Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews July 2015 week two

Announcing THE WICKED + THE DIVINE Patheon t-shirts! Oh yes! News below our reviews includes details for pre-ordering!

The Wicked + The Divine vol 2: Fandemonium s/c (£10-99, Image) by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie with Matthew Wilson.

“You are of the Pantheon.
“You will be loved.
“You will be hated.
“You will be brilliant.
“Within two years you will be dead.”

In which we learn why – as the Pantheon dies only to be reincarnated every ninety years in a new body, a new aspect – ancient Ananke stays behind to find them and activate them; to guide and nurture them through their new, short life spans and, if necessary, even keep the peace. If she didn’t stay behind, all former knowledge would be lost.

Ananke’s finally found the twelfth god. I’m afraid it isn’t Laura.

In THE WICKED + THE DIVINE VOL 1: THE FAUST ACT we witnessed the latest, highly inclusive Recurrence of gods and goddesses casting themselves in a highly exclusive role – that of pop stars whom we place on pedestals in order to worship from afar.

The most wicked and divine of them, Lucifer, was targeted for assassination by a couple of gunmen. They failed: Luci blew their brains out with a click of her finger. Luci was put on trial but someone blew the judge’s brains out. Then someone blew [SPOILERS] brains out.

This will blow your brains out.

Determined to disprove the existence of any Pantheon – to expose the mythology as a music marketing scam – is sceptical journalist Cassandra Igarashi. Determined to expose the killer is seventeen-year-old Laura, a fangirl who found herself on the inside, taken under louche Lucifer’s ever-so-saucy wings and now granted access to the others.

Once she clicked her fingers and they lit a cigarette just like Lucifer. She’s been trying to recreate the miracle ever since. Nothing’s happened. Brockley, South London, on her way home, clicking her fingers disappointedly:

“I’m not a god.
“I was delusional to think I was. I was delusional to think I could be.
“Fuck you, Laura Wilson. Quitter. All I get is calluses? They’ll be the best calluses in the world.
“I won’t give up on Lucifer. I don’t understand what happened. I will.
“I won’t give up on any of them. They’re all fucked up, all doomed. If all I can do is help them, I’ll help them. No one gets a happy ending. So I’ll make sure they get the least terrible one possible.”

Unfortunately a lot of people are banking on the Prometheus gambit: kill a god to steal their powers. It doesn’t work. But what if a god were to slay another god? Maybe they’d get their oh-so-limited lifespan? Two years is, after all, a very short time to shine…

From the creators of YOUNG AVENGERS and the two music-as-magic PHONOGRAM collections (PHONOGRAM III: THE IMMATERIAL GIRL #1  – please pre-order!), this is chic, sharp and thoroughly contemporary. And, as I say, highly inclusive. It’s so inclusive that straight white males are scarce on the ground. If I were to detail exactly how inclusive it is then I would be giving for too much away, but it’s typical of Gillen and McKelvie that, during a burst of black and white satori, a wheelchair user is amongst the crowd of silhouetted gig-goers on the receiving end. That shouldn’t be remarkable, but it is.

In THE WICKED + THE DIVINE VOL 1: THE FAUST ACT I made much of Jamie McKelvie’s line and Matthew Wilson’s colour art and here in the back there are process pieces which will have you bewildered by just how much thought and work has gone into a double-page spread, for example, overlooking the Ragnock music festival.

Behind all the elaborate, sleek and sexy eye make-up designs and the spectacular Pantheon threads which have inspired so much cosplay (you will love Inanna’s Prince regalia), there is an interest and understanding few other comic artists display of civilian fashion sense: what the best dressed are wearing today as well as the moms who are waiting up late for their errant offspring to get back from gigs.

McKelvie’s Paul Smith-inspired line has long been this crisp but grows increasingly smooth and soft. Even Ananke’s wizened wrinkles give the actual folded flesh a much moisturised feel.

As to Gillen, there are so many fundamentally thought-through observations about the human condition: our aspirations and our most superficial and deep-seated fears. Urdr’s blinding flash of mass enlightenment is entirely consistent in its contradictions! Oh, and he knows the story a seventeen-year-old’s bedroom tells.

