Reviews April 2012 week two

For me this is a contender for the best ‘metaphysical’ work Morrison has ever done, simply because he stays on theme – albeit of the hypersigilic variety – and doesn’t go over the top. Well, only just past the event horizon by his standards.

– Jonathan on Flex Mentallo by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely

Rachel Rising vol 1: The Shadow Of Death (£12-99, Abstract Studios) byTerry Moore.

From the creator of Echo and STRANGERS IN PARADISE.

High above a sleepy town, way beyond its verdant pastures lies a wood that is dense with ancient trees. In the early morning light a statuesque woman with long blonde hair, tied back at the top, strolls calmly through its lush, leafy undergrowth to wait patiently on the bank above a deep, dried-up riverbed. Four birds, silhouetted against the sky, take off through the canopy. And then it happens: a solitary leaf lying in the middle of the dirt track spontaneously combusts. The soil starts to crumble. Fingers emerge, a body struggles free of its shallow grave, gasping for breath… and the tall woman watches impassively.

The pacing of the first chapter is masterful, the resurrection through dried chunks of clay so evidently arduous. And then those stricken eyes – the irises bright, the whites blood-red from asphyxiation – as Rachel rises in her short black dress and starts to grasp where she is if not why… When she finally looks up there is no one to be seen. Instead she stumbles painfully up the furrow until the trees finally part and she emerges, exhausted, dirty and limp onto the grassy meadow beyond.

Oh, so many questions! Again, it’s all in the pacing and the relative silence as Rachel makes her way home, showers, looks in the mirror, absorbs what she sees there and the flashbacks begin. Her memory is incomplete, but evidently whatever happened occurred on Tuesday night. It’s now Friday evening.

“You’re not Rachel.”

This was by far my favourite new series of 2011. I can’t recall the last time I read a first issue this self-assured let alone this beautiful. I’m mesmerised. Just look at these haunting pages: http://www.terrymooreart.com/?p=1833.

That’s not Rachel, but the first woman above, a catalyst for death who’s now shadowing Rachel whilst corrupting the innocent, turning love into hatred and the town of Manson into a mass graveyard. Well, it already is – look to the past. Nothing good can come from a town called Manson.

So far this series hasn’t been about Rachel’s death but her life: the current state of her unnatural existence. We know she’s been strangled as well as asphyxiated – not only does she bear the scars but she’s been coughing up rope – but we don’t know by whom. Given recent events the perpetrator might not even remember they did it, let alone have been responsible for their actions; and that opens up a whole new set of awful possibilities.

As always with Terry the cast are predominantly women. There’s a young girl called Zoe orbiting the central narrative very much against her own will, and Rachel’s best friend since childhood, a mechanic and guitarist called Jet. Best of all, though, there’s androgynous Aunt Johnny, a mortician working well into the night and quite used to the company of corpses.

“Johnny, what’s wrong with me?”
“You’re dead, honey. Get the butter for me, will you?”
“Uh…”
“In the fridge. Grab the milk, too.”
“Okay, you just said I’m dead.”
“Yep.”
“… So I’m in heaven?”
“No, you’re in the kitchen, dear. You wanna check the fridge? Butter… milk?”

A pragmatist to the end and seemingly unflappable, even Aunt Johnny is in for some rude awakenings. In fact, it’s the wakenings one worries about most. It’s not just Rachel who’s rising. Killer cliffhanger.

SLH

Buy Rachel Rising vol 1: The Shadow Of Death and read the Page 45 review here

Please God, Find Me A Husband! h/c (14-99, Jonathan Cape) by Simone Lia.

Your prayers have been answered! From the creator of FLUFFY, one of our all-time favourite graphic novels, comes an autobiographical episode in which Simone, recently dumped by email, begins to fret at still being single aged thirty-three, asks God if he can fix it for her to find a husband, then dances with Him to INXS. This is Simone Lia we’re talking about, after all. Quickly she comes to the conclusion that what she really needs is “an adventure with God” which she plans and lays out to Him, in a room down the hall:

“Okay, so I like the idea of hazards and excitement. That sounds great. I was thinking that perhaps we could go to the outback somewhere in Australia. We’ll visit a religious hermit in a remote location. And then I thought it would be good if I have a near-death experience. It would be an interesting near-death experience. Probably involving animals, dangerous ones.”

