of aesthetic unity. I mean what they produce here is very KRAMERS ERGOT, these comics are quite unlike anything you’ll find outside of its binding. And whether they’re gems rescued from obscurity such as Ron Emberleton & Frederic’s ‘Oh, Wicked Wanda!’ or our own Leon Sadler delivering a vibrant new foray into his pop consciousness, these comics are unique on any shelf, and its 8th instalment is simply wonderful. And it’s equally as satisfying to pick up a collection like this and have the feeling you’re not alone just wanting a pure visceral entertainment, a jolt of delight, guilt-free. This is unapologetic love for comics, and as Ian F. Svenonius implies in his opening essay to this anthology, it’s replaced both sex and religion in our minds. Who among us can deny that’s true on at least one of those accounts? Oh, and Leon? Thank you. Really, man, that brought a grin to my face and a tear to my eye. You are legend.

TR

Kramers Ergot vol 8 hardcover

The Wolf (£25-00) by Tom McNeely…

Part-romance, part-horror story, THE WOLF is a wordless, restless riot of sex, blood and passion, rendered in a very unique way. At times various components of each panel, usually different antagonists, are portrayed in almost incongruous styles. I did see one comment on Tom’s site that mentioned a marriage of cartoon expressionism and a fine art approach in places, and I think that neatly sums it up actually. It certainly adds to the supernatural feel of the work. There’s the occasionally use of a bordered panel per page early on, which quickly changes to using all of the page consistently, but I’m not really sure what that means, I couldn’t see anything significant in the use of the panels. So perhaps Tom just decided to drop the panel approach completely as he went on, or I’m just missing something?! Anyway, this is another impressive addition to his portfolio that is for sure. I doubt this will be in print too long, either, like all his previous stuff, so if you’re a fan I’d grab it right away whilst we have stock. Warning though, most definitely contains adult content. If you’re likely to be offended by a werewolf having graphic sex with a woman, albeit consensual and romantic, this isn’t for you. If you’re turned on by that mind you, well, you’re probably beyond help…

JR

Buy The Wolf and read the Page 45 review here

Sleeper Car (£5-99, Secret Acres) by Theo Ellsworth ~

There is an Orphic quality to Theo’s strange tales, he even makes the classic plots seem mysterious and fresh, and dream logic seems divine through his idiosyncratic pen. Two robots enter into a bet, Marvin III wagers gnomes – living, breathing gnomes – are real. Norman VIII takes that bet, in fact he bets his right arm, as is Marvin III’s prerogative, even though Norman VIII can envision no logical use for his appendage. That doesn’t matter though as gnomes don’t exist, right? With its instructions on how to pitch a pyjama tent in front of Saturday morning cartoons, and Theo’s interpretations of a wandering mind while waiting for a bus, I get the feeling the theme throughout this collection, in both a physical and psychological sense, is travel. At least that’s what I picked up on, it certainly read like a journey I would happily take again. From the creator of CAPACITY.

TR

Buy Sleeper Car and read the Page 45 review here

Madwoman Of The Sacred Heart s/c (£22-50, Humanoids) by Alexandro Jodorowsky & Moebius…

“Before you pass any further judgement on me, I’ll give you a quote, the author of which you’re not worthy to learn: “There is no good or evil, only the divine presence under this or that trapping.”
“?!!”
“Those are the words of a saint!”
“?”
“Enough, you guys, this is a University not a temple.”
“Yeah, shut up, you ass-kissers.”

Finally Jodorowsky and Moebius’ masterpiece of religious and philosophical satire is available in its complete form in English. When Dark Horse first published this work in theUKmany years ago, they only collected the first two-thirds (and then only in black and white), which culminated in a rather odd and abrupt ending. Given the nature of the work I personally – like many others at the time having chatted with a few customers about it – just assumed it was a deliberately oblique ending which possibly I hadn’t grasped the full meaning of. I now believe the only reason behind not publishing the third part at the time was it simply it hadn’t been translated yet.

