Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews September 2015 week two

Includes the finest series ever published by Marvel – by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Gaydos – which I’ve reread and reviewed from scratch!

(In A Sense) Lost & Found (£12-99, Nobrow) by Roman Muradov.

“Go back to your room and remain prudent.”

Absolutely exquisite.

I love all the curls and swirls representing both form and movement. I love the geometrical intersections complemenedt by contrasting colours and of course I love all the leaves.

This is the surrealist stuff of dreams, a journey through an exotic, old-fashioned city of steep steps, odd angles and looming shadows; of vast edifices towering over water, some of their facades scooped out; of sequestered gardens, secret passageways and subterranean shops selling stolen goods – like Miss F. Premise’s innocence!

It’s populated by a right old crowd of high-fashioned humans and the sort of eccentrics you’d have expected to find in Paris’ St Germaine way back when, along with anthropomorphic chickens, foxes and free-floating fish, and the eyes – oh, how they stare!

At times it’s as overpowering as Picasso’s ‘Guernica’, especially to Miss F. Premise who’d had the audacity to venture outside without the aid of her innocence. So immodest!

Miss F. Premise wakes one morning in her dowdy, spinsterish gown to find that her innocence has gone. She’d worn it for donkey’s years as bow round her neck and it was certainly there when she went to bed. Now only the ghostly reflection of it remains in the mirror.

In its place, however, she finds a newfound willingness to rebel for when her bullying beast of a father (quite what sort of a beast, I don’t know) demands she leaves the breakfast table, retire to her room and, of course, “remain prudent”, she hops out of the window instead.

And that’s how F. Premise’s journey begins.

It’s not without its set-backs and her father isn’t the only source of repression. Even the kindly if pessimistic bookshop owner who takes her in suggests she give up.

“The only way to get through the days without losing your mind is to accept.”
“That’s a defeatist attitude.”
“On the contrary, it takes courage to give up, to greet the bleak prospects with quiet resignation.”

But after a few similarly dreary and deflating bons mots, Miss Premise declares, “I’m sorry, I can’t take this anymore,” and sets off again.

It’s a journey of discovery both for the newly inquisitive and determined protagonist and for the reader. What you get from this art-driven adventure depends on what you put in – how long you linger on each sensational page and its panels which, I concede, could have done with being a little less opaque. If the online images are anything to go by, my ill-educated guess is that the publisher never intended the printed publication to be quite so dark. It’s certainly a peeve I’ve heard voiced privately from many an artist when they first see their work on the physical page in the shop.

No matter! Read in full sunshine or steer your Anglepoise lamp directly on top for this is a miniature masterpiece which luxuriates in its word play:

“Mapologies, jung lady.”

There’s an air of Lewis Carroll or Edward Gorey to the literary proceedings, while the following smacked to me of a cryptic crossword clue:

“Stop shovelling bland whimsy, bathtime fowleries are all the rage now.”

There’s even an element of Eric Drooker’s THE FLOOD in its noisy, secret-city journey and the dancers discovered within, though the emphasis here is much more on the magical and the natural than the oppressive and inhumane.

Lastly, given how many of our customers have voiced fantasies of kipping down at Page 45 overnight, I smiled at this line when the elderly bookshop owner takes Miss F. Premise in and sets her up in a bed on a couch before leaving her to it.

“Good night then.
“And do try to feel at home.
“As much as one can feel at home in a shop.”

We really should rent out hammocks.

SLH

www.page45.com/store/-In-A-Sense-Lost-Found.html

One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations (£12-99, SelfMadeHero) by Mike Medaglia…

“Love one another and you will be happy. It is as simple and difficult as that.” Michael Leunig.

