Reviews October 2013 week two

Featuring four of the finest pages ever in comics, this is a black, white and decidedly blue collection of meticulously composed short stories; all bar one sad, mournful, some lamenting lost love.

 – Stephen on John Cei Douglas’ Holding Patterns.

Smoke / Ashes h/c Signed Slipcase Edition (£39-99, Dark Horse) by Alex De Campi & Igor Kordey, Felipe Sobreiro, Carla Speed McNeil, Richard Pace, Dan McDaid, Mack Chater, Colleen Doran, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alice Duke, Alem Curin, Jesse Hamm, James Smith, R. M. Guera, Tim Durning…

Stephen on Smoke…

TRANSMETROPOLITAN meets HEART OF EMPIRE meets GIVE ME LIBERTY. That’s Ellis, Talbot and Miller = quality.

Near-futuristic, militaristic worlds in which society has gone tits-up under a corrupt and totalitarian government are two-a-penny. They usually boast smug toffs, reluctant heroes, iconoclasts, media satire and “amusing” posters. But with very few exceptions it’s ham-fisted, obvious and lifeless. The exceptions include those titles listed above, and now this.

It has natural pacing, a complete grasp of storytelling (the flashbacks slip in effortlessly and interestingly rather than being wedged in with a jemmy), and a constant stream of good posters and apparel: “Mrs. Beaton’s Ready Meals… Because Fresh Food Has Germs!” and an editor’s cap that reads “Don’t AssUme!”. British law applies throughout the country – except in the Walled City of London. It’s governed by puppets manipulated by schemers who use hitmen to get their way. It’s facing an oil crisis, which is reported on by self-regarding, preened airheads like Jennie Bland (one for our UK readers, that), and it still has a Royal Family whose champagne-vomiting regent is usually to be found naked in a pool of spent women:

“Your Majesty?”
“Your majesty, the Opec President is waiting for you downstairs…”
“Is he here to give me a blowjob?”
“Erm, I don’t think so, your majesty.”
“Tell him he can fuck off, then…”

Very Warren Ellis. The heart lies in one of the assassins (Rupert) and his connection to two other ex-soldiers, one of whom is now a paraplegic since a bomb went off years ago, the other of whom (Tim de Havilland, their former C.O.) has just been murdered amongst his roses. Rupert used to go out with de Havilland’s daughter until something went horribly wrong, de Havilland was forced to retire and Rupert had to… leave abruptly. They all thought they had a deal. But perhaps de Havilland never quite understood the game at all…

I should just mention that this is a very different Igor Kordey for those of you who might have seen his efforts on Morrison’s NEW X-MEN. You’d barely recognise the visuals. They’re lither, clean and brighter.

Jonathan on ASHES:

Wow, what a collection of talent Alex has managed to assemble to illustrate this sequel! It can be a tricky thing, utilising so many different artistic talents coherently in one story, but it works perfectly here, not least because, as the good lady herself pointed out to me, each chapter is quite discreet in terms of location and secondary characters. I should have asked her about the title too, actually. Obviously ashes are going to follow smoke and presumably a blaze, but my thoughts were of a phoenix-like resurrection of an old enemy from SMOKE which sets up this work…

I shall say no more simply because I don’t wish to spoil the plot! Though I shall reveal our two central heroes from the first volume, the likeable journalist – hey some of them have to be – Katie Shah and the albino assassin with panache, Rupert, are back, but they’re not going to get any peace and quiet this time, no. Not even in the countryside, to where they retreat to regroup and plan how the hell they’re going to get out of the predicament they find themselves in this time. And it is a very dangerous and most peculiarly intractable predicament indeed…

Art-wise, ASHES will blow you away. It is difficult and possibly unfair to praise any one person’s contribution above others, but I am always a sucker for Sienkiewicz, and Colleen Doran’s pages positively oozed danger in the most delightfully delicate way. I loved Carla Speed McNeil’s flashback pages too, which of course just made me want more FINDER ever so desperately. I also felt ASHES was rather different in narrative terms to SMOKE as well. It’s still an espionage thriller, but it feels far more intense, up close and personal, than SMOKE. Tenser, tighter, there is less cloak and dagger and more full-on frontal assault, with some rather unsavoury speculative sci-fi thrown in for good measure. And I use the word unsavoury quite deliberately…