Anyway, enough preamble. How best to describe MADWOMAN to those unfamiliar with the work?! Professor Alan Mangel is a charismatic and eminent Professor of Philosophy atParis’SorbonneUniversity. Whilst beloved by his students, some of whom have taken to wearing purple in reverence of him, Mangel’s private life is somewhat less successful, with a rather bitter (very soon to be ex-) wife who berates him for his impotence and inability to impregnate her. He’s somewhat ambivalent about the whole situation preferring to take solace in, and perhaps also hiding behind, his spiritual practice, until she actually leaves him taking every single possession he owns with her. This precipitates a crisis of confidence and his loyal students soon desert him in droves.

The only student who still believes in Alan in the beautiful Elisabeth, who appears to be completely insane in her belief that she has been chosen for a divine mission, to be impregnated by Alan and thus bring about the reincarnation of John the Baptist. And that’s just the beginning! What follows is a delightfully farcical and satirical romp as Alan, seemingly unable to take control of the situation and sensibly just bring things to a halt, gets himself deeper and deeper into trouble.

He soon finds himself on the run for a murder he didn’t commit which occurs in the course of helping a local drug dealer spring a girl from a Parisian asylum. Elisabeth is convinced they are the reincarnations of Joseph and Mary respectively, and that they will produce a child who will be the second coming of Jesus. Just to make things a little more complicated for Alan the girl in question is the daughter of a Columbian cocaine baron, who promptly dispatches a hit squad to track down his beloved child and deal with the people responsible for her disappearance. If that weren’t enough to deal with, Alan is also finding himself troubled by a rather lustful inner demon in the shape of his younger self, who chides him for not grasping the moment and making the most of his current situation, whilst continually making some distinctly suggestive suggestions. Oh, and the slightest bit of stress is now causing Alan bouts of uncontrollable, explosive diarrhoea.

I’m not going to go into any analysis of precisely what J & M are satirising with this work. That’s one of the pleasures of reading it in depth for yourself. Not that it is remotely heavy going, and can be enjoyed entirely for its farcical content which comes across in places like a surreal cross-over between Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em and a particularly bawdy Carry On film. And I do genuinely mean that in a good way, I really do!!

The final third of MADWOMAN changes in tone as the humour is reined in considerably and things take an even more metaphysical turn out in the jungles ofColombia. It’s a path Jodorowsky has us taken down before in his various comic and cinematic works, perhaps once too often for it to have the same impact for me in all honesty, and it probably reveals more about himself and his own beliefs than simply continuing to entertain the reader with the same bonhomie as the first two-thirds of the work. Still, it doesn’t spoil the book and the plot is definitely still drawn to a very satisfactory conclusion. I do wonder whether there is a deliberate parallel to be drawn in terms of Mangel’s physical and psychological state at the very end of MADWOMAN, with the ending of the soon-to-be-reprinted THE INCAL material and its main protagonist John Difool, but maybe that’s me reading too much into it. I think I understand the point that’s being made, if there is a point that’s actually being made – and that the great thing about MADWOMAN: it will certainly get you thinking!

And of course we have the unique art style that we’ve come to know and love from Moebius, plus there is the added bonus of the truly wonderful conceit that he’s used Jodorowsky’s likeness for Professor Alan Mangel (unbeknownst to Jodorowsky at the time) which continually adds to the amusement as Alan’s circumstances get ever more ridiculous and fraught with danger. This is a genuine classic that stands reading and re-reading. It never fails to raise a smile for me, and still a quizzical eyebrow or two.

JR

Madwoman Of The Sacred Heart softcover

Papertoy Monsters: 50 Cool Papertoys You Can Make Yourself! (£12-99, Workman) by 25 of the hottest paper toy designers in the world!

Monstrous, magnificent and, oh, so cool!

“Pop out! Fold! Glue!”

It’s as simple as that: no safety scissors required, just glue and added glitter if you fancy, for in addition to 50 full-colour, pre-scored mummies, mutants and assorted malevolent meanies there are 10 blank templates for you to design yourselves then follow the equivalent instructions. That’s genius!