The creator of this exquisitely illustrated treasure trove of wise sayings, Mike Medaglia, and I have something in common. Both of us are practising Zen Buddhists. I would love to say that we also share a talent for drawing, but sadly that would be a complete and utter lie. For whilst he has mastered the art of… well… art, I am currently in danger of being surpassed by my four-year-old daughter in terms of illustrative abilities…

When Mike told me that he was planning to create this work I was delighted, and mentioned that it sounded like a book I had read when first beginning to meditate over twenty years ago, called Glimpse After Glimpse: Daily Reflections on Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Which contains ‘365 thought-provoking meditations on life, death, doubt, mindfulness, compassion, wisdom, work, and more!’ He mentioned that book was indeed also a favourite of his. This work, also containing 365 meditations, is like that book with one superlative difference: every single daily espresso shot of enlightenment is accompanied by equally powerful art.

 

The pearls of wisdom you’ll find within the covers of this book are not contained to any one faith, or indeed purely religious in nature. Some do come from Buddhist masters and teachers of other faiths, but also philosophers, poets, artists,  musicians, gurus, playwrights, scientists, politicians, ku fu masters, even comicbook creators and retailers. Okay, well maybe not retailers, but Mike has included a wonderful Osama Tezuka quote that is accompanied by Astro Boy gently holding a snowflake on his outstretched hand.

“What is one man’s life compared to the eternity of time and space? No more than a snowflake that glitters in the sun before melting into the flow of time.”

Actually, the word “accompanied” does Mike a total disservice, for here the art empowers and invigorates the prose words, bringing them vividly to life using many different artistic devices which convey additional interpretation, emphasis and depth to the phrase in question. Indeed often the words themselves form part of the fabric of the design of the artwork. People who have read his moving, and very touching, SEASONS will know just how clever this approach can be. This work is in fact some of the finest iconography I have ever seen. There were several pages that moved me deeply, caused pause for thought, and generated a deep swell of emotion within me. Exactly as it should be when taking in such powerful packets of wisdom.

 

This really is the perfect gift for a loved one who you think might benefit from some beautiful moments of serene reflection. In fact I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from the sage words of wisdom contained within and feel spiritually uplifted by the emotive artwork. And you should include yourselves in that. For whilst Sogyal Rinpoche commented in his best known work, The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying, that “The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life”, and that is undoubtedly true, I think Sogyal himself might concur that picking up a copy of Mike’s book would be a close second…

JR

Buy One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations and read the Page 45 review here

Sacred Heart (£18-99, Fantagraphics) by Liz Suburbia…

“So how’d you get out?”
“Don’t really remember that part… no one’s seen Mark since, though.”
“Wait, that’s bullshit! Everyone knows Mark drowned in the river last summer!”
“You sure about that?”

Nope. I really don’t believe that for a second, such is the catalogue of murders, apparent suicides (definitely murders) and other apparently random attacks (they’re not) that seem to be happening with disturbing frequency to the teen population of Alexandria.

This work has been compared favourably to LOVE AND ROCKETS and I can see why. I would specifically make the comparison with the Blood Of Palomar storyline which is found in LOVE AND ROCKETS: HUMAN DIASTOPHISM. For there, like here, a serial killer is stalking the mean streets, whilst social cohesion seems to be terminally on the wane between the residents. There is also a very dramatic ending, which in turn reveals all. Well, not all, but certainly things make a lot more sense afterwards. In the meanwhile, the teenagers just carry on as normal. Messing about, going to parties, getting drunk and high, falling out, fighting, getting off with each other, all seemingly without a care in world. Well, aside from the usual crippling teenage angst and insecurities, that is… (Ah, those were the days! I think!)

There was also a certain suspicion that gradually began to occur to me, initially gleaned from some of the conversations between characters, before it was definitively confirmed for me towards the conclusion. Actually, I’ve just realised I wouldn’t spoil anything by mentioning it, as it asks this very question in the blurb on the back cover…

“Also: where are all the parents?”

Where indeed…? I wonder… There’s also one another reason why this work reminded me of the Blood Of Palomar, and whilst I will say it doesn’t involve monkeys, I will keep that to myself!

Very, very accomplished debut work from Liz Suburbia, she certainly can write. I’m struggling to come up with an exact comparison for her black and white art style, but if you were to put 50% Gilbert Hernandez and 50% Bryan Lee O’ Malley in a blender and whisk ‘em up, I think her illustrative style well be the result.