But despite the differences ASHES actually dovetails perfectly with SMOKE and you do feel like you’re reading one extended story rather than two component parts, with ASHES being the denouement. It is absolutely a separate story in and of itself too though, so Alex has done an exceptional job to make it such a smooth continuation and also sequel. Finally, I did enjoy the nod to a very upper crust British comics character of the military variety from yesteryear, which also misdirected me perfectly too, at which point I shall leave you dangling once more…

Right, at time of typing, we have but two, count ‘em two, of the limited edition signed by everyone hardcover slipcase editions left. When they are gone, they are most assuredly gone, never to be reprinted or repeated. We will be getting the softcover version in, but why not treat yourself before some other blighter gets there first?

[Editor’s note: if you’re just in time to be too late we do now have the SMOKE /ASHES s/c in stock at £22-50.]

SLH and JR

Buy Smoke / Ashes h/c Signed Slipcase Edition and read the Page 45 review here

Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight #1 (£2-99, Dark Horse) by Alex De Campi & Chris Peterson.

Hot, sticky and delicious!

“Midsummer. The Red Planet hangs in the thick night air like a drop of blood in oil.
“Everything is bursting.
“Everything is whispering. Now.
“Now. Now.”

Beautifully played opening there both by Alex De Campi (ASHES / SMOKE), artist Chris Peterson and indeed colour artist Nolan Woodard. The page is ripe, dripping with honey and sexual juices as cats copulate and a woman pleasures herself in what might be the back of a car. Bees buzz round red rose flowers and an empty beer can strewn on the ground.

There is something very wrong on Cemetery Hill. There are too many bees, and some are so big that when one bursts on a windscreen the splatter drives the sheriff off the road. Those bees are producing an awful lot of honey and it is being harvested. It may be an aphrodisiac. A man is discovered on Cemetery Hill in a car, lipstick smeared on his collar and jeans. There are bits of him missing. Like his head and, umm… yeah. A thick flood of blood leads into a thicket of roses, their thorns as big as their heads are red. Don’t go into the thicket sheriff. Don’t go home, either. You really don’t want to go home…

Covered in bees! We love bees. Bees are beautiful, but not so much here. There is one particular stand-out Chris Petersen page whose layout is immaculately composed for maximum suffocation. It involves… No, reviews shouldn’t be about me going, “Ooh, look what I spotted!” but about tempting you in to spot stuff for yourselves. Oh my days, but the cover to GRINDHOUSE issue #2!

The inside front cover also boasts the first part of an eight-page poster by THE RINSE’s Marc Laming, I stared at it for ages. Don’t know what it is yet, but I’m thinking there’s flesh & bone! Brrr…


Buy Grindhouse #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Holding Patterns (£5-99) by John Cei Douglas.

Featuring four of the finest pages ever in comics, this is a black, white and decidely blue collection of meticulously composed short stories; all bar one sad, mournful, some lamenting lost love.

‘Footnotes’ is John Cei Douglas’ tour de force. Each silent page is a perfectly balanced composition of light, line and colour, the first three of which each find focus by dint of a borderless spotlight on a young couple together on a train station platform over a period of time. These are surrounded by train journeys to and fro, some shared, some solo, gazing out of the window with dreamy optimism or more melancholic doubt. Rarely have I seen these scenes through a carriage window so well conveyed; similarly the station and platforms themselves which, when empty, echo with a real sense of space and melancholy. The expressions are as subtle as they are economical – we’re talking Andi Watson at the top of his game – but alas I can say little more when I have a dozen more sentences in me which desperately want to explain why this tale is so super. SPOILERS etc.

‘Living Underwater’, ‘Bottling It’, ’Lost’ and ‘Found’ are four poignant pieces about anxiety and depression, the last three silent and more metaphorical, the first direct, autobiographical and explanatory. If you have ever sunk beneath a sea of suffocating, paralysing depression and anxiety you will find much empathy here and may want to share it with your friends. If you haven’t, welcome to John’s world: it will help you to understand.

It concludes with ‘Follow me’, and a moment of magic.

Please Note: this particular edition is limited to 100 worldwide. We took 20 and they are signed and numbered.


Buy Holding Patterns and read the Page 45 review here

Show Me The Map To Your Heart (£5-99) by John Cei Douglas.

“They made a map for their future.
“And hoped it was true.”