We will so be building these for ourselves and I think Page 45 deserves its own moribund monster, don’t you? You know, in addition to that bald dipsomaniac behind the counter who comes off like a cross between Nosferatu and the Addams Family’s wine-addled Uncle Fester. He’s a walking, talking, lazy-assed liability, but he’s better off cared for within the community than without.

I discovered this book at Gosh! in London while waiting for Eddie Campbell’s slideshow and signing. I’m of the view that it’s only polite to put something in the pot if you turn up to a shop hosting a comicbook creator’s appearance, and since I had all the Campbells (and have them all signed – we’ve hosted Eddie ourselves), I scoured their shelves to see what we might have missed out on. Couldn’t find any new graphic novels (we have 7,000 different titles of our own), but I did discover this and Josh at Gosh! and wee Hayley Campbell told me it was this Christmas’s biggest-selling book. I can believe it!

The designs are thrilling, funny and often quite elaborate but the instructions are easy to follow. Plus each has a background story which often interlinks with others’. You can create your own history and nonsensical nomenclature to go with whatever your fevered mind confects in confabulation and I’m still addressing adults. 10-year-old girls and boys are going to squeal at first sight then delight you for days – not just with their absorbed, enormously satisfying silence whilst fashioning these multi-coloured miscreants, but with their end results! A house full of horrors! Windowsills of wonder! Beasties strung up on nigh-invisible fishing wire which your bonce will bump into and curse at forever and ever!

It’s quieter than giving them a drum kit anyway.

SLH

Buy Papertoy Monsters: 50 Cool Papertoys You Can Make Yourself! and read the Page 45 review here

GTO: 14 Days I Shonan vol 1 (£8-50, Vertical Inc.) by Tohru Fujisawa ~

Words can not describe how happy I am to see Great Teacher Onizuka find a home at Vertical Inc. after Tokyopop’s implosion! Hopefully they’ll reprint the seminal series in full. In the meantime this spin-off concerns a fortnight our unconventional Teacher spent having escaped from hospital after being shot late in the series before turning up with absolutely no memory of what transpired in those two weeks. There is no doubt that damsels will be saved, honour will be upheld (if not Onizuka’s dignity), and punks will be schooled!

TR

Buy GTO: 14 Days In Shonan vol 1  and read the Page 45 review here

Hellblazer: Phantom Pains (£10-99, Vertigo) by Peter Milligan & Simon Bisley, Giuseppe Camuncoli…

“There’s nothing quite like a rainy 4am in Brixton. It has a reek of despair that all the newcomers can’t quite chase away with their warm croissants and skinny fucking lattes.”

As so after the honeymoon, it’s back to business for usual for John as he deals with the typical selection of devilish problems, plus his gangster father-in-law causing a few choice additional ones for him, and the aftermath of a certain… incident at his recent wedding involving his  niece Gemma is brought to the fore. Well, you didn’t think it was going to be all marital bliss and pipe and slippers for John now, did you? Oh yes, and he finally decides to get around to sorting himself out a new thumb that, perhaps unsurprisingly given how he acquired it, seems to have a life all of its own…

JR

Buy Hellblazer: Phantom Pains and read the Page 45 review here

Thief Of Thieves #1 (£2-25, Image) by Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer & Shawn Martinbrough.

“I told you back then I didn’t need an assistant.”
“Apprentice. You told me back then you didn’t need an apprentice. And you didn’t tell me we’d be sleeping together.”
“We’re not sleeping together.”
“But I think I’ve made it very clear we could.”

Meet young punk and single mother Celia desperately trying to clear her student loan by jacking cars. Redman did.Meet her, that is. He caught her trying to steal the wrong car with the wrong tools, in the wrong way for wrong fools. The wrong car was his.

So the thief of all thieves gave her a quick lesson in grand theft auto, saved her from being mugged by her fence and told her she should totally give it up. She should do something else. And now he wishes he hadn’t, because she has: she’s joined his team of international con artists and, boy, does she relish her roles. Now Redman’s been hired for a job inVeniceand has spent a great deal of other people’s money in preparation. They’re a month behind schedule because Redman claims he’s “still working out a few small details” but Celia has a surprise. He’s about to be ambushed, and Redman is not a man you want to force into a corner.