JR

Buy Sacred Heart and read the Page 45 review here

Jerusalem: Chronicles From The Holy City s/c (£14-99, Drawn & Quarterly) by Guy Delisle…

“I got news about your coordination request for Gaza…”
“And?”
“They refused.”
“No way… damn it…”
“How come? What was their excuse?”
“They said , ‘The guy who draws comics? Forget it.’”

“Maybe they got me mixed up with Joe Sacco?”

Ha ha, very funny! In fact, as ever, there’s a lot to smile wryly at in Guy Delisle’s latest travelogue, this time to the Holy Land. Once again he’s playing house husband looking after their two kids as his wife’s latest year placement with Médecins Sans Frontières takes the family to Jerusalem, where almost instantly his romanticised preconceptions of the place are utterly dashed and so his usual explorations and excavations of the absurdities of everyday life for the locals can begin in earnest.

One of the many great things about Guy’s work, having been to one of the places he’s written about (see BURMA CHRONICLES), is that he does completely capture exactly what life is like, down to its frequently confused minutiae, for those who have to live there, and this time is no exception as he shows the cramped and convoluted living arrangements that currently passes for Palestinian society, compressed and literally incarcerated in Gaza and the West Bank as they are by the Israelis. Guy being Guy though, he does try, and admirably manages it, to show the story from both sides without particularly taking either.

Though with that said, when he goes on a tour with a group of Israeli settlers (at the request of the Palestinian tour guide whose tour he’d been on a week previously, again to be fair and to see things from the other perspective) he simply reproduces the settler tour guide’s own words verbatim and lets the man damn himself. And when he’s not finding out about local political intrigue or getting into trouble with the police for picking yet another inappropriate sketching spot, he’s hunting out little oases of calm like the zoo or playgrounds to keep the pesky children entertained and give himself a much needed breather.

Jerusalem is probably his finest work yet, possibly because there’s just so much packed into one year compared to anywhere else he’s been and Jerusalem is such a fascinating place with all its contradictions and contrasts, but also artistically too, as whilst he adopts his usual laconic style there’s subtle additions such as extra background detailing or occasional splashes of colour onto his duotone, single-colour-per-panel palette which add a certain little something.

This would actually be an ideal work for anyone who is interested in finding about the day to day politics of the city and its inhabitants, and the history of the city itself, but isn’t ever going to have the time or perhaps the inclination to visit for themselves. It’s certainly one of the most confusing places you could ever go by the sounds of it, in every respect, but Guy almost always manages to find someone who can talk some sense about any given situation…

“It’s always surprising who you meet at these expat evenings. There are basically three categories: journalists, aid workers and diplomats. I meet a Scotsman who works for the Middle East Quartet. Since 2007 Tony Blair has been its official envoy. So here’s a guy who’s high up on the political and diplomatic ladder. This is my one chance to get some firsthand information.
“What your work like on a daily basis?… Are there optimistic moments once in a while, or do things look pretty bad most of the time?”
“Things look pretty bad most of the time.”
“Ah… and how’s Tony?””

JR

Buy Jerusalem: Chronicles From The Holy City s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Democracy (£18-99, Bloomsbury) by Abraham Kawa & Alecos Papadatos…

“There’s something monstrous about crowds, you know.
“Solon saw it in the disenfranchised, the poor masses not benefitted even by his laws.
“In horror, he saw that to control, he’d have to become a tyrant.
“So, when his time as magistrate was up, he stepped down.
“Pesistratus came to power because of Solon’s reluctance to act.
“And even the Tyrant didn’t slay the monster. He manipulated it, controlled it.
“And now that he’s gone, it’s about to wake up.”

Good to see that historical political leaders had about as much respect for the masses as current day politicians.

There is a well known quote from Churchill from 1947, some two years after winning the war yet promptly being defeated in a general election some two months later (July 1945) that perfectly sums up my own feelings about the current state of parliamentary (and indeed Presidential)-led democracy. It goes along the lines of “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

But at least we have the right to choose between our politicians, if not much else. For as Churchill also commented, upon hearing that he’d lost the election, whilst taking a bath, “They have a perfect right to kick me out. That is democracy”. Quite so.