God’s expression at this point is a picture. He surreptitiously swipes Simone’s best laid plans to inspect the details… and presumably check that He’s in them.

“Then at some point I meet a gorgeous man. We fall in love. No, he falls in love with me. I’m unsure about him but he manages to woo me. Let me write that bit down. At this point we’ll probably be in Sydney. This will give us a chance to go to some trendy parties. Then I suppose I have to go back. I’ll be here and he’ll be there. We won’t be able to see each other – that’s not good. Why is life so complicated? Maybe you can sort something out so that we can be together. A little miracle would be lovely, please.
“Anyway – I’ll leave this with you to mull over. I’ll get googling for hermits.”

“With hindsight,” writes Simone, “I wish that I’d waited to hear what God thought, what His plans were for me. I’d not heard of the expression: If you want to make God laugh, show him your plans.”

Sure enough God has a good old chuckle. And a sigh.

What follows is indeed an adventure with God which eventually lands her in Australia with a friend where she meets a real hermit – and a man! – but I’ve no intention of revealing how that goes down. It begins, however, in a far more contemplative manner at The Society Of Our Lady Of The Trinity community in Wales. Population: four. There she and her friend Sister Mary visit sick parishioners, reflect on the Gospel together and back at the community they meditate on the charity of Christ. Well that’s the idea, but Simone swiftly slips into meditating instead on an email from her publisher questioning a book’s ‘commercial potential’ – and then descends into brooding on her own abject worthlessness. Even during the act of Adoration, kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacraments, Simone is prone to distraction and wonders if the two weeks are working for her. They are working for her, splendidly, but before the gain there comes that aphoristic pain.

“I became aware of internal wars raging. Painful memories. Fear and hurts buried in my heart. Unlikely triggers allowed feelings to surface in unexpected and spectacular fashion.”

Tellingly, it’s a child’s teddy-bear mug inscribed with “I love you” and the break-down is immediate, tearful but ultimately cathartic.

Gradually Lia learns to relax in the tranquility of the retreat and begins to achieve a genuine sense of peace and perspective. That sense of silence is beautifully evoked in the art which opens up into quiet, sparsely populated panels in the same cool blues that pervade the book, adding their own gentle serenity, then warmed with the odd spot of flesh tones. Indeed those scenes in the kitchen and chapel are in marked contrast with the London commuters crossly cramped together and often glaring at each other with extreme irritation or even mild malevolence. Life in the city, eh?

I love everything about this book. Simone has softened then slayed the cynic in me, and I came away enormously impressed and respectful of her own love of God which never prevents her unique brand of fanciful mischief bubbling playfully to the surface. It’s honest, very honest, and I would imagine that regardless of its religious content – and sometimes because of it – a lot of the territory covered here about self-love, self-doubt and even being left on the shelf will be so very familiar to many. Also, the trauma of constantly rowing parents, from a scene in which Simone as an adult revisits her younger self and remembers how it once was:

“I’ve turned into a block of concrete, Jesus. I feel so sad here. I want to cry. I can’t start crying here. There’s too much inside. I’ll hold it in, I don’t want to disturb anyone.”

Very affecting.

So has God found Simone Lia a husband? I’m not telling you, but you can be sure she’ll be asked that forevermore. Even pre-publication it’s started as evidenced by this Twitter exchange between us after I remarked that one particular panel – coloured as it was and set in the morning kitchen – could be called ‘Blue Nun for Breakfast’.

“Ha ha. My builders have just knocked on my door to ask if I’ve found a husband. They were in the kitchen reading the book! The builder was laughing at a picture of the nun falling off her chair, then the chair that HE was sitting on broke. Was that the wrath of God?”

“No,” I replied, “if it had been the WRATH of God, you’d never have had to buy rock salt AGAIN. You would, however, have needed to find a new builder.”

“Ha ha. New builder and a MUCH bigger salt pot! I think probably I gave him too many hob-nobs with his tea this morning.”

She probably did, too.

SLH

Buy Please God, Find Me A Husband! h/c and read the Page 45 review here.

