Reviews September 2013 week one

“Deliciously slick and supernaturally hip.”  Operation Sex Trip

–  My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult on Young Avengers vol 1. Disclaimer: they may have been singing about something else – it was a little while ago.

The Children Of Palomar h/c (£16-99, Fantagraphics) by Gilbert Hernandez.

Mysterious, beautiful and haunting, these four interconnected stories, separated by time, drift in and around the rural town of Palomar, gradually revealing their secrets.

This isn’t LOVE AND ROCKETS material – although the characters will be familiar: Luba, Pipo, Chelo, Fritz et al – but reprints the NEW TALES OF OLD PALOMAR stories originally published in Fantagraphics’ luxurious Ignatz format. The paper stock remains a softening cream while each chapter break is coloured in olive green and the richest of rusts.

Between the ancient, monolithic, Woodring-like statues that surround the township of Palomar, two feral, food-thieving children who run like the wind are tracked by the equally fleet-of-foot Pipo down to the beach. There they huddle, cowering in a cave. Pipo finds a letter inside. Meanwhile, some of the men prepare to blow up a boulder that’s restricting a flow of pure water, in the hope that it can be bottled and sold or at least serve the community. Earth, wind, fire and water: Gilbert’s really in his elements there.

Flash back to when the adults were children and a seemingly endless, yawning chasm separates Palomar from a wilderness without. There some of the boys plays dare with Pipo’s future husband stuck up a tree. Lightning strikes. The tree trunk bridging the gap is incinerated. Some of the boys are abducted by a couple in bio-hazard suits. Each learns how they will die.

Tonantzin and Diana, the two feral orphans, have grown up now. Tonantzin spies an eyeless, dark-skinned apparition, a baby crying out for its Mama whom no one else can see, only hear like the breeze through a tree. What is so special about Tonantzin? And will she embrace her role as Chelo has, or fight it?

Moving on further still, town Sheriff Chelo is determined to learn what the beings in bio-suits really want.

I could write a dissertation on almost every Hernandez book and the brothers’ craftsmanship but try to discipline myself to eulogising about just a couple of the elements, for this in the internet and column inches kill.

Here it’s the graceful way the community’s connections are made clear; and it is an interdependent community on which the ravages of Thatcherism were never visited. Everyone has their role, providing for each other in their own way, even if initially it looks as if that role is simply to stand there fizzing with confrontational, ever-inquisitive energy (Carmen) or clasp each other romantically in an almost off-camera hug like Guero and Arturo. (Funny how Gilbert can make the foreground seem “almost off-camera”!)

Also on evidence, this time as always, is Gilbert’s evocation of age. JULIO’S DAY was a masterful graphic novel that swept through generations. Here it’s like the most immaculate, succinct short-hand: Luba a little demented, the lines on Chelo’s face, the beaming boys with their big mouths taunting a tree-stuck Gato.

Time was we would wait a whole year for new Los Bros Hernandez material, but including LOVE & ROCKETS: NEW STORIES # 5 this makes four books so far from Gilbert alone with a fifth, MARIA M, yet to come.


Buy The Children Of Palomar h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Strangers In Paradise Omnibus Box Set Softcover Slipcase Edition (£75-00, Abstract Studios) by Terry Moore.

There is no comic I am fonder of than STRANGERS IN PARADISE.

I may have declared THE NAO OF BROWN  by Glyn Dillon to be the finest work of graphic novel fiction, and I have pronounced that the best body of comics anywhere in the world to date is the autobiographical ALEC: THE YEARS HAVE PANTS by Eddie Campbell.

But there is no comic I am fonder of than STRANGERS IN PARADISE. It means the world to me, and I know the same goes for our Dominique.

We have history, you see. We have a lot of history. We also have a lot of love, but nobody I know has as much love for his fellow human being as its creator Terry Moore, and it shines from this ultimate collection as radiant as any sun in the heavens.

All 2128 pages of this epic, heart-warming, heart-cleaving story are reprinted here in these two slipcased softcovers restored as nature intended them without several slices of self-censorship. Oh yes, even if you have the original issues, you still don’t have the full story.

Not only that but, at Page 45 at least, all of our copies come with its retailer print signed by Terry himself. Plus, if you order from Page 45 and pay by the end of September 2013, you will be entered into the free prize draw to win the original, signed art to that print. Let me repeat: the original signed art to that print! We have it in our custody right now, and it is exquisite.