I was asked last week by a most excellent customer whether this was like Brubaker and Phillips’ CRIMINAL. It isn’t, but it does promise to be something like BBC’s The Hustle with all its attendant comedy and I rather liked the art by LUKE CAGE: NOIR’s Shawn Martinbrough who plays it cool with most excellent timing. The set-up’s from WALKING DEAD’s Robert Kirkman while the first story arc is written by Forgetless’s Nick Spencer. I’m totally suckered.

SLH

Buy Thief Of Thieves #1 by fishing page45@page45.com or phoning (0115) 9508045 then using someone else’s credit card.

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man vol 1 h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Sara Pichelli.

Sara Pichelli: she nails every single beat here.

Punchlines can be so easily blown by melodramatic posturing long worn into clichés after so many decades of men in tights, but Sara leaves you hanging on cliffs you’ve never quite seen before and at an angle where you can’t help but admire the view. Better still, her young Miles Morales is an essay in understated anxiety, self-doubt and being struck dumb. There’s one page where you can see so clearly that Miles is having enormous difficulty processing some news, his mouth so slightly agape, and a conversation between Miles and his Dad in the park where Miles asks awkward questions – his lips bunched up, his head slightly cowed, eyes looking up from under a furrowed brow – so evidently unsure as to whether we will like the answers. These aren’t talking heads, these are working minds, Miles’ Dad measuring his words carefully, struggling for an honest expression of his shame, his remorse, and an equally honest explanation for his actions.

“When we were kids we didn’t have – We didn’t see any other opportunity coming our way. Not saying we didn’t have other opportunities… I’m saying we couldn’t see them.”

It’s an exceptional conversation which will resonate later on.

So here we are: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN series three and such a fresh start for which Bendis has built a brand new environment and populated with people you will care for immediately. The last series culminated in the death of Peter Parker, but cunningly (and crucially) this kicks off some several months earlier. I have no intention of giving anything away about the mechanics of this book – how Morales comes to inherit powers like Parker’s – you’ll just have to trust me when I say it makes sense. What I can promise you too is a great many familiar faces, a tumble of surprises I’ve left completely intact and a satisfying mesh with the events in THE DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN.

For me what’s fascinating and very well played is the friendship between Miles and Ganke, a resourceful young optimist with a passion for Lego and an unusually selfless ability to revel in the good fortunes of others. Because without him Miles would be lost. He’s terrified of his new abilities and their implications for his life in a country which incarcerates mutants regardless of crimes committed. I love the way he struggles to comprehend and express his condition while Ganke grows hugely excited. Obviously there’s a journey involved. So what happens to persuade Miles to bite the bullet and give it a go? How will the population react to a new boy in costume once Peter is dead, murdered so publicly while trying to protect his family? How will Peter’s nearest and dearest react? Nick Fury? Peter’s female clone?! Oh yes, and what’s with the costume, eh?

Love Miles’ family, most intrigued to find out what his Uncle was really after (and secured), and I think it’s hilarious that Bendis has given himself (and Miles) an additional difficulty in keeping his secret life safe in that he’s sent him to a boarding school with shared dormitories!

Tip of the hat to Kaare Andrews for so many splendid covers, and also a quick warning. Brace yourself for this to end 30-odd pages before the back of the book. So often these days Marvel is packing its collected editions with stuff at the back including lead-ins here from DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN FALLOUT to advertise the new series of ULTIMATE COMICS: X-MEN and ULTIMATE COMICS: ULTIMATES.

“Told you Spider-Man was black.”

SLH

Buy Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man vol 1 h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Astonishing X-Men: Joss Whedon Ultimate Collection vol 1 (£22-50, Marvel) by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday.

Collects the first two volumes of four exceptional books created by Whedon and Cassady, more about the humanity than the hitting of things.

