Reviews May 2012 week two

 
“Is it a superhero comic?” I asked, with a hint of suspicion.
“Do you want it to be?” he replied.
“No.”
“Then it isn’t.”

 - Stephen and Andrew Tunney’s first exchange ever – on Girl&Boy

 

The Celestial Bibendum h/c (£24-99, Knockabout) by Nicolas de Crécy.

“Syrupy words, tender chords, 800 decibels and fireworks! The perfect cocktail for political and cultural success!”

Ah, the pursuit of power: power over the puppets, influence over the masses… there’s even a struggle for control of the narrative, you’ll see! And our seal Diego is very much a puppet in that scene, his blubbery mass suspended and swung helplessly over the throng. Everyone and everything will come crashing down in this comedy of the grotesque that careers into crevices where few other creators would ever dare to venture. Hold onto your hats, it’s going to be quite the maniacal performance!

Your narrator is the disembodied, bulbous white head of one Professor Lombax, PHD, benched on a sideboard in a remote, dilapidated country manor after the man came a cropper on account of a dog lost in the middle of an oil-slicked, hairpin bend overlooking a deep ravine. He’s had quite the experience getting there and has far, far further to travel, but he’s determined to tell you a story. Unfortunately the house isn’t abandoned: he’s not entirely alone.

The story he recalls is that of Diego, a naïve seal pup on one centre leg and crutches, disembarking on the quayside of New York-on-the-Seine, “the Capital of all excesses” with all the wide-eyed excitement of a dream come true. No sooner has he done so, though, than a man in black picks him up at the docks and stuffs him back on the next ship departing! Apparently Diego has been chosen – but not everyone wants him around. Swimming once more ashore Diego is picked up again – yes, apparently he’s been chosen (the same words exactly) “to become an important figure in the political and social life of this great capital city”, and swept swiftly off to the Educational Brotherhood who have friends in the City Hall.

“Victory over ignorance!” the academic rabble cries, guffawing with laughter and cramming the creature with knowledge. They make quite a song and dance of it. Politics, social sciences, mathematics, linguistics and art – yes, the seal pup rather takes to the naked female bottom – all these things he’s coached in (the funniest being fencing with crutches), but suddenly it is decided that above all he needs tutoring in charm. “Diego needs to be more popular than smart,” declares the gesticulating balloon that is Professor Lombax. What they need is a Communications Advisor – it’s time for a makeover!

All this Diego endures with bewildered silence – even the second attempt at sabotage – but will he stay schtum forever? Depends what gets into him, I guess. Also, what precisely is Diego being groomed for? What does the armless, legless, floppy old President really want of him? And what’s the opposition like, eh?

That, dear readers, is but a slither of the first thirty of these dense two hundred pages which will, like I said, take you into startlingly unexpected territory. The narrative’s focus flashes all over the place, cutting between past and present and hither and thither, sometimes for no more for a panel.

“Back to Diego!!! Stay on Diego, for God’s sake!!!” demands a horrified Professor Lombax, presumably of de Crécy himself.

It’s masterfully done, particularly the Professor’s spectacularly convoluted fate, and there’s many a main character I’ve not even touched on, but animals seldom fail to steal the show, eh?

Now, if you’re reading this in the shopping area you will already know from the interior art which can be blown up at the click of a button, that this is a monumentally beautiful book with Nicolas de Crécy catching a Mediterranean light to perfection there. And yes, the architecture is gobsmacking. But that’s just one style employed with a variety of line and paintwork where the colours both impressionistic and expressionistic grow as intense as you can imagine, veering from the sort of light employed by Monet (the various Rouen Cathédrales etc.) to Mattotti eye-scorchers (BOB DYLAN REVISITED etc.). The switch from one to the other or even the incorporation of one within the other can happen at any moment. It never jars, it just thrills each and every time.

For me it’s the work of the man’s career that I’m aware of, as confident as it is self-indulgent as it is judicious during each said indulgence. It is surreal and satirical and huge.