‘Poignant’ and John Cei Douglas are synonymous.

This beautiful black and white A5 comic is a pastoral, passionate times-past love story intriguingly framed by a more anonymous urban present. In it a travelling troubadour called Alexander falls profoundly in love with a farmhand named Heléna, and she with he.

“They lived underwater and dined under moonlight.
“They sailed to the moon and listened to the stars.”

They explored the world and all its potential together and looked loving, optimistically to the future.

John has a thing about maps at the moment, and there are several within using carefully composed destinations in lieu of standard panels. One of those maps folds out to a full A3. There are also sequences composed like a diamond quilt, and one employing a mountain motif, its centre one giant peak which stretches from the bottom right to the pinnacle of the page.

So much wisdom and craft. And what a brilliant title, eh?

Please Note: this version is signed, numbered and limited to 25 copies worldwide. We were allocated 10.


Buy Show Me The Map To Your Heart and read the Page 45 review here

Hilda And The Troll h/c (£12-95, Flying Eye Books) by Luke Pearson.

Album-sized hardcover of the comic formerly known as HILDAFOLK, with a brand-new map featuring both destinations and denizens, a double-page spread showcasing Hilda’s delightfully cluttered workstation which made me beam with joy and those critical note on ‘Trolls & Bells’

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

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

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

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

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

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


Buy Hilda And The Troll h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Very Casual (£10-99) by Michael DeForge >>

A carefully arranged collection of previously printed work, we are presented with an obscure and grotesque anthology. With larger comics sandwiching many smaller strips the curation of the book envelopes you, submerging you in the surreal and absurd world of Michael Deforge.

Beautifully grotesque, the stories within VERY CASUAL don’t necessarily stick to any real rules of formatting or narrative. They instead feel free and carry with them a real honesty. The stories are not overthought, but are carefully considered, so as to involve the reader so much in such a short story.

Personal favourites of mine: ‘All About the Spotting Deer’, the longest in the collection, and ‘S M’. ‘All About the Spotting Deer’, originally published as ‘Spotting Deer’ by Koyama Press, is a documentary-style comic illustrating the life, habits and mechanics of this bizarre creature. From the biological details of its antlers and its mating habits in the wild; to its humorous identity in popular culture; to its life amongst humans in Canadian cities. However, in turn this story reveals the author of the documentaries: a depressed creator obsessed by this otherworldly creature that no one else seems to care about. ‘S M’ follows the Spotting Deer and has a different feel entirely. A much shorter story of only 12 pages, this is the tale of two rebellious punk girls after a hit. By cutting off a slice of a snowman-like creature and ingesting it the story becomes hallucinogenic, almost euphoric, but it soon escalates into something much darker.

A rollercoaster of humour, honesty and the downright grotesque, VERY CASUAL is a beautifully put together book and one certainly deserving a comfortable space nestled amongst your bookshelf. It is something that you can pick up time and again for a casual read when the moment takes you. However, those of you who are new to Deforge’s work may feel the need for a palate cleanser afterwards; such as a lemon sorbet or a picture of a kitten in a box.


Buy Very Casual and read the Page 45 review here

Judge Dredd: Trifecta h/c (£19-99, Rebellion) by Al Ewing, Simon Spurrier, Rob Williams & Simon Coleby, Henry Flint, D’Israeli, Carl Critchlow…

This is as near perfection of a Dredd and indeed Mega-City One story as you are likely to read, which is why I presume it has been released as a nice hardback edition standalone graphic novel rather just getting collected in the JUDGE DREDD COMPLETE CASEFILES in time.  Not sure why it needed a lenticular cover, which appears to have been glued on, because after staring at them for a whole month during DC Villains arc I am sick of the sight of them, but anyway.

If you are a long time Dredd fan who hasn’t partaken for a while, for whatever reason, do take a look, you will not be disappointed. Essentially starts off as three apparently entirely unrelated stories featuring Dredd, Judge Point who is an undercover Wally Squad member posing as a private investigator in pretty much the most insalubrious sector of the Big Meg, and Dirty Frank, a vagrant who is rather puzzled to find himself on the Moon. It’ll all make sense to him, and us, by the end, but it is a hell of a ride along the way. There’s a coup d’etat afoot from within the Halls Of Justice and the only person who seems to suspect is Dredd. Acting alone, without even authorisation from Chief Judge Hersey, are the odds too heavily against him, even for Joe this time?