Look, I can just keep on typing until this review falls off the edge of the virtual page but I risk running out of misdirections and actually giving stuff away. You know, like the climax. If I told you that I would sell an extra two hundred copies before you’ve finished reading this week’s other reviews. Instead:

Ragnarok for our demi-gods and goddesses approaches. Ragnarock 2014 in Hyde Park, to be precise. 500,000 tickets sold for the five-day festival.

Kieron does love his puns, doesn’t he? The thing is, they’re never throwaway.

“You feel like you’ve got a raw deal.”
“There is no one in this story who has not got a “raw deal”.” says Ananke.

Still, I’m sure it’s going to be okay.


Buy The Wicked + The Divine vol 2: Fandemonium s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Criminal vol 6: The Last Of The Innocent s/c (£10-99, Image) by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips.

From the creators of FATALE and THE FADE OUT, these are the best crime comics in the business, right up there with the recently revived STRAY BULLETS.

CRIMINAL is a series of completely self-contained stories you can read in any order you like, and for me this is its finest outing yet.

Summoned home by his father’s sudden illness then death, Riley Richards has briefly escaped the city of his sins which have begun to cost him dearly, and travelled back to the town of his youth.

It was a sunlit life immersed in the relatively innocent pleasures of crime comics bought by his Dad and meeting down the diner where his best friend, Freakout. With the monumental munchies of being stoned, they would regularly break records for scoffing ice cream.

Then there was sweet Lizzie Gordon, the girl who lived literally next door; the girl whom everyone assumed he would marry. If only he had.

But his life changed course dramatically on the arrival of rich bitch Felicity Doolittle, bringing with her the alluring, honey-pot cocktail of novelty, sophistication, self-confidence and sexual availability. They argued, they split, they got back together, but eventually Riley made a fatal mistake: he married her.

Now he’s a man who witnesses the world around him at a remove, as if it’s not his own life at all. He’s become so detached that he doesn’t know how to feel at his father’s funeral, he just calculates what’s expected of him. He’s become so resigned that when he caught his wife shagging Teddy, the man he loathes most, he concluded that it simply made sense. He’s almost immune to his father-in-law’s long-voiced contempt, and he had all but ignored the slurred cries for help Freakout would leave on his answer phone before finally seeking help and sobering up for good. But returning home now – seeing Lizzie as kind and beautiful as ever and Freakout still funny when dry – has reminded Riley of how promising it once looked before the empty marriage and the crushing gambling debts in the city which he’s grown to hate. He had been a key crossroads in his life and, in marrying Felicity, taken the worst turn possible.

But gradually it occurs to Riley that there may well be a way to reverse all his misfortunes in one fell swoop.

He’s going to kill his wife.

Nothing Brubaker drops in early on is accidental; everything is reprised. Riley’s machinations are fiendishly clever. There is nothing and no one he won’t use to achieve his goal, but that’s all it is to him: an objective. You’ll be shaking your head at the calculated lows he will sink to and yet – an incredible testament to the seductive strength of creative team here – you’ll still find yourself rooting for the rat, fearful in case he fucks up.

For any successful first-person narrative it’s crucial that reader wants to spend time in protagonist’s self-absorbed head, and that’s where Brubaker excels. That the intricate plot mechanics are so devious and the delivery so adroit is what makes each read so enormously satisfying. What makes them so attractive is the art of Sean Phillips, by far the finest draughtsman in this most twilight of genres. His faces stay cast and masked in a permanent semi-shadow – I never trust anyone drawn by Sean Phillips – and some of them are positively threatening.

Allowed for once to play in the suburban sunlight as well as the metropolitan grime, Phillips appears to have had great fun not only in capturing a much younger, less tainted crowd, but also in drawing the flashback sequences: snapshots of memory rendered here in Archie-Comics innocence, even when the style beautifully belies the content under Felicity’s prom-night gown.

All the original periodical’s landscape covers are reproduced within and now all six volumes of CRIMINAL have iconic new covers. Together they look like the most lambent but lethal stained glass window or an elaborate set of traffic lights sending mixed signals to stop, get set (up) and go.

Or, in this case, swim like crazy or sink forever.


Buy Criminal vol 6: The Last Of The Innocent s/c and read the Page 45 review here

8house #1 Arclight (£2-25, Image) by Brandon Graham & Marian Churchland.