Flex Mentallo, Man Of Muscle Mystery h/c (£16-99, Vertigo) by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely…

“You look lost son. Need any help?”
“I’m looking for a friend. His name was The Fact. He was a crimefighter.”
“What is this place? This used to be the School For Sidekicks until they closed us down.”
“If they closed the school, why are you here, old-timer? I hope you don’t mind my asking, but who exactly are you anyway?”
“Me? I’m the mightiest man in the Universe, son. Got a secret origin too. I saw the old man in the underpass, thought he was ill. People were just passing by but I gave him some money… In return for my kindness, he gave me a crossword puzzle to fill in. Said I should speak aloud the last word I wrote down. He claimed it was the word God said: the word that brought the Universe and consciousness into being. So I tried it. What boy wouldn’t? Didn’t ever see the old man again. Sometimes I think he was my own future self.”
“But why are you here? If you’ve got all those powers you can help me save the world.”
“It’s just people who need saving. The world’s fine as it is.”

Part of the thematic hypersigil trilogy (apparently, according to Grant) along with THE INVISIBLES and THE FILTH, this work was never collected at the time, but I remember picking up the four issues when they came out circa 1996 and enjoying them immensely. Ostensibly it’s the story of Flex Mentallo, Man Of Muscle Mystery and all-round hero of the beach. Those who’ve read DOOM PATROL will be familiar with, and probably fond of, the character already, but here he’s the undoubted star of the show. Or is he? Is he even real in fact? As in what appears to be our real world, a failed pop star Wallace Sage (again, familiar to readers of DOOM PATROL) is in the process of committing suicide by overdosing on alcohol, pills, LSD and ecstasy. Not surprisingly he’s having a trippy time of it as he rambles on to the Samaritans over the phone about his childhood memories of comicbook heroes, including his own comics he used to draw as a kid and a certain leotard-clad strongman. There’s a connection between the two stories and worlds, if you will, which becomes gradually more apparent as the stories progress. For Flex Mentallo, meanwhile, there’s a case to solve, as he investigates where the ultimate superteam, The Legion Of Legions, have disappeared to. Have these creations really abandoned Flex’s world? Or is it just somehow possible that whilst they are of course fictional, they are also somehow real and are going to return and save us all?

The real beauty of this absurdist nonsensical work is it all does make complete perfect sense in the end. I actually remember being profoundly moved by the pay-off when I first read it, probably not least in part due to a certain paradigm shift that had happened inside my own mind just a few months beforehand, and the whole thing certainly hasn’t lost any of its grandeur or impact over time. For me this is a contender for the best ‘metaphysical’ work Morrison has ever done, simply because he stays on theme – albeit of the hypersigilic variety – and doesn’t go over the top. Well, only just past the event horizon by his standards. By sensibly restricting himself to working on a set number of story-telling levels, the overall coherence is sufficiently maintained in a way that unfortunately disappeared at times in THE INVISIBLES. Indeed, I would go so far as to say FLEX MENTALLO is most definitely a work of genius, and should be on everyone’s ‘to read’ list. If you have a friend who says superhero comics are all complete and utter rubbish, this may well be the one book which will prove him right… and change his mind…

Plus, the art is quite simply pure Quitely perfection. Try saying that ten times quickly! He was clearly having an absolute ball bringing to life some of the crazy creations Morrison came up with for this work like Origami The Folding Man, which made me chuckle then, and did so once again this time around. And his rendering of the Charles Atlas pastiche that is Flex instantly evokes the classic adverts from ‘70s DC comics showing how you too could go from a pot-bellied wimp to a dynamite-encrusted bicep-laden Adonis in a mere handful of weeks. If you stopped reading comics and got off your arse for long enough to get down the gym that is…

Finally I’ll leave you where I found you, with the crossword puzzle mentioned above, which I think has to be one of the finest pieces of misdirection ever in comics.

14 Across: A mystic word imparted by God that has the power to transform a small boy into a superhero. SHA_A_

JR

Buy Flex Mentallo, Man Of Muscle Mystery h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Sharknife Stage Second: Double Z (a bargain at £8-99, Oni Press) by Corey Lewis ~

Twice the size and at least five times the action, the sequel to SHARKNIFE: STAGE FIRST delivers in true videogame sequel style. Throwing even more of everything at you, DOUBLE Z expands theArcade universe with origin stories, more characters, and an actual point to the relentless fighting. So kick back and relish in the combo hits.