The art style changes in turn for each of the three stories, before they eventually come colliding together. Clever stuff, plus so witty and acerbically funny in places too, about pretty much everyone and everything, pure satirical social commentary, which reminded me exactly why I used to read 2000AD for such a long time.


Buy Judge Dredd: Trifecta h/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Unexpected s/c (£10-99, Vertigo) by various including Paul Pope, David Lapham, Dave Gibbons, Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire, Brian Wood, Jill Thompson, Gilbert Hernandez, many more.

A collected combination of Vertigo’s THE UNEXPECTED one-shot and indeed GHOSTS which, when we only carried graphic novels rather than comics on our website, I signed off thus:

“Buy Ghosts through means of a Ouija board. While the glass moves through 0115 9508045 or you may feel the eerie sensation of a hand on the wallet in your pocket. It’s only me.”


This anthology contains the last-ever work story written and drawn by the legendary Joe Kubert who died this August, and it could not be more apposite as a fond farewell. Why that is, I will leave you to read for yourselves to discover; but it has nothing to do with the title of this anthology, just the content and conclusion of the story itself.

It was commissioned by Karen Berger especially for this anthology and, thankfully, was written, pencilled and lettered in full when the great man passed away. Kubert would have gone on to ink it, certainly, but I have always preferred the man’s pencils and here they are haunting.

Al Ewing and Rufus Dayglo’s ‘The Night After I Took The Data Entry Job I Was Visited By My Own Ghost’, however, is a riot in ectoplasmic green. In it the newly installed office worker is haunted by the aspiring musician in him, playing Ladytron riffs all night long on his keytar, enthralled his friends with stories from the other side (“Ian Curtis? Yeah, we jam.”), and soon charming his way up the corporate ladder too, neatly leap-frogging his living self for promotion by spouting “team synergy” claptrap. Dismayed by what has become of his phantasmagorical counterpart, he quits in protest. The punchline is absolutely brilliant.

There are eighteen stories in all and I cannot possibly cover them all here, but ‘Family First’ by Mat Johnson and David Lapham is a terrifying chase in a virtually deserted and ruined suburban cul-de-sac as a brother and sister break off their improvised meat barbeque to hide inside – in the sister’s case, hide inside the oven. To protect her – and the family huddled inside the garage – the brother dashes out back to lead the intruder away. Umm… And then it grows truly grotesque. Lapham is back where he’s best: children in fear like SILVERFISH.

Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire produce a sweet and satisfying story about a mercenary man and his brotherly ‘Ghost For Hire’, scaring the bejeezus out of families and indeed those occupants out of their homes in order to aid eviction. The still-living sibling needs the money for something very specific; the dead one has a conscience. Works out brilliantly for both!

You can always rely on Gilbert Hernandez, and this particular tale would be far from out of place in LOVE AND ROCKETS itself, but what about the piece conceived by HEAVY LIQUID’s Paul Pope, scripted SILVERFISH’s by David Lapham and then drawn by Paul Pope himself?

Don’t expect a conventional ghost story in any way shape or form. Instead ‘Treasure Lost’ is the sort of space-faring yarn you’re more likely to encounter hard-covered on the continent as an eleven-year-old prince and his sister are kidnapped for ransom by a brutal race of stellar pirates who have no idea how intransigent their father is likely to be. An act of sabotage from within the spaceship gives both brother and sister, who have long since stopped seeing eye to eye, the opportunity they need to set the factions they’ve ingratiated themselves to against each other, but the ironies, they will abound…

Lastly for now, Brian Wood & Emily Carroll’s century-spanning ‘Americana’ is a truly moving mother-and-daughter, generational affair about the dangers of dissolution – by which I mean secession, civil war, devolution and disunity. There is something to be said for fewer borders: less antagonism, animosity and territorial violence being very high amongst them. It is intimate, it is reflective, and it is tenderly rendered by Emily Carroll in the most exquisite, loving embraces.


Buy The Unexpected s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Lost Boy s/c (£9-99, Scholastic) by Greg Ruth.

A Young Adult book which I will concede I had misgivings about which were completely ill-founded and which I mention here now only in case you do too. Persevere! Also, please let me help for it will surprise, delight and maybe move you to tears.