“The borders must be near.”
“Closer than you think.”
A border creature: a living edge of the bloody lands.
“It’s dying. We need it alive.”

There are so many strains of fantasy but the most infectious by far are those that are ethereal and otherworldly, not just in aspect but in custom and cadence and the in which way their creators communicate them to us. 8HOUSE ARCLIGHT excels at all four.

Mysteries should not be delivered to you, hand-held, but laid before you in such a way that you are required to tease them apart yourselves. There’s a difference between oblique and obscure.

The above is the script to the third early page reproduced here. All three come, like the graphic novel ZAYA, with a restrained Arthur Rackham palette in an ancient woodland setting which Rackham admirers would feel quite at home in and populated by two figures they would be equally comfortable keeping company with. The light at the root-tunnel entrance is very subtle.



The one with the aquamarine cloak could easily be from Faerie nobility, far from incongruous in A Midsummer Night’s dream and there is much of the Elizabethan about everything here from the courtly intrigues to its couture.

The other is more “other” still. Are those matted tresses blowing in the breeze or, as seems more likely, soft roots or tendrils blowing in the breeze? If a comic causes you to ask questions this early in then it’s doing its job properly. She has arcane knowledge and an instinct in touch with both the natural and unnatural world. Like the three witches in Macbeth, we’re still not straying from Shakespeare in that respect nor in the creature she prizes. Like the turquoise cloth, its fire-red skin stands out a mile from the olive-browns surrounding it.

I’m not going to give you much more.

Given that this is written by the creator of MULTIPLE WARHEADS and KING CITY and both drawn and coloured by the creator of the equally allusive, elusive BEAST, you would be so surprised if this repeated old tropes without infusing them with something so new to comics. I imagine Charles Vess of SANDMAN, STARDUST and DRAWING DOWN THE MOON would swoon over this, but equally so Monsieur Moebius, for the double-page landscapes are epic.

But this is an alchemical fusion which transmutes those and any other influences into an entirely new element of Churchland’s own crafting. I’m speculating on Rackham, Vess and Moebius but I know for a fact that Churchland incorporated Yoshitaka Amano’s fashion sense into the mix.

And so we come to the androgyny and it’s not your Natassja Kinski ‘Cat People’, girl-with-a-boy’s-bob thing going on. Cut to the court, and it’s ostensibly a much more sybaritic affair but also, above and beneath that, a genuine, heartfelt and complete relaxation of stereotypes to form new norms. Well, new to comics. Thankfully it’s being going on around us in real life for years.

Post-script for pedants:

Yes, yes, officially it’s called 8HOUSE ARCLIGHT #1 but by its third issue it’s officially called 8HOUSE #3 KIEM and by its fourth issue 8HOUSE #4 YORRIS so we’re nipping any confusion in the bud early on – just like you would an Azalea’s flowers once over – in order to promote better growth. Pop yourself down on a Page 45 Standing Order by mail or for collection in store and we’ll insure you get the lot regardless of subtitle.


Buy 8house #1 Arclight and read the Page 45 review here

Pain Is Really Strange (£7-99, Singing Dragon) by Steve Haines & Sophie Standing…

“Pain does not exist in this dojo, does it?”

Sensei John Kreese and his demented dojo dwellers from The Karate Kid on how to deal with pain…

Of course, whilst the members of the Cobra Kai might have a slightly different approach to overly stimulating skin pressure to you and I, it shouldn’t be doubted that there is definitely a subjective element to the sensation of pain. After all, taken to extremes, one man’s pain is another’s pleasure; however this excellent 36-page work doesn’t get into those realms, instead concentrating on the current critical scientific thinking on the nature of pain and our physiological, psychological and indeed emotional experiences of it. Plus how, perhaps, with the right approach from both patients and doctors alike, we can alter the perception of pain to make it far more manageable, without having to resort to the usual pharmacopoeia of medicinal delights.

Probably the major argument the author and long-time healthcare professional Steve Haines puts forward is that to understand an individual’s pain, you first need to understand the individual, because the experience of chronic pain is an incredibly complex phenomenon arising from a large number of interconnected and interrelated systems, both of body and mind. Thus two people could have exactly the same ‘injury’ but experience extremely different levels of pain.