Neither of those quotes feature in this epic study of our most seemingly civilised arrangement of the structures of power and those who wield it. On our behalf and at our behest, obviously. If not always for our benefit… Because this work focuses squarely on the where and when the creators perceive that democracy itself was painfully birthed: 490BC in Athens.

Obviously a concept as grand as democracy itself can’t really be pinpointed to any specific time or place as such, but the creators make a compelling case for supposing this region was sufficient a nexus of influential people and their conflicting, competing and occasionally even overlapping and even mutually beneficial interests, as to be the melting pot from which a cohesive elected structure that hadn’t been previously seen on such a large scale, to emerge and take the reins and responsibilities, and of course, rewards, of power. All is told through the fictional eyes of Leander, an idealistic young man whose eyes are dramatically opened to the power struggles of the not-so-great or good with the death of his father in a riot.

I can’t help feeling a shade disappointed by this work. In comparison to the magnificent LOGICOMIX where I was utterly engaged by the story they were telling, I found my attention waning slightly as I read through this. It is undoubtedly a very well researched exploration of events at that time, but it just didn’t captivate me in the same manner. I note with interest it is the same Greek artist as LOGICOMIX but he’s written this himself, in conjunction with a Greek ‘cultural studies theorist’ writers, so I wonder if that was the difference for me. In some ways I think I would have preferred a look at the ‘development’ of democracy through the ages to our modern day, but I quite understand that would have been a gargantuan undertaking.

Anyway, what is painfully apparent from reading this is that no one back then was involved for purely altruistic reasons. Manipulation, spin-doctoring, blackmail, rigging of elections, intimidation, murder, all were prevalent, perhaps even tacitly accepted as merely part of the process by those involved. In a word, politics, of the dirtiest possible kind, is what was practised at the time. You can make a case for saying that nothing much has changed over the years, even in our civilised Western democratic societies. Just perhaps the scale of these malpractices has been ratcheted down, replaced by an ever more devious sophistication and accomplished concealment.

JR

Buy Democracy and read the Page 45 review here

8House #3: Kiem (£2-25, Image) by Brandon Graham & Xurxo G. Penalta…

“Suddenly the world seems quieter.
“My treasure is still here.
“Treasures I’ve found since coming to the crèche.
“They were going to be for my brother…
“My twin.
“Before I knew where he was.”

Sometimes comics really do send your brain moving in the strangest directions. It has to be many a year since I thought of Victor Kiam, the man who ‘liked his razor so much he bought the company’, before launching into an ill-advised attempt to solve a non-existent problem, but apparently vital to him, possibly due to the outrageous number of mohair jumpers his vast, face-scraping fortune had allowed him to buy, with the Remington Fuzz-Away…

Anyway, I mention this purely because your mind will undoubtedly be bent into a similarly distorted state by this next issue of 8HOUSE featuring the titular Kiem. Who whilst she might not have anything to with the removal of facial, or indeed garment-based, hair, is rather good at eliminating aliens. By mind control, utilising the body of her long dead twin who is orbiting a strange object far, far away, along with a whole army of such desiccated puppet warriors…

“We are monozygotic twins.
“Sharing a chromosome profile.
“I stayed in the crèche while he was sent ahead in a skillsuit to this once cognisant transpacial mass…
“I try not to think about brother.
“How it felt, how he died.
“Our twins make it possible to travel this far.”

I was once a cognisant transpacial mass, I think…

Anyway, I am intrigued to see precisely how the whole 8HOUSE universe fits together eventually. If there really is some master design that Brandon and the other writers have to make it all one coherent time-spanning, space-stretching story. Surely not, it has to be a simple conceit to allow the telling of diverse stories with beautiful art by Brandon and his chums. And yet… I wouldn’t put it past him or them…

So after the first two ethereal and magically mediaeval-flavoured issues, 8HOUSE #1: ARCLIGHT and 8HOUSE #2: ARCLIGHT, both also penned by Brandon but drawn by Marian BEAST Churchland, this is straight-up hardcore PROPHET-esque sci-fi with more than a nod, practically a head-butt, to Moebius and THE INCAL in the art. In fact, I’m pretty sure the artist, the exotically dangerous-sounding Xurxo G. Penalta, must have a mild fetish for Deepo, ingestor of the THE INCAL and dispenser of deep wisdom, who also happens to be a seagull, as there are a fair few flocks floating around the vast, desert cityscape. Including two I have just noticed on the cover nesting atop the inverse, eight-shaped stone duolith our hero is passing through!

