Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews February 2016 week one

Includes new Sara Varon, Greg Rucka & Michael Lark’s LAZARUS VOL 4, Manchette’s FATALE, Simon Spurrier & Ryan Kelly’s CRY HAVOC #1, Marc Ellerby in RICK AND MORTY VOL 1 and more!

The Comical Tragedy Or Tragical Comedy Of Mr. Punch remastered edition (£14-99, Bloomsbury) by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean.

Well, this was worth re-reading: so many layers, so many secrets and so many lies.

As pertinent as ever, it will make you think long and hard about the tradition of Punch and Judy that presented itself as a childhood morality tale in which justice was never served. In which the philandering, maniacal, child-dropping, wife-beating, cop-killing, mass murderer escaped the noose right under our noses.

Punch slaughtered each and every one of them, and we were made to witness it all. Do you think that made us complicit?

“The path of memory is neither straight nor safe, and we travel down it at our own risk.”

It is indeed a maze and a hall of mirrors, prone to distortion; but then so is the present to a child. This is a book told in retrospect as the narrator recalls a past which will become increasingly troubling as moments take on more significance and clarity to an adult mind’s eye.

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For as a young lad he was sent to stay with his maternal grandparents and left to wander around his grandfather’s eerie, failing and virtually deserted seaside arcade which was visited by his uncle and one other. Then the boy saw more than he should; now he learns more than he wanted to.

Performance:

“What baby?”
“Our baby, you wicked old man. I left it with you to mind, didn’t I, boys and girls?”
“It’s asleep.”
“You wicked, evil Mr. Punch. It’s not asleep. He killed my baby, didn’t he, boys and girls?”
“Yes!”
“Yes!”
“Yes!”
“Yes!”
“Oh! You wicked storytellers!”
“You’re a very naughty Mister Punch, and I’m never going to kiss you any more.”

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“They began to hit each other,
in an intricate bobbing dance,
until
the Judy puppet flew into the air
and fell, lifeless
at
the
front
of the
stage.”

Between Neil Gaiman’s quietly controlled script and Dave McKean’s nightmarish puppetry (frenziedly photographed during the sequence above in which Mr. Punch’s rabid eye virtually hisses with brazen psychopathy) you will perhaps begin to wonder what the fuck we were all laughing at.

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There’s a scene on the beach during which the boy stumbles upon a private performance of Punch and Judy so early in the morning that nobody should have been there – certainly not the puppet master. He witnesses father Punch’s defenestration of his baby and is addressed directly: “Aren’t any boys and girls. Only him.” It’s possibly the most chilling panel in the entire graphic novel.

It will resonate later on for this is a comic with carefully constructed parallels.

It’s also a comic about being a child in an adult’s world “to which children are denied access”, full of the things which adults tell children and the ambivalence or uncertainly with which we as children receive them.

One of its delights is Gaiman’s ability to recall elements of youth which were legendary to our shared generation, as demonstrated most effectively in THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE. There it was the penny or ha’penny chews; here it’s the Heart ice-cream with its tangy raspberry ripple and rich coating of chocolate. In both instances it’s the seemingly life-altering decision on what to spend your much-prized, meagre pocket money. Of being left alone in a car while adults did their thing. Thunderstorms. Apple-peeling. Grandparents sleeping in separate beds. Lives you could never imagine they once had before they became the only thing you perceive them to be: your Gran and Granddad.

In contrast throughout McKean skilfully and thoughtfully employs a range of media – pen, paint, modelling, photography and extra special effects – to harrowing effect. For example, there’s a page in which the grandfather’s mania is recalled, using grainy, outdoor photographs of a man with a Toby-jug-sized head bellowing at a woman sitting meekly in a chair by a table and lamp, closing in on the mask’s wild, white-eyed fury. It’s disconcerting, to say the least. Unsettling.

All of it is.

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To my mind this is one of the greatest graphic novels Britain has ever produced and two decades ago it was massive. Since then it’s slipped below the radar and become submerged below so much subsequent brilliance, but it needs to be refloated.