As to the title, Bibendum is of course the famous mascot of a certain tyre company better known over here as the Michelin Man. In slang it’s also come to mean someone comically overweight, and I rather think our seal Diego more than qualifies. I’d hazard a guess, given both the proceedings and delivery, that it even tangentially refers to the 1898, mascot-launching poster which declared “Nunc est bibendum” from dear old Horace: “Now is [the time of] drinking”. But you’ll need to wait until the opening of the third act to see exactly who or what the Celestial Bibendum is. Tyres used to be a translucent creamy beige, you know.

SLH

Buy The Celestial Bibendum h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Girl&Boy (signed) (£3-99) by Andrew Tunney.

I caught Andrew Tunney at a comic convention late last year. He had a table in the self-styled Troublemakers Alley next to Adam Cadwell, Marc Ellerby, Lizz Lunney & co., and on it sat a preview to GIRL&BOY. Now, I don’t know if you’re reading this on the blog or on the shopping page where you can see the cover, but it’s really quite striking: a young woman, backlit on white and looking slightly ambivalent, in a loose t-shirt and Robin-style eye mask. Which caused me a certain degree of ambivalence too.

“Is it a superhero comic?” I asked, with a hint of suspicion.
“Do you want it to be?” he replied.
“No.”
“Then it isn’t.”

After an effortlessly sassy rejoinder like that, I knew I was going to be stocking this whether I liked it or not. Guess what? I love it, precisely because Andrew was spot-on. It’s not a superhero comic, but something else entirely; a smart surprise with the perfect punchline told at night with the city’s harsh neon light filtered through Venetian blinds. Ladies, you will high-five Andrew Tunney immediately. Promise.

Printed on quality paper, each of our copies at the time of typing are graciously signed. Feel free to check before buying. You can always type “as long as it’s signed” with any online purchase, and we will always honour the request.

So, here’s my only real hint apart from the high-five:

“My name is girl. And this is my sidekick, Boy.
“Together we fight crime and loneliness…
“Never each other.”

And the panel directly beneath is a belter.

SLH

Buy Girl&Boy (signed) and read the Page 45 review here

Fallen Words (£14-99, D&Q) by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.

And now for something completely different.

Tatsumi has made me laugh before, but his own particular brand of manga – the darker, more socially realistic gekiga – isn’t exactly renowned for its comedy value. This, on the other hand, is a riot: short stories in the centuries-old Japanese performance-based storytelling tradition called rakugo, each with a comedic and often unexpected punchline.

They’re set in the past, many involve Geisha, most have marital relationships at heart, but all of them – each and every one – involve money. Still socially realistic, then.

There’s a great deal of conniving, deception or outright swindling going on. I did like the young page’s night in a brothel curiously empty of women, attempting to placate disgruntled old customers over the absence of the Geisha they’re all waiting for. She’s not stupid. There’s the story of the wife and mistress battling it out beyond the grave and the lesson that some things should not be expected to be forgiven.

My favourite, however, was ‘The God Of Death’ in which a young man accidentally summons the Grim Reaper who turns out to be unexpectedly amiable and accommodating. Struggling financially the young man finds himself offered a brand new career as a doctor: with the aid of the not-so-Grim Reaper’s knowledge about each patient’s preordained life span he is able to tell each patient’s family whether their loved one will live or die. But then the silly man gets a bit desperate (although highly inventive) and tries to cheat Death, and you know that’s one thing you can’t do. Easily the best punchline there, Tatsumi knowing the precise moment at which to depart and leave the reader laughing.

Usagi Yojimbo fans will love the Stan Sakai-style backgrounds particularly ‘The Rooster Crows’ where a man is tricked and subsequently  traumatised by his first visit to a brothel, while ‘New Year Festival’’s spoiled brat is pure Gilbert Hernandez.

There’s also much to learn about ancient Japanese traditions, handily backed up by the occasional annotation. Did you know, for example, that each godfather must be paid three ryo before he will name his godchild? Or that a godfather used to name the godchild at all? I had no idea that lotteries were this old. There were Three Edo Lotteries permitted by the Tokugawa shogunate from 1700. Finally, where would we be without the odd Japanese proverb?

“Look upon the snow on the peaks so you don’t have to feel the chill.”