Which all sounds like a very heavy read, however this work is beautifully illustrated by Sophie Standing in a manner that conveys the more complex concepts and theories of neurophysiology put forward by Steve, just as clearly as the witty look at brain chemistry that is NEUROCOMIC, or even the headscratching theorems of quantum physics in FEYNMAN.

As Nick Sousanis explained in his recent expansive graphic novel PhD submission UNFLATTENING, images can convey meaning and thus understanding far more simply and eloquently than words alone can do. And that is abundantly true here as Steve examines the process of how pain arises right through to how our very different individual subjective experiences of it occur.

Plus it is very impressive production qualities too from Singing Dragon, akin to a Nobrow release, all neatly sutured, sorry saddle-stitched, with inviting French flaps that always add a touch of gravitas to a smaller sized release.

This is an intriguing and informative look at a subject which we all have first-hand, personal experience of, typically the myriad acute comedy to catastrophic variations on the theme, but is utterly devastating for many chronic sufferers. I have to say I personally agree with his thinking, that the experience of pain can be, to a degree at least, ameliorated by changing the sufferer’s mental approach to it. But I’ve never seen the whole process of how one might practically go about doing just that explained so simply. This is a work which actually ought to be handed out to all GPs and is another very worthy addition to the rapidly burgeoning genre of graphic medicine.


Buy Pain Is Really Strange and read the Page 45 review here

We Stand On Guard #1 (£2-25, Image) by Brian K. Vaughn & Steve Skroce…

“What if it was us?”
“Don’t even joke about that. I could lose my security clearance if people heard you spouting that kind of nonsense.”
“But I’m serious. We burned down the White House before once, right?”
“We did?”
“Like, three hundred years ago.”
“That’s just a myth, Tommy. Canada wasn’t even a country back then. It was the British who torched Washington.”
“Yeah, for trying to steal this land.”
“Why would the U.S. try to steal our…”
“The hell? What happened to my feed?”

A lot of exceedingly heavy ordnance, that’s what, as Ottawa is practically flattened during the initial thunderous start to the 2112 US invasion of Canada. Yeah, you read that right: Canada…

Unfortunately for young Amber cuddling her fluffy white teddy bear – I’m guessing she is maybe six – and her slightly older brother Tommy, this blitzkrieg rain of missiles instantly wipes out their parents, leaving the terrified siblings to fend for themselves. Fast forward ten years and Amber is now part of the resistance movement fighting the tyrannous occupiers.

Hmm… is it really over thirty years since siblings Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen, plus the rest of their ragtag teen-band of ‘Wolverines’ took on the might of the invading Soviet forces in the classic bratpack film Red Dawn? Hegemonous, brutal bad guys versus the righteous protectors of their beloved homeland…

Ah well, plus ça change as they would say in ‘free’ Quebec! However, you have to say in the intervening three decades since Ronald Regan was the Cold War warrior President protecting the Free World from the belligerent Ruskies, while we all fervently hoped Sting was right and the Russians did love their children too, the Americans have rather managed to besmirch their own reputation over those years, haven’t they? We can argue the merits or otherwise of their various military invasions and interventions in the interim ad infinitum, but you would seriously hope that Canada might be not be in President Clinton’s – Hilary that is – crosshairs come her probable election next year. Mexico on the other hand…

Anyway, you can immediately see where Vaughn is going with this. Much like Brian Wood’s DMZ – one huge what if the Iraq civil war was actually happening in American with Manhattan being the epicentre – this tale of what, in theory, would never happen, is going to presumably allow him to make some serious points about the state of current American foreign policy under the cover of a ripping adventure yarn. Much like he did to superlative effect on various hot social political topics in EX MACHINA. And let’s be totally frank, it’s not really that much of a stretch to see the American military as out-and-out bad guys. There are plenty of people in the world who have that viewpoint already.

Nice enough clean art from Steve Skroce who hasn’t really done much in comics for years, mainly doing concept art story boards for cinema instead for people like the Wachowskis. I think that possibly shows a little bit in places, some of the panels feel a little bit flat, primarily because there’s virtually nothing going on in the background of the panels that are mainly conversation between characters; whereas, in contrast, some of the more action-based panels have plenty going on. Having a look at some of the concept art pencils included at the end; I thought that material was considerably more impressive actually. But whilst it’s not Fiona SAGA Staples or Tony EX MACHINA Harris, it’s certainly a style well suited to the story.