Superficially, I wasn’t sure about the glossy reproduction of the sublime soft pencil and grey-wash pages. Trust me: you will become completely immersed for the art itself is to die for. I’d make comparisons to John J. Muth then mix in moments of Riven or Myst. Secondly, I had trouble with the segues until I realised that all events in the past had borders of black, and all strife in the present comes mounted in white. You will probably never experience those stumbles – but hopefully it helps.

Teenage Nate moves with his loving family into a new home. He’s encouraged to choose a room and, in doing so, discovers an old-school tape-recorder sequestered under its floorboards. Neighbouring Tabitha is eager to meet her new neighbour but is horrified when she discovers those self-same tapes. Why?

Flashback to young, missing Walter Pidgin, author of those tapes recorded on his dead mother’s recorder he carried around on his back many years ago. He’s begun to experience… visions? His dismissive father doesn’t want to know. He’d rather enjoy his playing-card games of solitary Patience. But there is a talking insect called Baron Tick taunting him on a mutt, a somewhat abrasive squirrel called Pettibone and a creepy, doll-like Tom Button who seems to want to give him a key. He visits bar-owner Haloran in the hope of finding some answers. He receives some answers, but unfortunately not all of them.

There is gateway at the bottom of his garden. There is something trying to get out. There are players choosing sides and using young Walter for their own purposes. There is also a bully called Curly Bill whom Walt bravely wrestles to rescue diminutiveTom Button. And that is his undoing. What happened to Walt?

Back in the present Nate and Tabitha attempt to unravel the mysteries of Walter’s sporadic recordings and in doing so discover the boy’s true fate. And that will take your breath away. They too are being used, but by whom? To what ends?

The best bits for me were both the subtle and stark differences between Walter, Nathan and Tabitha. Are you a second-chances kind of a gal or guy, or do you draw the line earlier? Is it wrong to stand up to bullies? How far should you take that? What can be forgiven, what can be forgotten, and what would naturally happen if you were ignored back home?

A true tragedy with unexpected consequences and a frightening power, this graphic novel starts low-key but then bursts into a scrambling struggle for fight-or-flight survival involving truth, consequences and very real vertigo. I’m not crossing that rope bridge!

It also sets the scene for far more to come.


Buy Lost Boy s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Vinland Saga Book 1 h/c (£14-99, Kodansha) by Makoto Yukimura…

It might be pushing it slightly to say this is the manga version of NORTHLANDERS, given there are the occasional inevitable comedic asides you would expect from a Kodansha title, but it’s not far off, you know!

This is the story of Thorfinn. It begins with him as an angry young man, fighting with group of mercenaries and their dashing leader Askeladd. He’s not really one of them, but Askeladd has promised him his heart’s desire if he proves himself in battle. Given that desire is a duel to the death with Askeladd himself, well you can see why he’s being made to work for it. In the second half of this volume, we go back in time to see the upbringing of Thorfinn the boy, and in doing so we learn his reasons for hating the leader of the brigands. Art style exactly as you would expect from a Kodansha manga, but it just works somehow.


Buy Vinland Saga Book 1 h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Mutts Treasury: Cat Crazy (£14-99, Andrews McNeel Publishing) by Patrick McDonnell.

Earl and Mooch, pup and cat, are tucked up in bed, heads on pillows.

“So, Mooch, we’re going to hibernate.”
“This is so exciting!
“I don’t want to miss a minute of it.”

Elsewhere, Mooch’s elderly owners gaze out mournfully through their window at the dark and storming weather…

“Yikes! – It’s a good day to stay in and be cosy.”

Mooch concurs.

“I recommend the sock drawer.”

My last two cats’ favourite snooze sessions took place in my upturned washing basket. Of course half the comedy is visual and this is so fluidly drawn. It’s also very well observed, like this, in bed, late at night, and I think your can probably relate.

“Meow. Meow. Meow.”
“Please. Mooch. Let me sleep.”
“? We have all day for that!”


Buy Mutts Treasury: Cat Crazy and read the Page 45 review here

Marvel Knights Spider-Man 1 of 5 (£2-99, Marvel) by Matt Kindt & Marco Rudy.

Rarely do you see anything like this in a Marvel Comic.