This 20th Anniversary edition comes with a brand-new gallery in the back including the witty Comics Journal cover featuring photographs of Gaiman and McKean pulling the strings of their puppet portraits; previous covers; thumbnail sketches; photographs from the film Whack! by Tim Etchels and Dave McKean inspired by the graphic novel; collage images from the inside of Mr. Punch’s head, plus other designs for the never-completed nor released CD-ROM and photographs from the ‘Comics Unmasked’ exhibition at the British Library.

As to the printing, although the cover claims that it has been “completely re-mastered”, previous reproductions have been pretty classy and all I detected was a slightly more blue hue on some pages. I wish they’d corrected the commas instead which is my only complaint: they can barely be distinguished from the full stops. What I do like is the lower case – unusual outside of Eddie Campbell back then – which gives a diary and so confessional air to the proceedings.

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I’ll leave you will this which surprised and alarmed me, though I don’t know why I was surprised. Please bear in mind that amongst Mr. Punch’s many audacities and “accomplishments” was that he also slew the Devil.

“I thought I saw the Punch and Judy man a year ago last May, in a churchyard in Covent Garden. They celebrate Mister Punch’s birthday there, and Punch and Judy professors come from all over the country to tell his story. The church even invites Mister Punch into the pulpit to read the lesson, in his squeaky, secret voice. I wonder what the Devil thinks of the arrangement – but I am sure he has spoken from the pulpit or the lectern in his time, also.”

SLH

Buy The Comical Tragedy Or Tragical Comedy Of Mr. Punch and read the Page 45 review here

Sweaterweather h/c (£14-99, FirstSecond) by Sara Varon.

Awww! It’s all about friendship with Sara Varon – friendship and kindness.

From the much-loved creator of ROBOT DREAMS, ODD DUCK and BAKE OFF comes a double-sized expansion of the original all-ages SWEATERWEATHER from 2003 with extra stories from all over the shop in navy blue, lilac and pinks.

‘Lion Comic’ from 2009 is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. A lion living in genteel elegance buys a book on ‘How To Fit In’ on the African Plains then settles down in a comfy chair with a steaming cup of tea to absorb the instructions. Thereafter the lion strolls out onto the Savanna and attempts to fit in, fails to fit in, fails to see that it’s failed to fit in, fails to understand that it never needed to fit in anyway… then writes a review for The Times on how well it’s succeeded.

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There’s Sara’s Five-Day Diary for The Comics Journal, a mini travelogue on Mexico City’s bizarre bazaar subway, and a few friends interviewed on staying productive while working from home when Sara leaves her part-time job at New York City’s School of Visual Arts to do just that.

Otherwise, Varon prefers silence while telling her tales including the original short story which became ROBOT DREAMS, one of my all-time favourite books about friendship even though it involves an act of betrayal. Most of us feel that at some point or another we’ve been left behind, abandoned on the metaphorical beach, and giving ROBOT DREAMS as a gift to another signals that you will never be so careless or callous.

All of this is compensated for by a story about campsite kindness and in a bit about boxing which could not be cuddlier. Also, who knew that Sara Varon used to box? Oh yes, each of these stories is preceded by a series of short insights into the construction of the comic, the history behind it, materials used or some personal anecdote.

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What else do we have? Hibernation, cooperation and cosiness; the final acquisition of a coveted “prize” possession; growing feathers for flight; a great deal of cooking; Secrets Of The Beehive; dinosaurs really feeling the heat before finding the obvious solution (which is usually ice cream, is it not?); and a cute little comic about building an indoor swimming pool and the distribution leaflets for it under the sea. Leaflet included, bound-in!

I’ve taken a photo of that page because it’s a brilliant example of the power of the comicbook panel. Take a look at that lush, navy blue page and then imagine it without the panel border below the sheep fishing on the jetty: the frog is no longer underwater diving for the sea bed, but swimming towards the shore.

It’s almost all anthropomorphics, and approachable one’s at that – Sara’s chosen child-like forms coming with an aura of innocence.

Miraculously I have unearthed a long-lost treasure: one of Mark’s Magnificent Musings when the softcover originally appeared in 2003. Hurray!