Look but don’t touch, basically.

SLH

Buy Fallen Words and read the Page 45 review here

A Dinosaur Tale / Tofu + Cats (£2-00) by Lizz Lunney.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” wrote Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

But this neat little 4” x 3” mini-comic can be read both backwards and forwards. Stitch that, Søren!

Yes, it’s the return of arch-existentialist Lizz Lunney in another profound treatise on post-modern solipsism, contemporary geopolitics, and European fiscal mismanagement. On the subject of which, next time you watch Cameron and Clegg retreat through the doors of 10 Downing Street, watch how each tries to get the last patronising, proprietorial pat on the back in. Funny!

Oh wait. No, sorry. This is about dinosaurs ditching their nihilistic ways in favour of a decent knitting pattern. And cats confounded by cubes of semi-sentient tofu which only experience satori after sanitary rejection. They’re fragrant to a vagrant. The end.

Actually… this is quite existentialist. As you were!

SLH

Buy A Dinosaur Tale / Tofu + Cats and read the Page 45 review here

Curse Of The Bogmen / Horseome (£2-00) by Lizz Lunney.

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced,” wrote post-modern, existentialist and relatively Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

Clearly he never experienced extricating oneself from a British telephone company.

This, then, is the precise metaphor Lizz Lunney applies to the BogMen, dreaming of travel but tied to their osmotic roots by a contract with nature and cursed by internet trolls until –

You don’t think I read too much into these things do you? 4” x 3” mini-comic.

Also, horses: I’m totally giddied up.

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” – Søren Kierkegaard.

Oh, do shut up, Søren.

SLH

Buy Curse Of The Bogmen / Horseome and read the Page 45 review here

Black Orchid h/c (£18-99, Vertigo) by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean.

This is a book of impressions: of memories, shadows and echoes.

So many songs evoke a past much missed, misremembered or barely recalled at all.

There is a wreck of man out there called Carl; a drunken, washed up, one-time player full of hot-air and an acrid obsession with the ex-wife who had the audacity to leave him for another, less violent man, and then testify against him. Her name was Susan Linden and he killed her for it. Or he thought he had; he’s in for a bit of a surprise.

For then there was the other Susan. An effective, solitary agent, undercover and on the brink of exposing a criminal organisation and the mastermind behind it. They caught her, they shot her, they set her on fire and then bombed the inferno for good measure. She was the Black Orchid, named after a flower that doesn’t exist, and she is quite, quite dead.

So who is this new Susan of radiant purple, grown in a greenhouse, and cast adrift in a world she’s had no time to comprehend? She has no idea. She doesn’t know who she is, what she is, or what she should do now. The only clues lie in a dead man’s past, in his contemporaries at college: Dr. Jason Woodrue, Pamela Isley and Alec Holland. Her only brief ally is a man in a mask who hides in the shadows of Gotham, and he says:

“Most of the things that “everyone knows” are wrong. The rest are merely unreliable.”

Now, several of those names my sound surprisingly familiar for a Neil Gaiman book. What one forgets is the Vertigo line originally had far stronger ties to the DC universe and its superhero community; what one may also have forgotten is that this was created long before the Vertigo line even existed. It’s a far more ethereal read than most DC Universe books – it’s far more of a child of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing – but a DC Universe book it most certainly is. It’s just… going to do things differently.

“I’ve seen, y’know, the movies, James Bond, all that. I’ve read the comics. So you know what I’m not going to do? I’m not going to lock up in the basement before interrogating you. I’m not going to set up some kind of complicated laser beam death-trap, then leave you alone to escape. That stuff is so dumb. But you know what I am going to do? I’m going to kill you. Now.”

That was within the first six pages, and it was quite the arresting development.

Returning to the legacy of Alan Moore, the early segues and black humour owe much to THE KILLING JOKE. “You’re fired” was inspired. But it quickly establishes its own tone which, as I say, is far more ethereal, far more impressionistic, as our newly bloomed Orchid struggles with the genetically implanted memories she shares with her dead sister, and reacts to the world empathically. Here, for example, is Arkham.