It is delirious, with expressionistic writing and art coloured to eye-popping perfection by Val Staples. There’s an eye-leading deployment of black and white during both the intricately cross-hatched panels and the smoke-ridden segues, Marco Rudy veering drunkenly from J.H.Williams III to Jae Lee (INHUMANS, FANTASTIC FOUR F 1 2 3 4) and even Bill Sienkiewicz (ELEKTRA ASSASSIN, STRAY TOASTERS) with some of the side-bar instructions. Plus the double-page spread whose lettering forms the Spider-Man chest symbol with its stream-of-barely-consciousness is brilliant! Should we credit letter artist Clayton Cowles there? I don’t know, because this is very much an ensemble effort and a virtuoso performance even if Peter appears boss-eyed on one page and looks nothing like Parker anyway. Minor snaffu.

(Are there two ‘f’s in ‘snaffu’ or have I just manifested my own?)

What the hell is actually going on we don’t yet know. Which is perfectly apposite, because neither does Peter. He has been lured to a neo-gothic, three-storey house by way of a low-grade photo assignment. Within he finds psychic Madame Web – the old crone version, and therein may lie a clue – who predicts he will die unless he can solve the fabled riddle of the Ninety-Nine problems while the exploding robotic girls beg, “Help me!”

The rest is like one long, disorientating, underwater acid trip as multiple foes (with the promise of many yet to come) assault him with gas, taunt him with pills (which he may have already taken) and who even knows if they are real or not? It’s a bit disconcerting to suddenly find yourself in a passenger-jet aisle.

The obvious guess would be it’s all down Mysterio, but a cunning customer proffered a more contemporary explanation with would tie in with current continuity. It would also explain Madame Web. The cover gives you clues of who’s yet to come.


Buy Marvel Knights Spider-Man 1 of 5 and read the Page 45 review here

Captain America: Living Legend #1 of 4 (£2-99, Marvel) by Andy Diggle & Adi Granov.

From the writer of the exceptional HELLBLAZER: JOYRIDE and UNCANNY and the artist on Warren Ellis’ IRON MAN: EXTREMIS, this is a both beauty and belter whose trajectory I cannot foresee.

My favourite page was the exterior shot of the present-day space station as it undergoes a terrifying transmogrification – Adi Granov excels at technology – but it kicks off in April 1945 on the Bavarian Alps with Russian soldiers closing in on a Nazi bunker housing a prize which they seek. America’s after the very same thing, and it is a matter of historical fact that they acquired it, if not here.

Sergeant Volkov is the most zealous of all, disobeying his critically wounded Captain in ordering the final, suicidal assault against tanks when they have nothing in their arsenal to penetrate them. Which is where our good Captain comes in. What happens within the bunker, however, is far from predictable, nor the ramifications in Siberia, Soviet Union 1968. And I don’t just mean scientific ramifications, I mean personal ramifications. Basically, I mean ramifications, a word that now looks weird to me. What we still don’t know is what happens immediately thereafter for we jump to the present on board a space station experimenting in Dark Energy as a source of free and indeed pollution-free energy for Earth. Whoops.

Cut to the Captain and Sharon Carter aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier Odyssey and a single word transmitted from the space station. I wonder if the hairs on the back of the Captain’s neck stood on end?


Buy Captain America: Living Legend #1 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.


Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 vol 4: Welcome To The Team (£13-50, Dark Horse) by Andrew Chambliss & Georges Jeanty, Karl Moline

The Chronicles Of King Conan vol 6: Death In Stygia (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Alan Zelenetz, Don Kraar & Marc Silvestri, Mike Docherty

Colder vol 1 (£13-50, Dark Horse) by Paul Tobin & Juan Ferreyra

Courtney Crumrin vol 4: Monstrous Holiday h/c (£18-99, Oni) by Ted Naifeh

Dark Tower vol 10: The Gunslinger – The Man In Black s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Robin Furth, Peter David & Alex Maleev, Richard Isanove

The Encyclopedia Of Early Earth h/c (£16-99, Jonathan Cape) by Isabel Greenberg

The Great War: An Illustrated Panorama Of July 1, 1916: The First Day Of The Battle Of The Somme h/c Slipcase Edition (£20-00, Jonathan Cape) by Joe Sacco

Lazarus vol 1 s/c (£7-50, Image) by Greg Rucka & Michael Lark

Lighter Than My Shadow s/c (£20-00, Jonathan Cape) by Katie Green

Lucifer Book 2 (£22-50, Vertigo) by Mike Carey & Peter Gross, Christopher Moeller, Ryan Kelly, Dean Ormston, Jon J. Muth