“Probably the cuddliest, fluffiest book I’ve seen in a long, long time. I’m tempted to say wait ’til the winter comes before buying as it’s best to snuggle up with it under a huge duvet while you’re spannered on Neurofen Cold’n’Flu. The cute figures (cat, rabbit, turtle, snowman) amble through an oft-frosty world, pull together and everything’s alright. In the back there are cut-out figures to play with as your mucus-filled head wonders if you should go for honey & lemon or menthol or just work your way through the Hobnobs. Nice bit about bees too. Aren’t bees nice?”

They are!

I’d just add that it’s typical of Varon to add extra mischief to the cut-out paper figures and their garb, for behind each lies either a skeleton, beating hearts, cogs whirring in the brain, a sandwich in the tummy, a penny in a pocket or the fish in the sea. Once constructed, you will need to unfold the flaps to peek inside and see them again!

SLH

Buy Sweaterweather and read the Page 45 review here

Manchette’s Fatale (£19-99, Titan) by Jean-Patrick Manchette, Max Cabanes & Doug Headline…

“A light went on in my head. Those assholes could be killed after all. Besides, I needed money but I didn’t want to work.”
“Reasonable.”
“Look, what I do is work too you know. I go from town to town, hobnob with the upper crust. I watch them. There are always conflicts.
“I wind up finding them. Someone always wants to kill someone else. The rest takes a light touch.
“The idea of killing is already in their heads. You make them think it is theirs.
“Then I offer my services… When possible, in a time of crisis.
“I don’t tell them I’m a killer. No one would believe me. I tell them I know a killer.
“Now… now it’s all fucked.”

Jean-Patrick Manchette will already be very familiar to fans of Jacques Tardi for his trio of adaptations of Manchette’s crime novels: LIKE A SNIPER LINING UP HIS SHOT, RUN LIKE CRAZY, RUN LIKE HELL, WEST COAST BLUES. This work, adapted by Max Cabanes and illustrated in one of the most opposite of styles to Tardi possible, was originally published in prose form in 1977, immediately after the prose release of West Coast Blues and just before Like A Sniper…

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Intriguingly Manchette himself considered this work more of an experimental novel than a thriller. It’s difficult to say why he made such a distinction without reading the original, because to me this is as straight-up crime thriller as it gets. It tells the story of femme fatale Aimée Joubert, a former victim of domestic violence turned ice-cold, calculating killer. Her modus operandi is to turn up in a town under a new identity, insinuate herself into local society, uncover everyone’s dirty little secrets, then act as agent provocateur, gradually turning the great and the (not-so) good against each other. Eventually someone cracks, they always do, but rather than inducing them to break the law so they’ll be arrested, that’s when Aimée offers her own unique services to remove the problem, permanently. And so it is once more in the sleepy seaside town of Bléville. This time though, not everything is going to go according to her plan…

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Manchette is regarded as a true literary giant in France, and rightly so. I have enjoyed all of his works that have been adapted into graphic novels and translated into English immensely. If you read our reviews of LIKE A SNIPER LINING UP HIS SHOT, RUN LIKE CRAZY, RUN LIKE HELL and WEST COAST BLUES you’ll note certain themes running through. Great dialogue and narration, intensely flawed, dysfunctional characters, and endings that are neither straightforward nor particularly happy following considerable violent unpleasantness. It’s very much a case of plus ça change therefore again here! People don’t change, they’re still the same conniving, two-timing, weak-willed, greedy inveterates wherever Aimée goes. She knows that all too well, in fact, she’s relying upon it…

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What is different, though, is the art. Gone is the ultra-gritty, roughly inked black and white of Tardi who can do broken-nosed, Gitane-smoking street thugs like no one else, replaced by delicate ligne claire coloured in a delightful faux watercolour effect palette. It’s entirely reminiscent of much Humanoids output, and is a perfect choice of style given that Aimée is exquisitely beautiful. Yes, she will undoubtedly end up blowing your brains out, but she’s probably going to make you lose your mind with desire first.

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It’s only reasonable in the spirit of full disclosure I do mention there’s a modicum of naked flesh on show, entirely Aimée’s, as she is prone to wandering around her hotel room in the altogether, and err… having the odd moment or two of, shall we say, autoérotique in the bath. Which could come across as overly-prurient, I suppose, but in fact only serves to reinforce the feeling that here is a woman who is wholly self-sufficient, and indeed entirely self-interested. If she wants a man, she’ll take one, or equally take him out, but she certainly doesn’t need him.