“This is the bedlam. The jungle of despair. I watch their expressions: milky eyes peering from frozen faces, mouths unsmiling wounds in ruined flesh. I spy a skull-faced man who lies unsleeping; his nightmares pool and puddle on the floor around him. In a glass cell a blazing x-ray sits and smoulders and weeps. His tears burn as they fall… then his out on the pocked glass floor.”

Another marked departure from the superhero genre is that the only hunting being done apart from the peripheral predators – domestic and child abuse both play a part here – is by the antagonists and the only one out for revenge is the bitter ex-husband and resentful ex-employee. Some people really don’t handle rejection well. In other authors’ hands it would be the Black Orchid out to avenge her predecessors’ murders – particularly given their shared memories – but no, that is the instinct of the animal. A plant has quite different priorities.

It’s a beautiful book, rich in green and purples, by a Dave McKean in his photorealistic phase, much inspired at the time by Bill Sienkiewicz. The computer has yet to be embraced and the only element of photographic collage I registered was the psychotic grin. Instead it employs pencils – sometimes coloured – and paint, some chalk and maybe, I think, oil pastels. There’s a terrific sense of light. It’s also thoroughly accessible to new readers, McKean splitting the page in half horizontally then working with three or four columns across. The occasional break into tumbling panels and the larger compositions in the Amazon jungle are all the more spectacular for it.

This new deluxe edition also boasts those rarest of extras: handwritten early jottings from Neil Gaiman’s notebook, Karen Berger’s first, detailed reactions to Neil’s draft proposal, Neil’s own proposal and promotional marketing text,  preliminary notes and dialogue sketches for the second of the three original issues, its page-by-page, one-line breakdowns and an excerpt from its draft script.

“Winter is coming. The leaves are beginning to fall.”

SLH

Buy Black Orchid h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Justice League vol 1: Origin h/c (£18-99, DC) by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee.

Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonderwoman, Green Lantern, Flash and Cyborg. We know the line-up matters to you. Hold on – Cyborg?!

“Open your eyes, son! Look at the world we live in today! We’re witnessing the birth of a new race of people. Super-humans. Beings who can fly, tear through building and outrun cars. They will make what you can “do” obsolete! Do you understand? Catching footballs and scoring touchdowns is a joke!”
“…”
“…”
“You’re never going to come to one of my games, are you?”
“No.”

World’s Worst Dad! World’s worst pep talk too.

First off, I’d like to publicly apologise for writing this off in my review of the first issue. Geoff Johns, I’m sorry. The flagship title in the DC New 52 relaunch develops beautifully once the other Justice League members arrive, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve found so much of it eminently quotable. It’s funny! Take sword-swishing Wonder Woman, for example, with her one-track mind for smiting things and preferably through the eye. She’s actually quite sweet when encountering a girl so star-struck that she drops her ice cream.

“You’re Wonder Woman!”
“My name is Diana.”
“My name’s Raquel.”
“Thank you for speaking with me, Raquel. You’re not afraid of me?”
“No really.”
“What are you eating?”
“Oops. Ice cream.”
“Ice cream?”
“Haven’t you ever had ice cream?”
“No.”
“It’s greatest food in the world if you ask me.”
“Mm. [To street vendor, pointing with her sword] May I try some ice cream? And another for my friend.”
“Yeah… Yeah, sure. Just don’t, y’know, take my arm with it, okay? Heh… Oh man.”
“Hm. Ice cream is wonderful. You should be very proud of this achievement!”
“Um… thanks.”

What you have to remember is the key word “relaunch”. The DC Universe for most but not all of these titles has started again from scratch. Wonder Woman is unused to this world and the world is unused to super-humans: it’s terrified of them. Also, none of these people have ever met except the Green Lantern and Flash. Caught on the hop under assault from Darkseid, they’re still sizing each other up and don’t necessarily all like each other.

“You sound like a cop.”
“I am. I work in the crime lab.”
“Barry, you’re exposing your identity!”
“And you just called me “Barry”, genius.”