Most odd. I have just had an incredibly strong sense déjà vu of typing that last sentence before. Ha ha, how appropriately surreal. Anyway, Brandon pens a great teasing opener of an issue here before, I note, he will pass on writing duties to other people, and fresh artists once again. Issues #4 and #5 are both titled Yorris, written and drawn by a team I must be totally honest I’m not remotely familiar with, but I have absolute faith in Brandon’s choices, before Emma Rios launches into a four-parter sub-titled Mirror with issue #6.

I really hope we do return to the Arclight and Kiem stories before too long, they are both too good not to be continued. But as I say again, how it all fits together, if it does, goodness only knows?!

JR

Buy 8House #3: Kiem and read the Page 45 review here

Jessica Jones: Alias vol 1 s/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Gaydos with Bill Sienkiewicz.

“I don’t know what to do.”

Over and over you’ll hear that phrase. Does it seem quite familiar to you?

The finest series ever published by Marvel, this isn’t superheroes at all. It’s the messed-up life of a woman who cares and who gives as good as she gets. She could have given and gotten a great deal more except that something so harrowing happened to her years ago when she was once a cape that it’s set her down a self-perpetuating spiral of self-loathing.

Night after night Jessica wanders around from bar to bar drinking whatever she can and sleeping with whoever will have her. She wakes up in the morning and hates what she did, so she wanders around from bar to bar, drinking as much as she can and sleeping with whoever will have her. Just to feel something different.

Set at the peripheral, adult side of the Marvel universe where ladies do lunch and individuals actually swear, have sex and suffer from chronic period pains, it’s a journey during which Jessica Jones finally comes to terms with the fact that she’s been not a failure but a victim of one wretched bastard’s callous and cruel objectification and – anyway, you’ll have to wait for book four. It does have a happy ending whose seeds are sown so early on here, but it’s a tortuous path till we get there.

Don’t get me wrong: this is very, very funny with such smooth, silky and wink-ridden dialogue full of the false starts, stuttering and back-tracking which reflect our own real-life interactions that you will be utterly immersed in up to sixty consecutive panels of talking heads without blinking once before coming up for air. Then you’ll be craving the next.

It’s riddled if not with misogyny then at least balls-out chauvinism as Jessica attempts to earn a living through private investigation while encountering walls of lawyers, corporate cover-ups, political intrigue and street-level lies and deceit. Men and women hire her to find their spouses or find them out. One guy is cheating on his missus not with a woman but with multiple men whom he meets online and if you think these chat-room exchanges have been edited into something more acceptable to the average, American and easily outraged male Marvel reader, please think again!

My rule number one is “Never ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to”. This goes double for employing P.I.s. You may not like what you find.

Like HAWKEYE it’s completely accessible to newcomers with no knowledge at all of the Marvel universe because this was Jessica Jones’ first-ever appearance. It guest-stars Luke Cage, Carol Danvers and Matt Murdock. Indeed there’s a certain degree of cross-over with Bendis’ concurrent DAREDEVIL series which was similarly street-level and out-shone even Frank Miller’s.

Michael Gaydos employs the same repeated panels Miller utilised there but to different effect as Jones listens to her clients witter on. Their expressions change: hers don’t. She’s listening. She’s assessing the veracity of their stories. She doesn’t always trust her own instincts or get it right.

In the first major episode of several here Jessica is employed to find a sister who’s gone missing – a woman who’s gone to great lengths not to be tracked or found. She finds the sister safe and well but visited at night by a broad-shouldered blonde bloke whose pager receives a call-out at 2am. Is he a doctor? Pfft. No. He doesn’t even leave by the front door. Why would the sister not want to be found if she’s happy and beginning a brand-new relationship?