As ever, I find myself left wanting more Manchette. Fortunately, he was an extremely prolific writer so there’s plenty more for people to adapt.

JR

Buy Manchette’s Fatale and read the Page 45 review here

Lazarus vol 4: Poison s/c (£10-99, Image) by Greg Rucka & Michael Lark.

One of my favourite five monthly comics.

There will be no spoilers here; just enough to intrigue new readers to snap up book one.

“I looked on him and I was not assured. I looked on him, and I was afraid.”

That’s Sister Bernard gazing up in contemplation at a dilapidated statue of Saint Christopher in a derelict cathedral in Havana. He’s not just the patron saint of travellers, but of soldiers too: “A patron of holy death.”

There will plenty of travelling, a great many soldiers and blistering fire-fights in the most freezing conditions because Family Carlyle is about to go to war.

Before that, however, we must walk hundreds of miles in Sister Bernard’s pinching shoes. Nuns are given a degree of leeway by some Families to practise their faith and perform acts of medical charity for those without means – and most have no means – which involves traveling. In exchange for funding, Family Carlyle requests occasional favours from Sister Bernard whose mobility between borders makes her the perfect if petrified spy. She’s had no training and feels she has no aptitude – all she has is her faith, which here is tested to breaking point.

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Previously in LAZARUS:

In the not-too far future the world’s economies imploded, its political systems collapsed and the globe has been carved up between the sixteen wealthiest Families because money buys technology, money buys guns and money buys people, which together buy power.

It is a feudal system, an archetypal, bottom-heavy pyramid with Family at the top, a wafer-thin secondary layer of privileged serfs selected for their key skills below, then underneath the vast majority dismissed as “waste”.

Family Carlyle has invested heavily in augmentation technology, bestowing it on youngest daughter Forever who now acts as their ultimate bodyguard, military commander and assassin. She’s been genetically enhanced with regenerative capabilities, trained to the peak of human physical fitness in both armed and unarmed combat and has been indoctrinated to believe that there is only one law: “Family Above All.”

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The structure which Greg Rucka’s employed to introduce this grave new world has been impeccable, and it too has been a pyramid: LAZARUS VOL 1 showed us the focal-point Family Carlyle and two sharp-toothed vipers in its nest; LAZARUS VOL 2 broadened its scope to societal structure and the means by which waste might elevate themselves to serfdom; LAZARUS VOL 3 widened its outlook yet again to the geopolitical set-up as decrepit old Jakob of Family Hock takes advantage of a schism within Family Carlyle by ransoming its one errant member while attempting to steal from his body the Longevity Code which has granted Family Carlyle and some of its serfs a vastly extended lifespan. We met many more Families, each with their own Lazarus / bodyguard, and a play was made which ensured that war was inevitable.

And now… for the shooty bits.

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Michael Lark’s landscapes are phenomenal, and the characters could not be more grounded in their landscapes. That’s vital for depicting urban warfare with its geographical opportunities and obstacles; its cover, its exposure and its range. In addition, he has a complete command of weather conditions – in this case a blizzard of snow – and an eye for carefully judged detail so that readers get a tangible sense of what the terrain feels like and what can and cannot be seen by individuals on the ground. That’s vital for immersion: targets and troop movements cannot be nebulous if you want readers’ blood pressure to rocket alongside the protagonists’.

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The key is in making you care and Rucka is equally adept at making it personal. Forever Carlyle has of course been deployed while the rest of the family desperately struggle with their own problems back at base. But she’s made some discoveries recently causing her to make a decision which could put everything and everyone in jeopardy, not least herself.

Speaking of revelations, I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so shocked by a final page. It’s no deus ex machina, but proof of an audacious authorial slight-of-hand much earlier on, which was so cleverly played by both writer and artist that I know of nobody who saw this one coming.

“Family Above All.”

SLH

Buy Lazarus vol 4: Poison s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Cry Havoc #1 (£2-99, Image) by Simon Spurrier & Ryan Kelly.