This first issue is primarily a set up, about some of the various characters who are presumably going to form the backbone of the series, though without giving too much away at all beyond that. The big question, why America launched the invasion, has yet to be explained. I am looking forward to that nugget! Also, the current whereabouts of Tommy, Amber’s brother…

There’s certainly potential for a decent series here, particularly in as skilled a writer’s hands as Vaughn. Based on this opener I do suspect it will be quite similar in flavour to EX MACHINA, and that’s fine by me!


Buy We Stand On Guard #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Gun Machine s/c new edition (£7-99, Mulholland Books) by Warren Ellis.

“He glided across the street to the fenced perimeter of Central Park and slipped between its bones like a knife.”

Behold the hunter, a predator subsisting on what little is left of Manhattan’s nature, a man more in tune with its past. The present is virtually toxic to him. He is a creature of ceremony, of meticulous preparation and exact execution, successfully stalking both the streets and his targets undetected for years. He is a man with a mission, and it has just been rudely interrupted.

Detective John Tallow has been jaded and weary but he’s waking up now with a start. His partner’s had his head blown off by some random naked guy with a shotgun. Another blast strayed and sprayed into an apartment wall through which John can see guns: hundreds and hundreds of guns arranged in a precise pattern of rows and spirals and… there appear to be gaps, waiting to be filled in fill. They’ve all been used, these guns. They have all done their duty, the purpose for which they have been precisely selected. And now they are Tallow’s problem. He should be on sick-leave on compassionate grounds, but for some reason his Lieutenant has kept him on the case. He’s being set up to fail, and he’s now on the hunter’s radar.

John Tallow is in deep, deep shit.

If you love your language then you’re in for a treat. What struck me very early on was that Ellis has changed voices for this second prose novel, not altogether but enough to set this apart from CROOKED LITTLE VEIN and indeed almost all of his comics to date bar PLANETARY. The one sequence that did put me in mind of CROOKED LITTLE VEIN was when Tallow snaps on the police radio to shut everyone up, and it surely does.

“All at once, horror tumbled out of it.”

Crime after almost inconceivably grotesque crime floods from its speakers in a relentless slurry of casual sadism and cruelty. It’s like a condensation of FELL: FERAL CITY. But beyond that the lurid sex-talk and angry bombast – which amuses me no end – has been set aside for now, replaced by two alternating narratives, one following Tallow, the other the hunter.

It’s as much about observation as anything else, for here we’re presented with two preternaturally perceptive individuals able to read the world and the people around them, albeit in radically different ways. I doubt my tells would get past either of them.

“Emily seemed to be sliding into a state of… he wouldn’t say emotionlessness, but certainly distance and apathy. Her voice came from somewhere deep inside her, somewhere dusty that was a long drive away from being present in the world. The same remote point that he has sometimes, in rare self-aware moments, heard his own voice coming from over the past few years.”

The dialogue is as deft as you’d expect, for which Ellis supplies two new assistants, albeit slightly less filthy that TRANSMETROPOLITAN‘s except when Tallow’s just bought them coffee:

““Oh my God,” Bat prayed. “I love you. I would let you have sex on me and everything. But I am very tired and would prefer not to move.”
Scarly killed a cup lid with feral fingers and chugged a third of the container. Her eyes flexed weirdly in their sockets. “Oh, that’s the stuff,” she said. “That really is the stuff.”
Bat was weakly pawing at the lid of the cup nearest him. Tallow reached over and took it off him, abstractedly wondering if this was what fatherhood felt like.”

The history and geography of Manhattan lie at the book’s heart, and possibly its future too for there’s a very neat use of security cameras. Above all else, however, I can promise you a killer the likes of whom you’ve never encountered before, and I hope you never will. There’s probably one out there waiting, though.


Buy Gun Machine s/c and read the Page 45 review here

S.H.I.E.L.D. vol 1: Perfect Bullets s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by Mark Waid & Carlos Pacheco, Humberto Ramos, Alan Davis, Christ Sprouse, more.

Alert! Angry English Dad on the phone! Wall of words on its way!