All the details you need including unbeatable UK and European shipping rates and links to its component parts’ reviews:

In summary: David is in love with Katchoo, who is in love with Francine, who thinks she is in love with serial philanderer Freddie Femur. Unfortunately David is not who he seems, Katchoo is not who you know, and poor Francine is caught in the middle.

The comedy is all the funnier because it is juxtaposed against gut-wrenching tragedy; and the tragedy is worse because you will never see it coming.

For far, far more, please see my review of STRANGERS IN PARADISE VOL 1. As to the Page 45 history, all will become clearer if you read my review of SiP 2.

From the creator of RACHEL RISING and ECHO.

God bless you, Terry Moore.


Buy Strangers In Paradise Omnibus Box Set Softcover Slipcase Edition and read the Page 45 review here

Fairy Tale Comics h/c (£14-99, First Second) by Craig Thompson, Luke Pearson, Vanessa Davis, Jillian Tamaki, David Mazzucchelli, Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Raina Telgemeier, Karl Kerschl, Joseph Lambert, more.

That is some serious talent in one book and, like most of our best children’s books, I suspect with this will overwhelmingly be bought by adults for adults.

There are several stories I’d never encountered in any form, but even those you may be familiar with have been reinterpreted with mischief and wit; even more so than with NURSERY RHYME COMICS where at least the rhyme had to be adhered to.

Vanessa Davis, for example, has totally gone to town with ‘Puss In Boots’, taking laugh-out-loud liberties and throwing in hilarious anachronisms while pouring her all into the most exuberant and thrillingly coloured cartooning in the entire album. She has some stiff competition!

Craig Thompson (HABIBI, BLANKETS) adds a dash of eloquence to ‘Azzolino’s Story Without End’ but mostly I just giggled at the sheep. Joseph Lambert’s ‘Rabbit Will Not Help’, based on a ‘Bre’r Rabbit’ story, is not the Tar Baby tale I know but who cares? His art positively bounces across the page! David Mazzucchelli’s style you won’t even recognise from ASTERIOS POLYP or CITY OF GLASS but then he’s one of those comparatively rare visual chameleons like Stuart Immonen and Bryan Talbot who adapts each time to suit the substance.

Unmistakeable, however, is Luke Pearson’s contribution. Far closer in style to EVERYTHING WE MISS than his Young Adult albums and comics (HILDAFOLK, British Comics Award-winning HILDA  AND THE MIDNIGHT GIANT ,and HILDA AND THE BIRD PARADE), ‘The Boy Who Drew Cats’ is a wit-riddled wonder. It’s based on a Japanese tale as told by Lafcadio Hearn (obscure!) and tells of a giant goblin rat which invades a temple, sending the poor priests scurrying and polishing off the greatest warriors in the land – in much the same manner that you polish off everything on your plate, I’m afraid! The temple is boarded up, imprisoning the ravenous rodent in its lair.

Meanwhile a farmer proudly boasts that his boys are hard-working, and indeed they are; just not necessarily at farming. His youngest, for example, likes to draw cats. He’s very good at it: lots and lots of cats marked in the soil with a stick. Understanding that his son has a different calling, the farmer introduces him to a priest in the hope he’ll take him on as an apprentice.

“Do you vow to dedicate the rest of your life to traversing the road to enlightenment?”
“I like to draw cats.”

And draw cats he does, everywhere he goes and on everything he sees – even some sacred texts! He likes, quite clearly, drawing cats. Luke paces the story beautifully, eventually interweaving it with the giant, squatting rat, while building its refrain to the most delightful punchline imaginable.

Prediction: there will be a lot of cats drawn in your household by young ones.


Buy Fairy Tale Comics h/c and read the Page 45 review here

The End Of The Fucking World s/c (£14-99, Fantagraphics) by Charles Forsma.

“When I was 13 and a half, I found a cat in the woods. I smashed its body with a stone.”

It’s a very big stone.

“After that I killed more animals. I remember them all.”

There are a great many animals.

“At 15, I stuck my hand into the garbage disposal.”

It’s on. Imagine what a boy like that will do when he hits his later teens.