“So why is she on her own?”
“Huh. She ate her sister. Ah, it was ill. Probably would’ve been put down anyway. But Princess Giggles, there? Whoof.”

In which you will learn more about hyenas than you expected to. Certainly more than I’m comfortable talking about here. If you care to read Si’s extensive notes in the back you will learn even more, though not as much about the werewolves yet, except that we shouldn’t be calling them werewolves. For now, I will be calling them werewolves.

I like a comic whose unusual aspects have been thoroughly researched but isn’t insistent on ramming that research down your throat in order to get a First Class degree in Esoterics. By all means give us a gander in the back, but not in the story itself, please. Hurrah for Si Spurrier, then! I thought this was enormous fun.

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Drawn throughout by LOCAL and THE COMPLETE NEW YORK FOUR artist Ryan Kelly, CRY HAVOC flips between three time periods coloured and colour-coded by Nick Filardi for the sequences set in London, Matt Wilson in Afghanistan and Lee Loughbridge in… well, not in a good place. In a cage.

That’s where we know blue-haired violinist Louise Canton ends up, some undisclosed time in the future. Back in London she’s looking inside that hyena’s cage in the zoo where her girlfriend works. In the middle Louise is in Afghanistan, dressed in military combat gear, and looking outside a CH47-F Chinook Helicopter which is hovering above the exploding guts of a goat it’s just fired upon.

It’s not an obvious career move, I grant you.

But back in the beginning while busking by the Old Bailey, she was bitten down an alley by what looked like a werewolf and it unleashed in her a sensory overload, a craving – an intoxication.

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Each of the crew Louise has now found herself with appear to have had similar experiences with differing results and know more about their condition and its history than she does. Enough, at least, not to call their predator a werewolf. It’s more complicated than that.

Now she’s being transported to a deserted U.S.-run rendition centre which was mothballed when “a civilian employee lost her shit, killed five C.I.A. agents, released ten insurgents. By “lost her shit” he means she went feral.

Lupine.

They’re here to track her down.

It’s not just the colour-coding and panel grids which differ between time periods, but Kelly’s art too. London’s the style you’ll be accustomed to. I’ve never seen him draw anything like the Afghanistan sequences before: much sharper, more detailed lines in both the interior and exterior shots of the rendition centre, while the faces in places are closer to Mark Laming’s and, in one notable instance, almost as if inked by Tom Palmer.

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That Chinook’s pretty mighty when seen from below with a tremendous sense of weight which is being so improbably held aloft by the whirling blades above it. Below and behind, the dusty mountains fade into an almost infinite distance. It’s quite a big country.

There’s plenty of politics to sink your teeth into, playful dialogue, behavioural and cultural analysis and only the most ominous hints so far about the proto-mythology actually being explored and what’s been unlocked in each individual.

SLH

Buy Cry Havok #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Rick And Morty vol 1 (£14-99, Oni) by Zac Gorman & C.J. Cannon with Marc Ellerby…

“It’s okay, Morty. Just stick with me and do exactly what I say, alright? Technically I’m not allowed in this building.”
“I thought you said this was on the up and up, Rick. You know I don’t like to break rules!”
“Yeah, and that’s a real… real… URRRP!… charming quality. I bet the girls love that one, don’t they, Morty?”

I’m just trying to think how best to describe Rick and Morty for those not familiar with the cartoon. Rick Sanchez is a mad scientist who likes a drink. Well, actually thinking about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him sober! Or indeed, not covered in vomit… He’s a man who uses belching as means of dramatic emphasis and he’s practically turned life hacking into an artform, though in a Salvador Dali surrealist sense of art perhaps.

For example his use of a future-predicting device to play the intergalactic stock exchange to make him and his sidekick grandson – the infinitely more conventional and straight-laced Morty – richer than their wildest dreams seems, as Rick explains to an uncertain Morty, the simplest thing in the Universe. Unfortunately all of Rick’s madcap schemes have a tendency to spin out of control faster than a whirling dervish riding a waltza, and so it’s really no surprise when the time police show up pre-emptively, obviously, to try and warn them off.