Green Lantern in particular is far from a team player. So is Batman but Batman is a tactician, a strategist, and is quick to grasp their current condition which is critical. Darkseid is virtually indestructible and his legions are spiriting the innocent away to defile them in his own image. So it’s the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few, or the one etc.

“Get out of your own way. Focus on what’s important here: everyone else. So far it’s been batter up, but we need to stop playing baseball and start playing football. We need to be a team.”

They need to think up metaphors!

Jim Lee is an epic artist as everyone who loves BATMAN: HUSH will know. Here Darkseid’s realm is a post-industrial inferno, a Sheffield Steel Works from Hell which stretches on as far as the scorched eye can see. Personally I prefer his pencils uninked as demonstrated in BATMAN: HUSH UNWRAPPED, and blissfully his pencils for each cover are reproduced for all to swoon over and study. However, one big criticism I’ve made many a time before: it is never, ever a good idea to demand that the reader turns her or his book 90% to read a single spread vertically. It obliterates one’s immersion. Pure self-indulgence on the artist’s part. A more disciplined approach is to find another way. There is always another way.

SLH

Buy Justice League vol 1: Origin h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Animal Man vol 1 (£10-99, DC) by Jeff Lemire & Travel Foreman.

Bad dreams in the night in black, red and white. Now that’s what I call capillary action!

Part of the DC New 52 relaunch, this isn’t a superhero book. Anyone worth their salt is going to make a Buddy Baker book all about family, and ESSEX COUNTY’s Jeff Lemire has written about family extensively there and even to a certain extent in SWEET TOOTH. Sure enough Buddy’s wife, son and especially his daughter Maxine are centre-stage as Maxine, forbidden a living, breathing pet, decides to exhume those buried round the neighbourhood and bring them back to some semblance of life. At the same time Buddy’s own powers go on the fritz, his family come under attack and it’s all very creepy. What’s wrong with the Red?

Grant Morrison’s own three-volume run on ANIMAL MAN is an absolutely essential read, especially if you’re on board for this.

SLH

Buy Animal Man vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here

Avengers: Kree/Skrull War h/c (£25-99, Marvel) by Roy Thomas & Neal Adams with John Buscema, Sal Buscema.

An absolute classic and oh, my days, but the extras! Twelve pages of swoonaway Neal Adams pencils taken from AVENGERS #93 (‘Journey To The Centre Of The Android’ etc.) and five additional pages of uncoloured excellence toned and inked by Tom Palmer, the last of which originally depicted Rick Jones with six fingers! Roy Thomas’ note to production read, “Rick has six fingers here; please take off, as carefully as possible, whichever one you feel will be missed the least.” Alas, this is the post-production page! There’s also a gallery of covers used for previous reprints formats though I’m delighted to see they have opted this time to merely recolour the majestic cover to #92.

Not exactly recoloured as colour-corrected (eliminating a couple of misplaced yellows and filling in the formerly dotted blues and flesh tones), this new h/c printing kicks off with four issues of enormously sexist silliness drawn by Sal with The Avengers reduced to The Vision, The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. And yes, this is where that oddest of Marvel relationships kicks off with The Vision discovering that not only can an android cry, but he can also love and is quite prepared to beat a bastard to death because of it. That scene, which I probably wasn’t alone in being stunned by at the time, comes later during the Neal Adams climax.

Clint Barton has swapped his bow and arrow as Hawkeye for Hank Pym’s growth serum as bare-skinned muscle-and-metal Goliath, whilst Captain America, Thor and Iron Man return to find they’ve managed to disband The Avengers. How could they?! They didn’t. Nor was it a group of three cows that shot down the Vision. Well, not exactly. We’re going waaay back to earliest days of the FANTASTIC FOUR.

Mar-Vell (Captain), Rick Jones, Ant-Man, The Inhumans and Carol Danvers are also caught up in the war raging above and so below, whilst the public are incited into anti-alien lynch mobs by political opportunism, scare-mongering and imprisonment-without-trial in a McCarthy-esque witch-hunt that will be as all too horribly familiar to modern Americans as it would have been at the time to those who’d witnessed or even endured the U.S. internment camps for the resident Japanese during World War II.