“Good lord! Your mother and I are staggeringly disappointed by the mediocre path in life you seem to have chosen since you moved to the States! Party planner? A woman with your education? For God’s sake, you were brilliant at university, which cost us a fortune, by the way – No, you’re not grateful. Your brother and sister appreciated it! Maybe you should talk to them! What’s that? I can’t hear – Don’t you dare hang up on me! I’ll call you at “work” if I want to call you at “work”! You told me you blow up balloons and pitch canopies for a living! What urgent task can you not pull yourself away from?”

Poor Jemma! I’ve received several similar calls over the years, but I wasn’t an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the middle of the mother of all firefights. That’s the problem with cell phones.

Much comedy’s been made over the years about the hidden life of spies, so secret that not even their spouses know what they’re doing. I rather enjoyed James Cameron’s ‘True Lies’.

Lying to your loved ones is a common dilemma facing many a superhero too, as a young Ms Marvel is currently discovering in the family-centric, heart-of-gold escapades of MS MARVEL, a comic which we adore.

S.H.I.E.L.D. technician Jemma Simmons empathises and has a quiet word. Her history’s familiar for spies, which is why I found Waid’s diatribe above so well written. I found the following rather touching.

“S.H.I.E.L.D. recruited me when I was still at university. Due to the classified nature of my work, though – well – my dad and mum think I’m a corporate party planner. Explains all the travel, but doesn’t make them proud, exactly.”
“How long have you managed to – “
“Keep the secret? Years. It can be done, But before you file that away as good news, I’m afraid I fell compelled to add this: I love my parents. And I miss the days when they knew their daughter.”

The central star of the series – as in the TV show – is Agent Coulson. He’d rather Ms Marvel hadn’t gotten involved in that episode because she’s far too young, but he can’t help but admire her encyclopaedic knowledge of supervillain paraphernalia gleaned from writing meticulously researched superhero fan-fic. She is, dare I say it, a nerd; by which I mean someone who has what is widely regarded as a disproportionately obsessive interest in things so arcane and esoteric that no one in their supposedly right minds should give a chuff about. Please note: that does not include comics. Comics are for everyone!

Parenthetically it was just such knowledge which saved the day in Mark Millar & Tommy Lee Edwards’ delightful MARVEL 1985, a surprisingly tender graphic novel for Mark Millar about a young boy which is emphatically not set in the Marvel Universe. That’s its whole point. I recommend you take a quick gander.

Agent Coulson approves, however reluctantly, because he sees himself in her. His was a similar enthusiasm which he’s since honed into his field’s special skill. So shall we begin?

“It’s fun when your hobby becomes your work.”

It really is!

There Mark Waid speaks for himself, for S.H.I.E.L.D. Special Agent Phil Coulson and for me too. The key, once it’s your job, is to stop treating it as your hobby and to apply your knowledge and affection into something professional, invaluable and accessible to all. That is exactly where all too many comic shops fall so lamentably short and where a fair few comics writers fail too. Not Mark Waid. His knowledge of superhero comics is virtually unparalleled and it all dovetails beautifully here.

In the opening flashbacks Agent Coulson is seen gathering superhero intel from almanacs then transcribing it onto index cards from the tender age of nine; seen aged nineteen analysing the information from television news coverage; updating it as a junior agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. at twenty-five; using it to save his sanity before being saved from solitary only last year, and then deploying it last night to clean up at poker! With a mind like that you could not only card-count but anticipate your superhero competitors’ every move and motivation.

It is in the field, however, where it proves invaluable. At his disposal Agent Coulson has so many superhero power sets to call in as required for each specific threat. He’s basically Miranda Zero from Warren Ellis’ highly recommended none-superhero action-thriller GLOBAL FREQUENCY. He will have to improvise depending on who’s already preoccupied with other repeat offenders or merely reroute those already in the field with a crafty slight-of-hand.

That is precisely what Coulson does in the opening scenario and the pay-off is so satisfying that you may squeal.

Let us be clear: this is a fully fledged superhero comic at the heart of the Marvel Universe not – as has been the case before – a satellite spy thriller or a time-travelling mind-melt. As such the first chapter comes with thrills-aplenty Carlos Pacheco art featuring so many of your favourite powerhouses attempting to contain the demon-strewn, multidimensional fallout of Asgard’s Rainbow Bridge being shattered into portal-opening pieces.