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Rick’s incessant goading and bullying of Morty ensures the two of the them press ahead with their fiscal thievery, however, and for a while their life of crime reaps rich pickings, but eventually the long hand of the time police catches up with them and a life sentence in the Clackspire Labyrinth awaits. Fortunately Rick, knowing he would eventually get locked up for something heinous eventually has, or more precisely had, a plan…

“You think I’d a build a crazy space dungeon and n… URRP!… not assume I’d get imprisoned in it one day? I’m familiar with dramatic irony, Morty.”

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Indeed he is, he’s practically the poster boy for it. It’s a familiar refrain of mine but you never know whether these adaptations are going to be as good as the show, or indeed any good at all. Some succeed like ADVENTURE TIME, others fall woefully short: STEVEN UNIVERSE. Happily, this comes as close to its television show as I think it’s possible to get in terms of art style and tone, possibly the truest adaptation of a show I’ve seen, actually. Lovely clean lines, ultra-vibrant colour palette and the requisite complete and utter nonsensical mayhem. Rick puts Morty through the wringer repeatedly as usual, but for some insane reason Morty keeps on coming back for more. Morty’s mum, sister and step-dad are all here as well, bemoaning their perpetually pissed-up patriarch as their lives inevitably lurch from calm to catastrophic and back again on a daily basis. Great fun. For us anyway, not so much for them!

This first volume collects issues 1-5 plus bonus shorts featuring the delectable Marc ELLERBISMS Ellerby on art!

JR

Buy Rick And Morty vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here

Black Widow: The Itsy Bitsy Spider s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Devin Grayson, Greg Rucka & J. G. Jones, Scott Hampton.

Disclaimer: this is a heavily edited version of a cursory review I wrote some fifteen years ago, reprinted purely because its punchline made me smile. I haven’t re-read the material although a quick glance at the watercolour washes of Scott Hampton’s pages had me swooning all over the place.

This collects the two mini-series from 1999 and 2001 written by dear Devin Grayson (much missed in comics; she was responsible for the early analysis of MMORPG addiction in THE USER, sadly never collected), the second in conjunction with LAZARUS, STUMPTOWN and GOTHAM CENTRAL’s Greg Rucka.

With artwork by JG Jones on the former (see cover) and Scott Hampton on the latter, they were at the very least two of the sexier superhero books around at the time.

Introducing a younger, more idealistic challenger for the position of Black Widow, the first storyline featured the bewilderingly popular comicbook trope of the drug that turns the taker into a super-strong berserker for two minutes before killing them off.

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The second is a riff on the Face/Off film as the older, original Black Widow undergoes brain surgery in order to swap bodies with the younger pretender for somewhat pointless reasons. To be fair, the writers seem to have realised the somewhat tenuous nature of the plot as several supporting characters feel the need to stand around asking why innovative transplant surgery is needed in order to work out the location of some missing missiles.

Less John le Carré, more John Le Mesurier.

SLH

Buy Black Widow: The Itsy Bitsy Spider s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Old Man Logan #1 (£3-99, Marvel) by Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino.

Third series of this title following Bendis and Sorrentino’s OLD MAN LOGAN: WARZONES which was itself a sequel of sorts to Mark Millar & Steve McNiven’s original OLD MAN LOGAN which is completely self-contained and highly recommended as the finest Wolverine solo series of all time.

Both those books are reviewed far more extensively but, in short, the original was set in an arid future when the heroes had lost and the villains had carved up America between them. Something so traumatic had happened to Logan that he’d become a pacifist, refusing to pop his claws for anyone or anything. When you learn what that was, you will understand why. Half the fun was wondering – then discovering – what had become of those you once loved. Those who were left alive, anyway.

OLD MAN LOGAN: WARZONES saw that same survivor dropped into Marvel’s alternate SECRET WARS world composed of various domains all ruled over by Vicky von Doom, each playing out alternate versions of key Marvel crossovers from the past or whatever else the writers came up with. It’s kind of difficult to explain, sorry.

“AT LEAST YOU TRIED, STEPHEN!” Thank you.

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I adored its colours by Marcelo Maiolo which made you feel like you were travelling through the nocturnal section of a zoo’s tropical house under the influence of LSD.