By which point Neal Adams has taken over the art, and it becomes pure, purple-prose, neo-classical gold! With the Vision in a coma after his bovine beating, Ant-Man is called on to shrink even further than ever in order to navigate what passes for the android’s blood stream only to be assaulted as an alien entity by anti-bodies. Superbly visualised by Adams, but that’s just the beginning: the sheer scale of Goliath bashing on a spaceship; Triton emerging from the Hudson, his gloved left hand the very model of foreshortening; and the ever-impassive Vision losing his cool for the first and worst time ever in search of his beloved Wanda:

“Vision – stop! Your android strength — ! You’ll kill him! You don’t know what you’re doing!”
“Another correction, Iron Man: my brain is a miniaturised, high-speed computer. I always know precisely what I am doing. I – AM – KILLING – HIM!

SLH

Buy Avengers: Kree/Skrull War h/c and read the Page 45 review here

New edition, old review

City Of Glass new edition (£10-99, Picador) by Paul Auster, Paul Karasik & David Mazzucchelli.

As a short prose story, this is one of the most frightening things I’ve read; as a piece of comicbook fiction under ASTERIOS POLYP’s Mazzucchelli, it’s one of the cleverest. Amongst their shared subjects are identity and fabrication. The horror lies in the blurring then loss of former through the use of the latter, for to lose your sense of identity – of who you are, and how you relate to others – is to lose sight of reality itself, and thereby lies insanity.

You might want to take these sentences slowly!

Daniel Quinn is a writer. He employs words to create fiction. One of the fictions he has created is William Wilson, the supposed author of his books. Moreover, “Quinn had long ago stopped thinking of himself as real. If he lived now in the world at all, it was through the imaginary person of Max Work, the private-eye narrator of William Wilson’s novels.” So even before the first phone call, his relationship to the real world in which he has no friends is several times removed, and when he does venture out, it is to walk through the New York labyrinth: “Each time he took a walk, he felt he was leaving himself behind…”

That single page is a perfect example of Mazzucchelli’s craft, visually tying the main themes together as the bricks of the New York tenements dissolve into a maze from which the reader pulls back to see it first perhaps as an overhead shot of the brain, then as a finger print left on the inside of his window. The mapping of New Yorkwill be revisited later on as Quinn, having assumed the role of detective, tracks the movements round the city of a crazy old man called Peter Stillman who drove his son insane in pursuit of the language of God. This he tried through isolation, by locking the boy up in the dark for thirteen years and beating the real words out of him, supposedly in order to prove the theories of Henry Dark… whom Stillman Sr. had invented.

Quinn first hears of this when the telephone rings and a voice floats through the receiver asking for Paul Auster (yes, the same name as the man who wrote the original prose!) of the “Auster Detective Agency”. At first he says there is no Paul Auster there, but when the phone rings again (on the anniversary of the night he was conceived – italics mine), the Max Work P.I. in him cannot resist. He pretends to be Paul Auster, and agrees to meet Stillman’s son, also called Peter. What he finds is a young man who can barely function any longer.

“I am Peter Stillman. I say this of my own free will. That is not my real name. No.
“Of course, my mind is not all it should be, no. But nothing can be done about that.
“This is called speaking. The words come out for a moment and die. Strange, is it not? I myself have no opinion…
“I am Peter Stillman. That is not my real name. Thank you.
“My real name is Mr. Sad. What is your name, Mr. Auster? Perhaps you are the real Mr. Sad and I am no one.”

Sometimes Peter refers to himself in the first person singular, sometimes as “Peter”. To accentuate this, rather than employ a regularly positioned word balloon, Mazzucchelli deliberately isolates the words from the speaker. At first they flow out of his throat (which looks stranger than you might imagine), then they’re assigned to Charon crossing the Styx, a caveman painting, a city drain, a plug hole, a well, and so on until, behind the bars of a locked jail, they drift from the open mouth of a broken puppet of a boy, abandoned at the bottom of a dark pit.