The answer makes so much sense but it’s the question which you should concentrate on. As should Jessica. Because she’s being set up by those several tiers above and it’s how she handles that which will make all the difference in the world to what follows.

Superheroes don’t just have secret identities. They have private lives. Or at least they do here and they’re… complicated.

Complicated by sex. Here’s Jessica out to lunch at a street-side cafe with Carol Danvers. They’re rekindling their friendship after letting it lapse. It’s amazing how much you can do for a friendship if you’re prepared to reach out. See above for first two pages, then…

 

 

I don’t post that sequence at random, either. Cage will be playing a very significant role, effectively reintroducing him to the Marvel universe in far more contemporary manner, eventually leading into Bendis’ NEW AVENGERS VOL 1: BREAK OUT.

This is a series about accepting your limitations without being bullied by them, recognising your real strengths, looking forward not back, and going with the risk of letting new people in. Actually, it’s about relearning how to love yourself in the way that you should.

SLH

Buy Jessica Jones: Alias vol 1 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Plutona #1 (£2-25, Image) by Jeff Lemire & Emi Lenox…

“What do you want, Ray?”
“Nothing. What are you doing out here, Tugger? “Dr. Bion… possible sighting over Twayne Tower, October.” What the hell is this, Tugger?”
“None of your business!”
“Okay, okay. Sorry. What is it? Seriously Teddy, I really want to know.”
“I’m capespotting.”
“What the fuck is capespotting?”
“I watch and catalogue the skies over Metro City and then catalogue any hero sightings on my blog. I’m part of the Northwest Capespotting Society. We all cross-reference and correlate our findings online.”
“NEEEEEEERD!”

Poor old Tugger, I mean Teddy. You can well imagine why his tormentor Ray has given him that nickname.  Still, when Teddy points out that at least he has friends and why doesn’t Ray just go home, he is surprised by just how aggressively Ray reacts to that suggestion. Maybe Ray didn’t get that black eye in a fight with a ninth grader whose ass he kicked (as he boasted) after all?

Meanwhile, Mie and her best friend Diane have a seemingly slightly unequal relationship too. Initially you get the sense that Diane is the one who’s too cool for school with her studded leather jacket Mie is keen to borrow, but quickly it becomes apparent Mie is taking her friend for granted, and in fact it’s Diane who is just a tad too keen to retain Mie’s friendship. Unfortunately for them, they’ve been asked to look after Mie’s little brother Mike whilst they go for an evening walk, which is just the most ridiculously inconvenient and socially onerous thing her mother could ever have asked Mie to do, obviously.

So it’s somewhat unfortunate that when they chance upon Teddy and Ray, who is finally actually being nice to Teddy (until an audience turns up, of course), in the distraction of Ray outing Tugger as a capespotter to the girls, that’s when Mike promptly decides to wander off into the dark and spooky woods by himself. Our gang do find him eventually, stood shocked and distraught over the beaten up dead body of a superheroine bearing the Plutona symbol on her costume.

Cue a five pager ‘back-up’ story to finish that is presented as #126 of the Plutona comic featuring a young single mum – looking remarkably like the prone figure in the woods – trying to juggle superheroing, working in a diner and raising a family. Hmm…

Great opener from Jeff as he sets up what are presumably most of the main characters, their typical teenage social dynamics, and also builds the intrigue to fever pitch by the finale. Whereas the five pager ‘back-up’ is illustrated in a traditional looser Lemire style, akin to his SWEET TOOTH work, the art for the main story by Emi Lenox bears a much simpler, cleaner line with troubled, haunted or angry eyes.

I really have no idea where he is going to with this, so much so I just had a peak at the Diamond solicitation information for issues #2 and #3, which gave absolutely nothing away!!! Consider me hooked!

JR

Buy Plutona #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Mad Max: Fury Road s/c (£10-99, Vertigo) by George Miller, Mark Sexton & Riccardo Burchielli…

“Suffice to say, I’d never seen anything like it. I was hooked.”