In Alyssa, equally lank of hair, James finds a kindred, only slightly more sensible soul. They have little empathy for anyone other than themselves, and they have to force themselves to feel that. James steals his Dad’s car, start squatting in a stranger’s house before… events… force them to move on. At one point their hitchhiking lands them in a car whose driver asks James to sit in the front. Then he asks James if he can put his hand on his lap. Then he slides his hand into James’ pants. James doesn’t stop him.

“I guess I thought I might feel something. Something other than nothing.”

He doesn’t.

It’s a startling book, as succinct as you like and more detached than you can imagine, told in eight-page sequences that were originally self-published as mini-comics. It’s pocket-sized and black and white, told with a thin, often fragile line. It’s as cold and it’s empty, just like its protagonists. It will prey on your mind.

“It’s not my fault, is it? What could I have done?”


Buy The End Of The Fucking World s/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Outliers #1 (£4-25) by Erik Johnson…

“Alright… this baby needs to go to the shop. There is no way I’m driving today. Let’s get these kids on other buses.”
“Jespers, get on 541, with Bob. He drives right by your house.”
“Wha..?! I’m not getting on that bus!!!”
“Follow me…”


“Look at Jespers riding the retard bus!!!”
“Who’s your bus-buddy? Short-bus Tsu?”
“I will clock you, Denver… Just get over here!!!”
“Get on the bus, Jespers, it’s starting to rain.”
“Short-bus Tsu? HRRMPH… I can’t believe you put me on a bus with this retard.”

Cue a fight between Jespers, who is obviously cerebrally challenged in that special school-bully way, and the virtually mute Tsu. The bus driver loses control of the boys, and consequently the bus, in the rain, which spells imminent disaster as it starts to slide towards the guiderail. And that is where it all goes totally Twilight Zone with the appearance of a huge shaggy Sasquatch-like creature that stops the bus from careening off the road. It seems like Tsu is able to communicate with the beast, but the weirdness doesn’t stop there, as a mysterious scientist, accompanied by some strange colleague of his own witnesses the incident and decides to stop by Tsu’s house for a not-so-friendly chat. By the end of this issue I still have absolutely no idea who or what the Outliers are, but I want to find out!

And wow, what an artistic talent Erik is. His artwork reminded me of R. Kikuo Johnson’s now sadly out of print NIGHT FISHER (now there is someone who needs to do more comics). Beautifully scratchy penmanship, which the longer you stare at a panel, the more you realise just how much detail there is. Insane amounts. It gives the art a really dense feel, really quite perfectly claustrophobic in the section in the woods. The gentle over-wash of light green and then blue only serves to add to the eeriness. This work was originally funded through Kickstarter, which just goes to proves if you’ve got the will, and talent, you will find a way.


Buy The Outliers #1 and read the Page 45 review here

League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Omnibus (vols 1 & 2) s/c (£22-50, DC) by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill.

First two collections in a single collection. Start your collection now!

A roguish tale of derring-do using a collage of characters and geographical fancies torn from the pages of Victorian fiction to form an uproarious satire on both the prose itself and the imperialist, patriarchal society that spawned it. The whole thing has its tongue so firmly planted in its metaphorical cheek that you can almost hear Uncle Alan chortling. Captain Nemo, Mina Murray, Alan Quartermain, Mr. Hyde, and Hawley Griffin (the Invisible Man) are thrust into a state of national emergency under the command of the mysterious ‘M’ whom the League presumes stands for Mycroft Holmes. It doesn’t.

The backgrounds by O’Neill are as entertaining as the action itself, his composite colonies reflecting not only the overseas obsessions of both Victorian authors and readers, but also their relatively recent predilection for science fiction; whence the magnificent Albion Reach, flying airships and Nemo’s Nautilus. His bawdy, Hogarthian street scenes embellish the main attraction, whilst his panoramas contrast urban squalor with industrial science fiction.

In the second book: Mars attacks! Hawley Griffin is nowhere to be seen! And Mr. Hyde knows why… Indeed the best realised character there is Mr. Hyde. He is the essence of animal distilled from Dr. Jekyll, and yet Moore imbues him with a certain sense of honour:

“Why are you ‘ere, anyway? You don’t strike me as the museum sort.”
“Huhuh. You’re wrong. Why, I’m obsessed with the past. I simply can’t let things go. Do you know what I mean?”

He will.

Includes scenes of invisible sodomy and Rupert The Bear – though thankfully not in the same panels.