Ceaser Hallelujah is a cool-headed bus boy at Guangdong Factory, the world-famous five-storey restaurant, which faces constant attack from his rival Ombra Ravenga’s weird monsters. Luckily Ceaser is just one fortune cookie from transforming into Sharknife, his half-ninja half-shark alter ego. With nearly 100 monsters under his belt, Sharknife is due to level-up, but Ombra has designs on the raw power unleashed when Sharknife evolves into his Double Z state.

But how on earth did a half-ninja half-shark come to be? Learn the shocking possible truth as Ceaser’s crush, Chieko, dreams of that fateful day years ago when her father built Guangdong Factory using just his chi. Emerging from the shiny new establishment came a monster eel which tried to eat her Peeps (li’l chicks), and it would have succeeded if Jaga the Shark King hadn’t arisen also with a challenge for the young Ceaser and his buddy Enta Dadragon, the winner of which would become protector of the best restaurant in the world.

This is a world apart from Corey’s first volume (some seven years back, and back in print along side this) which suffered from its tiny size, as the art needed to be printed in a larger format, but Corey’s style has changed considerably since then. He manages to delicately balance a potentially chaotic infusion of action while remaining clean, clear, and infused with video-game logic.

TR

Buy Sharknife Stage Second: Double Z and read the Page 45 review here

Pandemonium (£14-99, Humanoids) by Christophe Bec & Stefano Raffaele…

“Hey, PSST!… My name’s Louis… So you’re sick too?”
“Yes, I caught tuberculosis.”
“Then you’re going to die.”
“You’re a liar! Why do you say that?”
“It’s true! I’m no liar! It’s not me who said it. It was George… He says thousands of people have died here already.”
“And this George who said it, how does he know?”
“You’ll see for yourself. He only speaks to kids, and he says some terrible things… he says that the sanatorium is the antechamber of death.”

They’re a cheery little double act, George and Louis, aren’t they? Just what you need to entertain you if you’re a small girl whose been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Now in 1951, six years after the discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic, your chances of surviving TB should actually be pretty good, except of course if you’re being treated in a remote sanatorium that is steadfastly persisting is using antiquated medical procedures. Which is precisely the unfortunate position Cora finds herself in. Oh dear…

On the face of it, given that her own mother, who has accompanied her to the sanatorium to work as a nurse and pay for her daughter’s treatment, made a successful recovery from TB in that very hospital as a child herself, it appears to bode well for Cora, but it quickly becomes apparent to us that patient mortality at Waverly Hills isn’t necessarily something some of the medical staff are too concerned with. Not as long as they get chance to continue their own experiments, that is, be that electro-convulsive shocks, trepanation or other macabre surgical procedures.

True, genuine horror, with just the teeniest amounts of gore to unsettle and unnerve in the right places, from writer Christophe Sanctum Bec that plays out rather like The Shining as the spookiness and sanity-twisting shenanigans are oh so gradually ratcheted up. Cora’s mother meanwhile is beginning to suspect something is amiss (finally!) but is it going to be too late to save her own daughter? Fine euro-style art from Stefano Raffaele too to produce yet another excellent work on the Humanoids imprint.

JR

Buy Pandemonium and read the Page 45 review here

The Year Of Loving Dangerously (£13-99, NBM) by Ted Rall & & Pablo G. Callejo.

Homeless, penniless and perfectly prepared to have sex for shelter. Maybe a sandwich for the road, if possible.

Autobiography from the renowned satirist and creator of Silk Road To Ruin and TO AFGHANISTAN AND BACK, and a quietly attractive if basic artist who reminded me of a more accomplished Judd Winnick. In fact I think this’ll go down very well with the many of you who’ve enjoyed Pedro And Me. I certainly couldn’t put it down, and if ever you find a large wart appearing overnight, I think you’ll be seeking immediate medical attention.

That’s what happened to Ted: he found one on his chest, the root grew down into his aorta and popped like a cork. Blood all over the place. Illness led to absence which led to being kicked out of college – it was a particularly ruthless college. Fired from his last job because someone else had stolen a bicycle and diverted attention to Rall, he was also up to his eyeballs in student-loan debt. Refusing to take the crap that would have come with falling back on his mother, he found himself the unexpected object of female attention in a diner whilst eating his last dollar’s worth of pizza, and so started down a road leading to a daily game of musical beds, a certain degree of mild deception and a mystifying range of female hair products. Fascinating in terms of human nature and a very different side of New York at ground level. His friend Chris was a right prick, and yes, in danger of dragging Ted down with him.