Maiolo is back to colour Sorrentino’s Jay-Lee like art with suitable gnarled and jaggedy lines as the by-now thoroughly bewildered and battered and indeed naked Old Man Logan surfaces groggily on Marvel’s new post-SECRET WARS Universe which is almost identical to the one left behind but since it’s now years in Old Man Logan’s past, it’s going to take some adjusting to.

Presumably his old pals are going to need to make some adjustments too given that they thought their friend dead after the DEATH OF WOLVERINE. Will he tell them what becomes of the poor sods in their future?

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Avoiding those events and that future is now Wolverine’s main motivation and most pressing concerns. Also, avenging some slights that haven’t yet happened. Expect memory flashes which will be new to you, a checklist of those who need to be taken out in order to divert the course of the present (slight spoilers if you haven’t read the original yet; you’re encouraged to do so as soon as possible), spectacular landscapes and a surprising double-page homage to Frank Miller’s DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

SLH

Buy Old Man Logan #1 and read the Page 45 review here

You Are Perfect Valentine’s Card (£2-50, Paper Pipit) by Jodie Paterson.

Yes, you are! I’ve always thought so, anyway.

You shop with us for a start or, if you don’t, at least you take the time to trawl through our reviews.

Finally, thanks to our own Jodie Paterson, Page 45 has a range of Valentine’s Cards to sell on its shop floor saving you the annual trouble of fixing a stamp and plopping it in a letter box so that they then descend en masse through mine, cluttering up my hallway and making it impossible to leave for work without the aid of a shovel.

Now you can simply pay at the till, borrow a pen from our counter, write your anonymous sweet nothings to me then hand it over. Or, if you want to engage in traditional stealth, leave and pass the envelope to someone incoming at our door, asking them to give it to “the totally delusional bald git”.

What I adore about Jodie Paterson’s Paper Pipit cards:

The calligraphy, class, composition, carefully chosen colour palettes and, increasingly, a satisfying coherence within each seasonal release: three or four variations on a theme which give them a striking beauty when arranged together, along with a recognisable brand identity. As evidence, please check out the other card Jodie Paterson Cards & Prints including her thank-you notes.

P.S. I don’t know how many Valentine’s Cards you receive on an annual basis, but one year I scored Minus One: a boyfriend ditched me by post, the letter arriving on February 14th. I’m not even joking. It was a very sweet letter, but still…

SLH

Buy You Are Perfect Valentine’s Card and read the Page 45 review here

You’re Well Fit! Valentine’s Card (£2-50, Paper Pipit) by Jodie Paterson.

You are most certainly are!

Just look at you with your eyes, teeth and noses all in the right places!

Probably cut back on the noses, though: just one will do.

I notice you also carry a Page 45 Tote Bag. It’s a fashion statement! And a status symbol!

Finally, thanks to our own Jodie Paterson, Page 45 has a range of Valentine’s Cards to sell on its shop floor saving you the annual trouble of fixing a stamp and plopping it in a letter box so that they then descend en masse through mine, cluttering up my hallway and making it impossible to leave for work without the aid of a shovel.

Now you can simply pay at the till, borrow a pen from our counter, write your anonymous sweet nothings to me then hand it over. Or, if you want to engage in traditional stealth, leave and pass the envelope to someone incoming at our door, asking them to give it to “the totally delusional bald git”.

What I adore about Jodie Paterson’s Paper Pipit cards:

The calligraphy, class, composition, carefully chosen colour palettes and, increasingly, a satisfying coherence within each seasonal release: three or four variations on a theme which give them a striking beauty when arranged together, along with a recognisable brand identity. As evidence, please check out the other card Jodie Paterson Cards & Prints including her thank-you notes.

P.S. I don’t know how many Valentine’s Cards you receive on an annual basis, but one year I scored Minus One: a boyfriend ditched me by post, the letter arriving on February 14th. I’m not even joking. It was a very sweet letter, but still…

SLH

Buy You’re Well Fit! Valentine’s Card and read the Page 45 review here

I Like Your Bum Valentine’s Card (£2-50, Paper Pipit) by Jodie Paterson.