Extras: “How To Make Nemo’s Nautilus” using one sheet of paper and a quick lesson in origami (the sixth and final reconfiguration is hilarious in its leap); a Cautionary Tale; a colouring page, board game (Square 84: “Taduki Break. Miss a turn.” Square 19: “McTeague the dentist seems distracted. Lose 1 turn and half your lower jaw.”), a naughty interactive postcard, Basil Hallward’s Painting-by-Numbers: Dorian Gray, and Allan Quartermain’s impossible Hunt The Taduki maze.



Buy League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Omnibus (vols 1 & 2) s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Hellblazer vol 6: Bloodlines (£14-99, DC) by Garth Ennis, John Smith & Steve Dillon, Will Simpson, Sean Phillips, David Lloyd.

Whoa, these massive, mortuary slabs are now such value for money: 400 pages including a massive amount of material never previously reprinted! Take John Smith & Sean Phillips’ single issue set in the seeming safety of a late-night laundromat, in which Constantine casually concedes to have had the occasional boyfriend; or the two-parter pencilled by Steve Dillon in which corporate corpse-snatchers go ballistic on them before cottoning on to the fact that the calibre of a cadaver is as nothing to living tissue. Shame John and Chas offer themselves up as upgrades.

There really was nothing like HELLBLAZER when it first emerged as a spin-off from Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING. Not in comics, not even on the television, really. It was like Red-Wedge Billy Bragg writing Doctor Who for punks, vegans and chain-smoking drunkards, plus Stephen King and Clive Barker readers. Vehemently anti-Thatcher during the years when, as Jamie Delano wrote, “The country – starving – ate out its own heart”, it was a rallying cry against the social ramifications of political callousness and thuggery, and against the mass-media’s manipulation of the truth. It felt like there was a war on and this was one of our weapons, albeit a plank of plywood with a rusty nail against a squadron of intransigent, armoured tanks. It starred John Constantine, chain-smoking, mack-draped, master manipulator, and dealt with the horrors of the occult against a backdrop of the horrors of real life, painfully juxtaposed here by a time when he was happy.

“He could have stayed there forever and perhaps he should have, spurning the grey land across the Irish Sea for nights of laugher and life itself that became morning before you could draw breath. The whisky did flow like the wine, as the old song goes. Sadly for Constantine, the time went just as fast.”

So when was the last time HELLBLAZER came even close to bringing a tear to your eye? With Garth Ennis it was all about friendship, love and loss, whether it was his old Irish friend Kit, the woman who could match him pint for pint, suddenly back in his life again as a take-no-nonsense lover, rendering him as daunted as a schoolboy with a crush… or his acts of calculated kindness towards the succubus who’d spurned Hell for her love of an angel and arrives on John’s doorstep, both on the run from Heaven and Hell, they believe, and she very pregnant indeed.

The tragedy of that was the inevitability of it all: Chantinelle’s demonic role and very nature was to tempt, and tempting the purest was her ultimate goal; angel Tali duly fell in lust, but then turned her lust into love. They both did exactly what they were ordained to do, and it should have been something beautiful. Well, it was. But some parties value conflict far more than confluence…

That one will make your stomach churn, as will the awful fate of the kindly Laura, landlady of the Northampton Arms, who burns to death in her very own pub.

The socio-politics are never far behind, here in the guise of a Royal on the rampage, possessed by a demon with prior, the establishment rushing round to cover his tracks; the faltering fortunes of The Lord Of The Dance; and John’s manipulative power-play with the Devil ignited during DANGEROUS HABITS. The King of the Vampires also sets out his stall on Hampstead Heath here for the very first time, so if you’re wondering what took DC so long to collect together all this material key to understanding the whole of Garth Ennis’ run, you are not alone.

Here’s John’s final, passionate rebuff to the King of the Vampires, delivered with measured confidence and conviction:

“I’m happy with the life I’ve got, thanks.”
“Why? What’s so frigging good about it?”
“‘Cause I know who I am. I’m real. I don’t forget about it like all those others do – and that’s why they’re all so mysterious, by the way. So no one twigs there’s bugger all to them.”
“And what’s so good about being real, then? Can you tell me? You seem very sure of yourself, you little mortal bastard, so I’ll tell you what… If you can tell me why your ordinary, piss-boring life is better than mine, you can walk out of here alive. If you can’t, I’ll cut your throat and drink my fill and leave you half alive forever.”
“Easy. Can you go for a walk in the park and hear the birds sing in the morning? Can you kiss a girl and know she loves you? Can you go out and get pissed with your mates? I can. And just so we’re sure about who’s better off, why don’t we sit here together and watch the sun come up in an hour or so?”