Here’s the original review for volume one…

“Flying. God. When you’re flying, in a very literal sense the world goes away. It makes everything else… smaller. And sort of okay, too. It’s the most important feeling. I can’t lose that.”
“That’s not going to happen.”
“It’s not?”
“Wing, just ’cause someone goes on TV and says they have a “cure for mutation”… that doesn’t mean that it’s even true. And if it is… nobody’s going to force it on you. Mutants are a community. We’re a people and there’s no way anybody can makes us be what they want. We stick together and don’t panic or overreact… you’ll see. We’re stronger than this.”
“Miss Pryde… Are you a #£$%ing retard?”

Scott’s wife, Jean Grey, is dead. But things have been awkward for a while ever since former telepathic adversary Emma Frost joined the school, insinuated her way into Scott’s heart, and cast pithy put-downs like a cat spraying its territory. When former student Kitty Pryde returns to the mansion with her own verbal claws, Emma finds herself under fresh scrutiny and on the receiving end of as many bons mots as she can dish out. But that’s nothing to the rifts that are raised when an apparent “cure” is discovered and broadcast on the national news, a cure that can reverse whatever manifestations of the mutant gene have already surfaced in young men and women across the globe.

How has this breakthrough been developed? Whence is it derived? What are the political ramifications in a world in which Homo Sapiens has found itself increasingly impotent in the face of an emerging, physically stronger sub-species? And would you or wouldn’t you, if you were a mutant? Would you want the easier life that might come with fitting in better with the flock, or do you prize your individuality and consider it a gift rather than a curse? Each of these questions will spill into future storylines but here it splits the mutant community, including the school, right down the middle.

The mutant as minority outsider has for a long time been used as a metaphor for race or sexuality issues, most recently by Morrison himself upon whose NEW X-MEN books this series is built, and here the obvious parallel is with the religious right insisting that homosexuality is a disease that can and should be cured. Add to that the sad truth that in this age it’s still be easier to be straight than gay (or indeed white rather than black), and you can see the temptation here for some to give in and offer themselves up for treatment. And you can see the anger this would provoke in those campaigning hard for minority rights and trying to instil pride in one’s individuality, for this sends out all the wrong signals.

Having read the subsequent issue (#7) it’s obvious that Joss isn’t just tossing this in, he’s going to play with it for a while for when one young lad takes the cure, he wishes he hadn’t. Oh, and the political implications? Well, who would have a vested interest in ridding the world of mutants? All this and the time-stopping return of a former comrade long thought dead under circumstances in which he wishes he was, a sprinkling of smile-inducing dialogue, plus the gorgeous art of John (PLANETARY) Cassady who plays that return to perfection. And if there was a more compelling reason for readers to return for volume two than the last few lines on the final page, well, I couldn’t have found one. Quality superheroics for real, live adults.

And here’s the original review of the second volume…

The Danger Room has been the X-Men’s training ground for years now. It’s where they’ve honed their abilities. Programmed to produce a myriad of virtual environments to fight in, it has seen each new and old member of the team exhibit their skills, their intuition and their prowess. Over and over again, they’ve studied techniques and perfected their team-work. But as they’ve been fighting not just within The Danger Room, but been fighting The Danger Room itself, it has been fighting them and studying their techniques. Now it’s time to fight back.

Plus: Emma Frost – were you ever convinced of her defection from the ranks of Hellfire?

“Sorry, darling. Had to pee.”

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed may be king; but in the land of White Queen, Cyclops is almost certainly a pawn.

SLH

Buy Astonishing X-Men: Joss Whedon Ultimate Collection vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here

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

“I’m too sexy for my cat, too sexy for my cat, poor pussy, poor pussy cat.”

I can scarcely credit that it is exactly twenty years since Right Said Fred espoused their über-sexiness to the world, with a certain greater crested Stephen L. Holland little suspecting at the time that glistening and follicle-free would soon be his own de facto crop of rather restricted choice. Still, quality does stand the test of time… which is why we’re all delighted to see this new collection of arguably the most un-superhero superhero crime comic of all, though if you said GOTHAM CENTRAL or even IDENTITY CRISIS I wouldn’t really argue with you. And, GOTHAM CENTRAL was obviously co-written by Brubaker himself too.