Ha, the above quote comes from an excellent foreword by Mark Sexton, long-time collaborator with George Miller and co-scribe of these tie-in comics. He’s referring to Mad Max 2, which he saw as a twelve year old. I have to say I retain a similar affection for the first Mad Max film, which I saw at a similar age. It remains a very firm favourite of mine to this day for relatively inexplicable reasons. The combination of hokey acting and ridiculous characters shouldn’t work, but somehow it all just comes together in a full-throttle collision of action and insane nonsense that imprinted itself on my mind to such an extent I could probably quote much of the dialogue verbatim today.

Anyway… when I heard the long-gestating Mad Max Fury Road was finally going to hit the screens, (I mean what, this sequel had been talked about for practically thirty years?) I was excited enough that I simply had to make a rare cinematic outing myself. Even so, it had practically gone off by the time I managed to see it, and in the interim I had heard nothing but near-universal, indeed breathless, praise. My expectations were high. I loved it, yet I can’t say I felt as deeply affected as I did as a young lad, eyes wide, watching the first adventures of Max Rockatansky. I’m not sure I can be that affected anymore by an action film frankly, but still, I can understand why it utterly blew people away. As action films go, it was rather good.

So, these comics are basically prequel material showing how the main supporting characters – Furiosa, Immortan Joe and Nux – rise to prominence and how Max eventually happens to cross their paths. There have been a few comics in recent years actually that have apparently enhanced the cinematic experience. Two, STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN and PREDATORS, even managed to achieve the neat trick of being both prequel and sequel simultaneously, and in the former’s case, also explaining a plot device that had baffled me completely in the film. So, tie-in comic material can work well, if done properly. These are fun enough, I most enjoyed the Immortan Joe and Nux tales, actually, I felt they genuinely added something to the milieu, though the Max and Furiosa ones felt a tad spurious.

Overall, if you loved the film, and seemingly everyone who saw it did, and you need a bit more Max in your life whilst we all await the next sequel, which I sincerely hope will be sooner than thirty years, although given the box office success of this caper, I’m sure it’s well into pre-production already, it is well worth giving these a read.

JR

Buy Mad Max: Fury Road 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.

Saga vol 5 s/c (£10-99, Image) by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Step Aside, Pops – A Hark! A Vagrant Collection (£12-99, Jonathan Cape) by Kate Beaton

Chrononauts (£7-50, Image) by Mark Millar & Sean Murphy

Crossed + 100 vol 1 (£14-99, Avatar) by Alan Moore & Gabriel Andrade

Descender vol 1: Tin Stars (£7-50, Image) by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen

The Dharma Punks (£18-99, Conundrum) by Ant Sang

Dispossession: A Novel Of Few Words (£17-99, Jonathan Cape) by Simon Grennan

Honor Girl (£14-99, Candlewick Press) by Maggie Thrash

Pixu – The Mark Of Evil s/c (£10-99, Dark Horse) by Gabriel Ba, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos, Fabio Moon

Virgil (£7-50, Image) by Steve Orlando & J. D. Faith

Batman Beyond 2.0 vol 3: Mark Of The Phantasm s/c (£12-99, DC) by Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel & Phil Hester, Thony Silas, various

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 vol 3: Love Dares You (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Christos N. Gage, Nicholas Brendon & Rebekah Isaacs, Megan Levens

News!

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Oh yeah, you do know that entry to LICAF is overwhelmingly free, right? It’s only the ticketed talks that cost money. And, if you win our prize competition, they don’t!

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ITEM! Sarah McIntyre’s illustrated blog on creating art for PUGS OF THE FROZEN NORTH

ITEM! UMBRAL’s Antony Johnston on his new series BABOUSHKA

ITEM! Update on all things Brubaker & Phillips including news on the length of THE FADE OUT

ITEM! BROKEN TELEPHONE crime comic seen from six perspectives. Includes Will Kirkby art!

ITEM! I once dreamed that Page 45 had relocated to a cathedral, its pews our comic shelves. Now I discover there is actually a bookshop in a church in the Netherlands. Heavenly!

– Stephen

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