Make no mistake: John is playing the long game, and he is moving his potential pieces into exactly the right positions for the end game. At least… those which are still left on the board after his arrogantly miscalculated clusterfucks.

Includes my all-time favourite Glen Fabry covers, one of which used to loom down from my guest-bedroom wall. Strangely, my guests rarely ask to stay twice.


Buy Hellblazer vol 6: Bloodlines and read the Page 45 review here

Young Avengers vol 1: Style > Substance s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie with Mike Norton, Matthew Wilson.

“I fell in love with a superhero.”

And I fell in love with this series: sharp, chic and oh, so sexy! Contemporary too.

Goddam, Noh-Varr’s black pants as his hips grind and fingers snaps in synch to a sixties’ beat. In fact the book wakes up in bed, just like HAWKEYE‘s Kate Bishop who’s listening to her new lover enthuse about close-harmony girl groups.

“I lie in the strange bed and watch this beautiful alien boy dance to the music my parents love and think… This is everything I always hoped for. At which point, the Skrulls attack.”

Haha! Cue blistering NEXTWAVE flourish: a double-page spread crammed with kinetic panels of a spaceship dogfight and four big, bold statements. Oh, these two are in orbit!

I do mean Kate Bishop and Kree kid Noh-Varr but also Gillen and McKelvie, the creators of PHONOGRAM: RUE BRITANNIA and PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB in which music is magic, and magic is what we have here. The magic of teenage romance and, well, magic itself. New readers start here (and you can):

Hulking (half-Kree, half-Skrull shapeshifter) and Wiccan (the son of the Scarlet Witch), are in love. Wiccan’s adoptive parents are letting them both lodge under their roof, if not quite in the same bed. For Wiccan that means keeping a low profile to avoid scaring the horses or at least alerting the neighbours. But Hulkling can’t help himself: helping others is part of who he is. He’s not ashamed of his heritage any more than he’s ashamed of his sexuality.

“I’m not going to spend the rest of my life in the phone booth. I’m not living a lie.”

It’s during this outburst that Hulking AKA Teddy mentions his mother who’s dead, and how lucky Wiccan is to have two sets of parents. And Wiccan AKA Billy takes that to heart. He’s here to help others too and, if he can’t help his own boyf, then what even is the point? Plus you know I mentioned Billy was the son of the Scarlet Witch, she of the reality-altering powers…? In a panel which winkingly references another from PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB Billy starts scanning alternate realities to see if he can’t make things better.

Meanwhile magic attracts magic, and that’s where kid-Loki comes in. From the word go in his first JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY volume, Kieron Gillen’s young Loki has been fascinated by modern Earth technology and social idiosyncrasies. It’s no surprise then, having spent thousands of years feasting in an opulent Asgardian refectory, that Loki now spends so much time in an urban diner, in this instance arranging sausages, fried eggs and baked beans into a scrying sigil.

“Time to pay for the food you’ve spread on the table, cosplay boy.”
“Please, sir. I’m the actual God of Mischief! Asgard variation! Haven’t you heard of me? My brother’s terribly famous. Big strapping blond fellow. Fond of his hammer. If you knew me even slightly, you’d know that I never pay for what I’ve done.”

No, this time all of them will pay for what Wiccan is doing. Fortunately kid Loki is here on the side of the angels; unfortunately Miss America doesn’t believe him.

The first story arc is called ‘Style > Substance’ which, for those failing algebra, is an equation wherein Style Is Greater Than Substance. That’s just typical of Team Phonogram: oh so clever, self-denigratory yet at the same time irrepressibly mischievous, for there is plenty of substance and, boy, is it delivered with style! It is a beautiful and nimble thing to behold. Dance, this does: McKelvie’s art is bursting with energy without once risking accessibility and perfectly controlled for the quiet, tender moments where there is so much heart and humanity. Yes, there is canoodling!