SLH

Buy The Year Of Loving Dangerously and read the Page 45 review here

The Wolf Man: Graphic Freud (£14-99, SelfMadeHero) by Richard Appignanesi & Slawa Harasymowicz.

“The aim of analysis is modest. To turn neurotic misery into common unhappiness.”

Not something you tell your patient before you begin!

Brave but unfortunately unsuccessful stab at adapting From The History Of An Infantile Neurosis, also known as The Wolf Man, a case study first published by Sigmund Freud in 1918, eight years after he began treating Sergei Pankejeff for what he considered obsessional neurosis stemming from some pretty dark and evidently traumatic encounters in Sergei’s past. And if Freud is to be believed they resulted in some seriously fucked-up, repressed, sadomasochistic sexual desires towards both his mother and his father. Particularly his father. Modern opinion, I’ve read, favours the diagnosis of borderline pathology. I’m no expert but that seems right to me!

The wolves in question were white in the night and sitting on a walnut tree, staring at Sergei in his dreams. Visually, that’s most the impressive part of this adaptation, but I knew we were in trouble by the very third page when Freud’s floating head found itself pasted artificially above Sergei’s country mansion estate like Jack Kirby used to on Marvel Comics covers. On the covers, mind. It returns five pages later – the exact same head. That’s but one symptom; the real malady here is the composition. It’s extraordinary how cramped some of these pages are considering how little is depicted and written on each page, with some panels’ contents cropped quite unnecessarily when a far better balance would have afforded much greater clarity. It is, in short, an ugly, ill-proportioned mess in such heavy graphite you expect it to rub off on your fingers. In all fairness, however, the script itself doesn’t make it easy on the artist. Here Sergei tells Sigmund about this sister Anna’s death:

Sergei: “Anna went to stay at our Aunt Xenia’s estate in the Caucus in the Summer of 1905.”
Anna: “Adieu, Sergei. Don’t forget me.”
Sergei thinks: “Why so sad?”
Sergei: “Some weeks later, we heard that Anna had shot herself.”
Sergei thinks: “This is the result of repressing her femininity.”
Sergei’s Dad: “Your mother is still in Italy. She won’t receive the news in time for the funeral.”
Freud: “You felt no grief.”
Sergei: “What for? Now I was sole heir to my father’s fortune.”

It’s all so forced, so jumbled and I winced once more when the thought bubbles crept in, not just at their very inclusion, but in this instance their baffling contents. Maybe it’s intentionally bleak give the contents of Freud’s findings and the path of Sergei’s own life depicted well past Freud’s first therapy sessions which, parenthetically, don’t seem to have worked as Sergei develops both chronic hypochondria and a catalogue psychosomatic illnesses whilst sponging off Freud (whom he deceives) after his vast fortune’s whipped away in the wake of the Russian Revolution. Something he then blames on Freud.

So don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to have read this. I found the subject matter fascinating with its castration complexes et al, though I am a bit of a sceptic when it comes to stretched connections like these, when Sergei recalls being panicked by a striped yellow butterfly.

“The way a butterfly moves its wings… like a woman opening her legs. And it forms the Roman number V, the hour of my depression.”

Honestly, I just think he was startled. There’s a great deal of peeing and also some pooing, very early sex with his sister, a craving for parental attention and an unhealthy desire towards mutilation. Depression is a very real and terrible illness which should be taken very seriously indeed. But in Sergei’s case, and in Freud’s place, I’d have been inclined to just tell Sergei he was a deeply unpleasant man and have done with him.

SLH

Buy The Wolf Man: Graphic Freud and read the Page 45 review here

Crazy Hair s/c (£5-99, Bloomsbury) by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean.

An exquisite nonsense poem set to pictures by Dave McKean. Well, it’s not really nonsense if you’ve big hair and run out of conditioner: it’s more of a diary. I’m sorry if you’ve an infestation of birds, beasts and relatives snuggled up in your enveloping locks and the BBC has declared an expedition is in order. That’s exactly what happens here.