My Little Pony Animated vol 1: The Magic Begins (£5-99, IDW) by Lauren Faust & Justin Eisinger

Palookaville #21 (£16-99, Drawn & Quarterly) by Seth

Smoke / Ashes s/c (£22-50, Dark Horse) by Alex De Campi & Igor Kordey, Felipe Sobreiro, Carla Speed McNeil, Richard Pace, Dan McDaid, Mack Chater, Colleen Doran, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alice Duke, Alem Curin, Jesse Hamm, James Smith, R. M. Guera, Tim Durning

Star Wars vol 1: In The Shadow Of Yavin (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Brian Wood & Carlos D’Anda, Ryan Odagawa

Star Wars: Dark Times vol 6: Fire Carrier (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Randy Stradley & Gabriel Guzman, Doug Wheatley, Garry Henderson

Treasury Of Mini Comics vol 1 h/c (£22-50, Fantagraphics) by various, edited by Michael Dowers

Batman vol 2: The City Of Owls s/c (£12-99, DC) by Scott Snyder, James Tynioniv & Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, Rafael Albuquerque, Becky Cloonan

Avengers Kree / Skrull War s/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Roy Thomas & Sal Buscema, John Buscema, Neal Adams

Superior Spider-Man vol 2: A Troubled Mind (UK Ed’n) (£10-99, Marvel) by Dan Slott & Humberto Ramos, Ryan Stegman

Thanos Rising s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Simone Bianchi

Thor God Of Thunder vol 2: Godbomb h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Butch Guice, Esad Ribic

X-Men: Storm s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Warren Ellis & Terry Dodson

Judge vol 1 (£9-99, Yen) by Yoshiki Tonogai


ITEM! PAGE 45 IN NOTTINGHAM INDEPENDENTS VIDEO ALERT! (I haven’t dared watch it yet. I asked my sympathisers on Twitter to check it out for me in case I made an arse of myself. One kind sympathisers said, “No more than you do here.”

ITEM! Voting for Nottingham’s Best Independent Retailer Award 2013 has closed. Thank you so much for voting, and thanks such much for retweeting our manic scrabble to get into the top five to be judged by the judges. Did we? Did we manage that? Watch this space! [Editor’s update: we did! Thank you!]

ITEM! Page 45 reviews GRINDHOUSE #1 above; Dark Horse have an online preview!

ITEM! Interview with THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EARLY EARTH’s Isabel Greenberg (in stock at Page now!) with lots of glorious photos! (Not sure about some of the journalism, though.) Looks like a beautiful book – can’t wait!

ITEM! This week’s VERY CASUAL review is by comicbook creator and occasional Page 45 stellar support, Jodie Paterson Click on that link for her Tumblr!

WIN FREE EDDIE CAMPBELL GRAPHIC NOVELS donated by Page 45 to the Nottingham Playhouse!

Jonthan and I have now seen Charlie Peace, the new play by Michael Eaton MBE with set projections by comics’ own Eddie Campbell and it is a magnificent melodrama with a little early audience participation – funny! Last night Eddie himself was enjoying its ditties while I stared at the dozens of ridiculously crafty projections onto the central “theatre-front” construction (itself a work of art), slack-jawed, trying to figure out how they even DID all the clever combos! You wait until you board the train!

I wrote an introductory blog about the whole affair here: Eddie Campbell’s set designs for Michael Eaton’s new play Charlie Peace at Nottingham Playhouse! There are also links to our reviews of all Eddie’s graphic novels.


Any day now! Yes, that DUNCAN FEGREDO IS SIGNING HERE ON OCTOBER 23RD FOR THE LAUNCH OF HELLBOY MIDNIGHT CIRCUS! It’s the very day of publication and Page 45 has the graphic novel’s  EXCLUSIVE BOOK MARK EDITION!

Comicbook creators D’Israeli, Ian Culbard, Marc Laming and Ian Edginton will all be present and we may pester then to sign stuff for you as well! Well, we will, I just haven’t had the common courtesy to ask them yet! Hahahaha! Typical me!

– Stephen

One Response to “Reviews October 2013 week two”

  1. Reviews October 2013 week two - Escape Pod Comics says:

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