Mike Norton also plays his part with the ridiculously clean and detailed city-scapes, while ‘Kelvie’s eye for fashion gives us the upwards flicks on the end of Wiccan’s floppy hair and his two-tone t-shirt. The single panel in which he takes hold of his boyfriend’s hand, three fingers between Teddy’s thumb and fore, was exquisitely delicate. Because, yes, he’s fucked up badly leaving his boyfriend in particular in a world of trouble.

It is a very modern superhero comic: just gawp at the covers! Rarely has Marvel attracted such design sense outside of the recent HAWKEYE. The colours by Matthew Wilson both within and without are so fresh and fruity you can almost taste them. Seriously: black currant, lemon, strawberry, lime. It’s like a stained glass window, both breathing and breathless, arranged out of Opal Fruits which were made to make your mouth water.

In addition there two of the most ingenious pages, from conception to execution, to have graced a comic since CEREBUS. (It was a regular occurrence there: almost every issue brought with it yet another visual innovation.) For superhero readers, think John Byrne’s SHE-HULK. Gillen and McKelvie use small panels as a claustrophobic prison and the broader-than-usual gutters as its escape route… including the edges of the paper! Even the climax to that sequence brought with it beauty.

Finally, I loved this tucked-in tribute to the late, great Jack Kirby whose mad designs for machines of all shapes and sizes were part of what made 1960s’ Marvel Comics fizz. We’re on board Nor-Varr’s spaceship:

“Problem! That hit got the Kirby Engines. It’s venting. We’re losing 4.2 epiphanies a second!”


Buy Young Avengers vol 1: Style > Substance s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 1: Cosmic Avengers h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Steve McNiven.

“Hey, Stark, are there any London-based superhero initiatives?”
“There is a Captain Britain.”
“Is he any good?”
“Not really.”

Best battle exchange ever! I had to clean up my keyboard.

You need know nothing of this previously D-list, space-based team, for Bendis has more or less restarted from scratch and taken advantage of Iron Man’s current off-world activities to bring him on board for what is basically a power struggle between a proud royal father and bitterly resentful, rebellious son.

It begins beautifully and peacefully in the past as a romance comic followed by a comic about being a single mum and then a story of growing up without a Dad. The blossoming romance is perfectly portrayed in a series of tender, silent panels, and the separation after is all the more heart-rending for it. Then it turns very, very dark indeed, which is why young Peter AKA Star-Lord, next in line to the Spartax throne, is an angry young man.

I want the specifics of that prologue to come as a surprise.

Fast-forward and Star-Lord’s father, King J-Son of Spartax, has gathered together the Kree’s Supreme Intelligence, Gladiator of the Shi’Ar empire, the Brood and the Brotherhood of the Badoon to hear the Asgardian All-Mother Of The Nine Realms declare Earth under her protection. They all agree that Earth is therefore off-limits. Unfortunately there is also a Sisterhood of the Badoon and a great deal of scheming forcing the Guardians of the Galaxy to break the injunction in order to defend the city of London. There are repercussions.

So who are the current Guardians Of The Galaxy? Star-Lord, Drax The Destroyer, Thanos’ daughter Gamora, Groot who takes root (he is a walking, talking, fully flammable tree) and the pint-sized Rocket Racoon (he is… a racoon). Against my initial instincts and then better judgement, Rocket Racoon as written by Bendis has swiftly become my favourite, blasting his way through enemy lines while taking a great deal of satisfaction in shouting, “Blam! Murdered you! Blam! Murdered you!” with each successive shot.

I also enjoyed his sub-plot-seeding spotlight in the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: TOMORROW’S AVENGERS one-shot (still in stock at the time of typing), also penned by Bendis, which gives you some history on each of the crew and is included at the back of this book. In it Rocket Racoon boasts in a bar of his pugilistic prowess in taking on Ronan The Accuser of the Kree. No one believes him, including a somewhat flabby-jowled, green-skinned fish-faced laydee whose heckles he diverts with flirtation.

“What’s your name?”
“Please leave me be.”
“Is that Kree or — ?”
“Your tail was in my drink.”


Buy Guardians Of Galaxy vol 1: Cosmic Avengers h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Secret Avengers vol 1: Reverie s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by Nick Spencer & Luke Ross, Tomm Coker.

Are you enjoying the new HAWKEYE series? Of course you are; it’s delighting all and sundry with its back-and fourth structure, snappy cut-scenes and nimble dialogue as well as its lack of costumes and supervillains. Totally street-level, with Clint getting himself into a whole bag of trouble.