“Twisting tangling Trails and loops,
Treasure chests And pirate sloops,
These await The ones who dare
Navigate my crazy hair.”

A great little children’s book or indeed a fully fledged art book, for McKean is on top form, sizing and swirling the verse as he sees fit.

SLH

Buy Crazy Hair s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Joe Golem And The Drowning City h/c (£19-50, St. Martin’s Press) by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden.

100 illustrations from Mike Mignola himself, and a beautiful, spot-varnished cover. The same team’s Baltimoresold spectacularly well as a prose novel long before it became the graphic novel BALTIMORE: THE PLAGUE SHIPS.

“Fifty years have passed since earthquakes and a rising sea level leftLower Manhattansubmerged under more than thirty feet of water, so that its residents began to call it the ‘Drowning City’. Among them are fourteen-year-old Molly McHugh and her friend and employer, Felix Orlov. Once upon a time, Orlov the conjuror was a celebrated stage magician, but now he is an old man; a psychic medium, contacting the spirits of the departed for the grieving loved ones left behind. When a séance goes horribly wrong, Felix Orlov is abducted by strange men wearing gas masks and rubber suits, and Molly finds herself on the run. Her flight leads her into the company of Simon Hodge, a Victorian detective, and his stalwart sidekick, Joe Golem, whose own past and true identity is a mystery to him.”

SLH

Buy Joe Golem And The Drowning City h/c and read the Page 45 review here

 

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Here we go, then: reviews already online if their new formats. Otherwise the most interesting will come under the miscroscope next week,while  the rest will remain with their Diamond previews acting in lieu of reviews.

 

League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier s/c (£14-9, Knockabout) by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill.

The Celestial Bibendum (£24-99, Knockabout) by Nicola de Crécy.

Courtney Crumrin vol 1: The Night Things h/c (£14-99, Oni) by Ted Naifeh

BPRD Plague Of Frogs vol 3 h/c (£25-99, Dark Horse) by Mike Mignola & John Arcudi, Guy Davis

Gloaming h/c (£14-99, Pocko) by Keaton Henson

Brody’s Ghost vol 3 (£4-99, Dark Horse) by Mark Crilley

The Curse Of The Masking Tape Mummy: A Collection Of Basic Instructions (£10-99,) by Scott Meyer

Severed h/c (£18-99, Image) by Scott Snyder, Scott Tuft & Attila Futaki

genetiks [I] (£14-99, Archaia) by Richard Marazano & Jean-Michael Ponzio

A Game Of Thrones vol 1 h/c (£14-99, Harper) by George R.R. Martin, Daniel Abraham & Tommy Patterson

Dollhouse: Epitaphs (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Andrew Chambliss, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon & Cliff Richards

Charmed vol 3 (£11-99, Zenescope) by Paul Ruditis & Dean Kotz, Tess Fowler

Batman Incorporated h/c (£22-50, DC) by Grant Morrison & Chris Burnham, Yanick Paquette, Michael Lacombe, Scott Clark, Cameron Stewart, Dave Beaty

Hitman vol 6: For Tomorrow (£22-50, DC) by Garth Ennis & John McCrea

Batman: No Man’s Land vol 2 (New Ed’n) (£22-50, DC) by Dennis J. O’Neil, Greg Rucka, Scott Beatty, Kelly Puckett, Chuck Dixon, John Ostrander & Mike Deodata Jr., Damion Scott, Andy Kuhn, Staz Johnson, Roger Robinson, Scott McDaniel, Dan Jurgens, Jim Balent and more

Punisher Max: Homeless h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Steve Dillon

Essential Avengers vol 8 (£14-99, Marvel) by Jim Shooter, David Michelinie & George Perez, Dave Wenzel, John Byrne and more

Daredevil: Season One hardcover (£18-99, Marvel) byAntony Johnston & Wellinton Alves

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga s/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Chris Claremont & John Byrne

X-Men Legacy: Lost Legions s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Mike Carey & Khoi Pham

Itazura Na Kiss vol 8 (£12-99, DMP) by Kaoru Tada

Magic Knight Rayearth vol 2 (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Clamp

Pandora Hearts vol 9 (£8-99, Yen) by Jun Mochizuki

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