In chapter two Humberto Ramos does a mean, lean and lanky Ms Marvel; chapter three sees the great Alan Davis on Spider-Man, roped in to act as a canary in a coalmine when Dr. Strange’s mansion is made skew-whiff with magic; and Chris Sprouse is on hand for when Sue Storm receives a summons to a sale on at a department store and shown into a changing room which is anything but. Nice nod there to the old sequestered S.H.I.E.L.D. entrance via a barber’s shop chair which used to descend through the floor. See? I know this stuff too!

Coming back to the strategic planning, Agent Coulson could do none of that in this comic if veteran writer Mark Waid didn’t excel at precisely the same key skills: using his encyclopaedic knowledge of superheroes both past and present (always with his finger on the pulse of the present) then judging how to combine the most interesting and unused elements in the most intriguing new ways.

Please see Waid & Ross’ exquisitely painted KINGDOM COME set in the future of the DC Universe when it’s already gone horribly wrong and about to grow much, much worse.


Buy S.H.I.E.L.D. vol 1: Perfect Bullets s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy!

Reviews already up if they’re new formats of previous graphic novels. The best of the rest will be reviewed next week while others will retain their Diamond previews as reviews.

Bacchus Volume One Omnibus Edition s/c (£29-99, Top Shelf) by Eddie Campbell

The End Of Summer (Signed & Sketched In) (£9-99, Avery Hill) by Tillie Walden

Bunny vs. Monkey Book Two (£7-99, David Fickling Books) by Jamie Smart

The Cat With A Really Big Head h/c (£13-99, Titan) by Roman Dirge

Cheer Up (£3-99, Hic & Hoc) by Noah Van Sciver

Crickets #4 (£5-99) by Sammy Harkham

Crossed vol 13 s/c (£14-99, Avatar) by David Hine, Justin Jordan & Nahuel Lopez, Fernando Heinz

Baltimore (Novel): Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier & The Vampire (£9-99, Dark Horse) by Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden

Godzilla: Half Century War h/c (£25-99, IDW) by James Stokoe

High Crimes h/c (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Christopher Sebela & Ibrahim Moustafa

Jack Of Fables vol 4: Americana (£10-99, Vertigo) by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges & Russ Braun, Tony Akins

Kabuki Library vol 1 h/c (£29-99, Dark Horse) by David Mack

Moose (£12-99, Conundrum) by Max De Radigues

They’re Not Like Us vol 1: Black Holes For The Young s/c (£7-50, Image) by Eric Stephenson & Simon Gane

Through The Woods (UK Edition) s/c (£10-99, Faber & Faber) by Emily Carroll

Batman Eternal vol 2 s/c (£29-99, DC) by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV & various

Justice League vol 6: Injustice League h/c (£18-99, DC) by Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis, various

Amazing Spider-Man vol 3: Spider-Verse s/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Dan Slott & Olivier Coipel, Giuseppe Camuncoli

Guardians Of The Galaxy / All New X-Men: The Black Vortex  (UK Edition) s/c (£16-99, Marvel) by Sam Humphries, Brian Michael Bendis, various & various

UQ Holder vol 5 (£8-50, Kodansha) by Ken Akamatsu

The Amazing World Of Gumball vol 1 s/c (£10-99, Kaboom) by Frank Gibson & Tyson Hesse


ITEM! THE WICKED + THE DIVINE Pantheon t-shirts are available to pre-order! PAGE 45  SHIPS WORLDWIDE! The price of postage will be indicated towards the end of your order. All Page 45 postage is at cost, based on weight. If you don’t like the cost you can cancel and walk away!

Please pre-order by July 20th because Page 45 has to pre-order by July 22nd! Any orders placed later cannot be guaranteed. When we offered THE WICKED + THE DIVINE “Lucifer Died For Our Sins” t-shirts 100 people pre-ordered and every single order was filled. Then dozens of people tried to reorder after publication and burst into tears.

They will be crying forever.

ITEM! Warren Ellis writes the new JAMES BOND comic!

ITEM! SCOTT PILGRIM, SECONDS and LOST AT SEA‘s Bryan Lee O’Malley & Leslie Hung have a new monthly comic heading your way soon: SNOTGIRL. I’m not even kidding you! Sounds thoroughly infectious.

 – Stephen

Page 45 Reviews written by Stephen & Jonathan then edited by a clapped out cockatoo with cataracts

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