This volume begins to collect Brubaker’s take on DC’s feline femme fatale and I must say that in conjunction with Darwyn Cooke, this particular writer-artist combination is a most felicitous one indeed. The first story, which was previously collected and available in its own right as Selina’s Big Score, isn’t even Catwoman at all really, as Catwoman has fled Gotham, wanted in connection with the murder of a certain Selina Kyle…

Don’t worry if that last sentence makes no sense whatsoever, all is explained in the subsequent stories upon Selina’s – and Catwoman’s – return to Gotham, which neatly fills in the blanks for us, about what precisely happened to spook this particular kitty and also fleshes out further some of the peripheral characters who feature in the Big Score. Meanwhile, though, Selina is running low on cash to fund her agreeably comfortable, if fugitive lifestyle, and when an opportunity to rob from the bad guys and keep it all for herself presents itself to her on a plate, well, it seems like just too good an opportunity to pass up.

What follows is a clever crafted heist caper as Selina first recruits her team, and then they start to plot precisely how they’re going to swipe the dirty cash right from under the mobsters’ noses. It’s just that the cash happens to be on a rather fast-moving train, so it’s going to call for a rather imaginative approach. It’s slickly presented to us scene by scene in an almost cinematic manner and if you’re a fan of Cooke’s beautiful artwork on the PARKER books, you should definitely take a look at this, plus Richard Stark himself would be more than happy with the crooked little tale Cooke’s penned here, I reckon. Inevitably, of course things don’t exactly go to plan, but that’s precisely when it helps to be in possession the full complement of feline lives. Unfortunately the rest of the team aren’t…

The stories set in Gotham work extremely well in fleshing out just how, and more precisely why, Selina found herself needing to take a permanent vacation, from both her lives, in Gotham. But now she’s back, it’s time to settle some old scores, whilst finding that operating on the right side of the law, albeit only just, might actually be the new life she was looking for. And of course, there’s a certain caped someone she needs to explain herself to.

JR

Buy Catwoman vol 1: Trail Of The Catwoman and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Reviews to follow or already up if they’re softcover of hardcovers. Regardless, you can now go straight to these books in the shopping area simply by clicking on their titles! Hurrah!

Goliath h/c (£14-99, D&Q) by Tom Gauld

Sandman vol 8: World’s End (New Ed’n) (£14-99, Vertigo) by Neil Gaiman & Bryan Talbot , John Watkiss, Michael Allred, Michael Zulli, Shea Anton Pensa, Alec Stevens, Gary Amaro

Near Death vol 1 s/c (£7-50, Image) by Jay Faerber & Simone Guglielmini

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes (£8-50, Amulet Books) by Kazu Kibuishi, Raina Telegemeier, Dave Roman, Jason Caffoe, Rad Sechrist, Stuart Livingston, Johane Matte

The Chronicles Of Kull vol 5: Dead Men Of The Deep And Other Stories (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Alan Zelenetz & various

Torso h/c (£18-99, Icon) by Brian Michael Bendis, Marc Andreyko & Brian Michael Bendis

Batman Versus Bane s/c (£9-99, DC) by Chuck Dixon & Graham Nolan

Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Men h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Kieron Gillen & Greg Land

Captain America: Prisoner Of War s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Ed Brubaker, various & Travis Charest, Ed McGuiness, Mike Deodato and many others

Maoh: Juvenile Remix vol 9 (£6-99, Viz) by Kotaro Isaka & Megumi Osuga

Hayate Combat Butler vol 19 (£6-99, Viz) by Kenjiro Hata

Two things:

Comics’ finest landscape artist, CEREBUS’ Gerhard has a new website: www.gerhardart.com

Following the news that I’ve been invited to give show-and-tell workshops at this year’s big school-library shindig in Windsor (Light The Future – 9,000 delegates!), we’re very much hoping to become more involved in the Excelsior Awards for graphic novels suitable for schools. Check out the blog by clicking on “Excelsior Awards”. Yeah, that one will work too!

 – Stephen

One Response to “Reviews February 2012 week four”

  1. PictureBox / Blogs / PBox World / What’s Going On says:

    […] of course, everybody’s talking about Kramer’s 8 – so buy your copy […]

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