That’s the level of lateral thinking Mazzucchelli’s put into the work, when the image must be as telling as the phrase. The book’s full of panels with similarly symbolic imagery and expressionistic storytelling. As Quinn – orWilsonor Work or Auster – awaits Stillman Sr. at the station and the train “CLACK BEDRACK LACK YAYAYA”s past him, he’s split into multiple Quinns, each with a different facade. Later he will go on to call himself both Peter Stillman and Henry Dark, and if you think this work has layers on top of layers already, Quinn eventually resorts to tracking down the Paul Auster he’s been impersonating, only to discover that Paul Auster isn’t the detective he was hoping for, but a writer who’s currently embarked on an essay about Don Quixote, an attack on make-believe which Cervantes pretended he never wrote but merely translated.

Now, if you’re already fully frazzled, I would caution you against reading the entire New York Trilogy back to back because it seriously did my own head in, but I can assure you that as a single graphic novel this is both more lucid than this review might suggest, and a great deal more inventive than almost any other translation from one medium to another. Mazzucchelli’s done far more than merely illustrate the words: he’s interpreted them, and the ideas behind them, distilling the work without at any point diluting it, then charging it with associated images that go straight to the brain.

SLH

City Of Glass

 

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Reviews already online if they’re new formats of previous books like AVENGERS: CHILDEN’S CRUSADE. Otherwise the most interesting will come under the microscope next week, while the rest will remain with their Diamond previews acting in lieu of reviews. “In lieu of”. Get me!

 

Mastering Comics (£25-99, FirstSecond) by Jessica Abel, Matt Madden

Megalex h/c (£22-50, Humanoids) by Alexandro Jodorowsky & Fred Beltran

Halo: Fall Of Reach: Covenant s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Brian Reed & Felix Ruiz

Sandman vol 9: The Kindly Ones (New Ed’n) (£14-99, Vertigo) by Neil Gaiman & Marc Hempel, Neil Gaiman, Frank McConnell, Frank McConnell

The Savage Sword Of Conan vol 11 (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Michael Fleischer, Don Kraar, Larry Yakata, Craig Anderson & Dave Simons, William Johnson, Tony Salmons, Val Mayerik, Sal Buscema, Ernie Chan, Rudy Nebres, Gary Kwapisz, Pablo Marcos, William Johnson, Rey Garcia, Andy Kubert, Henri Bismuth, Roy Richardson, Rod Whigham

Ozma Of Oz s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower & Skottie Young

Superman: Grounded vol 1 s/c (£13-50, DC) by J. Michael Straczynski, G.Willow Wilson & Eddy Barrows, Leandro Oliveira, Wellington Dias, Amilcar Pinna, J.P. Mayer, Walden Wong, Eber Ferreira

Batman vol 1: The Court Of Owls h/c (£18-99, DC) by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion

Brightest Day vol 2 s/c (£14-99, DC) by Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Joe Prado

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade s/c (UK Ed’n) (£16-99, Marvel) by Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung, Alan David, Oliver Coipel

Ultimate Comics: X-Men vol 1 s/c (UK Ed’n) (£12-99, Marvel) by Nick Spencer & PacoMedina, Carlo Barberi

Spider-Man: Season One h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Cullen Bunn & Neil Edwards

CaptainAmericavol 2 h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Ed Brubaker & Alan Davis

Avengers vol 3 h/c (£22-50, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Daniel Acuna, Renato Guedes, Brandon Peterson

Silver Surfer: Parable h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Stan Lee & Moebius, Keith Pollard

Blood Blockade Battlefront vol 2 (£8-50, Dark Horse) by Yasuhiro Nightow

Yasuhiro Nightow (£6-99, Viz) by Eiichiro Oda

Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll vol 3 (£5-99, Viz) by Yumi Tsukirino & Chisato Seki

Naruto vol 56 (£6-99, Viz) by Masashi Kishimoto

Psyren vol 4 (£6-99, Viz) by Toshiaki Iwashiro

FLCL: The Complete Omnibus (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Gainax & Hajime Ueda

InuYasha vol 11 VIZBIG Edition (£14-99, Viz) by Rumiko Takahashi

Nonnonba (£19-99, D&Q) by Shigeru Mizuki

Good Morning (£9-99, June) by Ritsu Natsumizu

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