You may well love this too, kicking off with lots more Hawkeye, still no supervillains, and the beautiful Black Widow to boot. It’s an espionage action-thriller with cake.

“See, S.H.I.E.L.D. asks us for a sit-down, we oblige. But I assume beyond the pleasantries, and these – what’s in these scones, by the way?”
“Coconut. Pineapple.”

The last series of SECRET AVENGERS saw Captain America and then Hawkeye calling the shots over a big group effort. This time S.H.I.E.L.D.’s calling the shots, and Clint is so far from in control – and the avenging so secret – that he has no idea what he’s about to get mixed up in. Not will he remember. Oh dear, poor Clint.


Buy Secret Avengers vol 1: Reverie s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Reviews already online if they’re new formats of previous books. 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.


Hi-Fructose Collected Edition vol 3 h/c (£29-99, Last Gasp) by various

Oliver And The Seawigs h/c (£8-99, Oxford) by Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre

Friends With Boys s/c (£11-99, First Second) by Faith Erin Hicks

Vern And Lettuce s/c (£6-99, DFC) by Sarah McIntyre

Mameshiba: Enchanted s/c (£4-99, Viz) by James Turner & Jorge Monlongo

Morning Glories vol 5 s/c (£9-99, Image) by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma

American Vampire vol 4 s/c (£12-99, DC) by Scott Snyder & Jordi Bernet, Rafael Albuquerque, various

Animal Man vol 3: Rotworld – The Red Kingdom s/c (£12-99, DC) by Jeff Lemire, Scott Snyder & Steve Pugh

Green Lantern: Rise Of The Third Army h/c (£22-50, DC) by Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, Peter Milligan, Tony Bedard & Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado

Age Of Ultron h/c (£55-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis, others & Bryan Hitch, others

Nova vol 1: Origin h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Jeph Loeb & Ed McGuinness

Wolverine vol 1: Hunting Season (UK Ed’n) (£12-99, Marvel) by Paul Cornell & Alan David, Mirco Pierfederici

Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph & Torment s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Roger Stern, Gerry Conway, Bill Mantlo & Mike Mignola, Kevin Nowlan, Gene Colan

The Man Of Tango (£8-99, Sublime) by Tetuzoh Okadaya

Hayate Combat Butler vol 22 (£6-99, Viz) by Kenjiro Hata

Blood Blockade Battlefront vol 4 (£9-99, Dark Horse) by Yasuhiro Nightow

NGE Shinji Detective Diary vol 1 (£7-50, Dark Horse) by Takumi Yoshimura



You all saw our announcement about Duncan Fegredo signing at Page 45 on October 23rd and the Page 45 exclusive signed bookplate edition of HELLBOY MIDNIGHT CIRCUS, right?

Oh dear God, that is a beautiful thing to behold! Please follow that link for details!

So, so grateful and proud to see “Page 45” on the exquisite leather binding. Please pre-order ASAP, they are going like crazy. And yes, they are available for mail order, not just at the signing! By the time it comes to the signing we might not have any left, so please pre-order prompty or pine for evermore!

ITEM! Beautiful and hypnotic: a 9-minute introduction to console game Journey recommended to be by FREAKANGELS’ Paul Duffield.

ITEM! New comic called CARRY ME coming from Dan Berry, creator of THE SUITCASE and HEY YOU!, both of which we made Page 45 Comicbook Of Month within three months of each other which is pretty bloody unprecedentend.

ITEM! The full programme for The Comic Art Festival in the Lake District’s beautiful Kendal is now up online at The Comic Art Festival website! Even the programme itself is a thrill to read – I have no idea how you’ll decide what to do there, it’s bursting! Maps, time tables, everything you need to know. You’ll find the programme click button to the right!

ITEM! I am on holiday for a fortnight and have been for a week. You can tell, right? I even popped back into Page 45 today to pick up the books for next Wednesday’s reviews. I ended up speed-selling twenty-three graphic novels to thirteen customers in the space of six minutes. If only my speed dating was half so successful. Or my full-blown relationships a fraction as long.

ITEM! I think… I may have a problem.

– Stephen


One Response to “Reviews September 2013 week one”

  1. Reviews September 2013 week one - Escape Pod Comics says:

    […] post Reviews September 2013 week one appeared first on Page 45 | Comics & Graphic Novels | Independent Bookshop | […]

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