You know that I do! If I can see it, anyway.

I don’t need to see your actual bum – heaven forbid! – but I yearn for the resurrection of jeans which don’t droop at the back showing off your crack or My Little Pony underpants. You’re forty years old – what is wrong with you?!

Also, how do those jeans even work, gravity-wise? It’s a mystery to me.

Finally, thanks to our own Jodie Paterson, Page 45 has a range of Valentine’s Cards to sell on its shop floor saving you the annual trouble of fixing a stamp and plopping it in a letter box so that they then descend en masse through mine, cluttering up my hallway and making it impossible to leave for work without the aid of a shovel.

Now you can simply pay at the till, borrow a pen from our counter, write your anonymous sweet nothings to me then hand it over. Or, if you want to engage in traditional stealth, leave and pass the envelope to someone incoming at our door, asking them to give it to “the totally delusional bald git”.

What I adore about Jodie Paterson’s Paper Pipit cards:

The calligraphy, class, composition, carefully chosen colour palettes and, increasingly, a satisfying coherence within each seasonal release: three or four variations on a theme which give them a striking beauty when arranged together, along with a recognisable brand identity. As evidence, please check out the other card Jodie Paterson Cards & Prints including her thank-you notes.

P.S. I don’t know how many Valentine’s Cards you receive on an annual basis, but one year I scored Minus One: a boyfriend ditched me by post, the letter arriving on February 14th. I’m not even joking. It was a very sweet letter, but still…

SLH

Buy Like Your Bum Valentine’s Card and read the Page 45 review here

Gizza Snog Valentine’s Card (£2-50, Paper Pipit) by Jodie Paterson.

Please do! Or at least a hug!

Maybe you have to build up to a snog. Some might consider it inappropriate on your first purchase.

“Ah, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE volume one! That’ll be £7-50, please.”
*lunges at me across the counter*
*flails helplessly whilst sadly recognising it’s the best tongue-action he’s seen in well over a decade*

Yes, let’s develop our relationship gradually. We might want to start with a trip to the cinema to see a French art film in black and white, with subtitles, starring a bowl of fruit. I am the epitome of a good time!

Finally, thanks to our own Jodie Paterson, Page 45 has a range of Valentine’s Cards to sell on its shop floor saving you the annual trouble of fixing a stamp and plopping it in a letter box so that they then descend en masse through mine, cluttering up my hallway and making it impossible to leave for work without the aid of a shovel.

Now you can simply pay at the till, borrow a pen from our counter, write your anonymous sweet nothings to me then hand it over. Or, if you want to engage in traditional stealth, leave and pass the envelope to someone incoming at our door, asking them to give it to “the totally delusional bald git”.

What I adore about Jodie Paterson’s Paper Pipit cards:

The calligraphy, class, composition, carefully chosen colour palettes and, increasingly, a satisfying coherence within each seasonal release: three or four variations on a theme which give them a striking beauty when arranged together, along with a recognisable brand identity. As evidence, please check out the other card Jodie Paterson Cards & Prints including her thank-you notes.

P.S. I don’t know how many Valentine’s Cards you receive on an annual basis, but one year I scored Minus One: a boyfriend ditched me by post, the letter arriving on February 14th. I’m not even joking. It was a very sweet letter, but still…

SLH

Buy Gizza Snog Valentine’s Card 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.

Beverly (£16-50, Drawn & Quarterly) by Nick Drnaso

The Book Of Hope h/c (£25-99, Fantagraphics) by Tommi Musturi

Brother’s Story (£5-00, Zetabella Publishing) by Sarah Burgess

The Summer Of Blake Sinclair vol 1 (£12-55, Zetabella Publishing) by Sarah Burgess

The Summer Of Blake Sinclair vol 2 (£12-99, Zetabella Publishing) by Sarah Burgess

The Summer Of Blake Sinclair vol 3 (£12-99, Zetabella Publishing) by Sarah Burgess

Hilda And The Midnight Giant s/c (£7-99, Flying Eye Books) by Luke Pearson

Phonogram 3: The Immaterial Girl Issue Pack – All Six Issues! (£12-99, Image) by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie

The Wicked + The Divine vol 3: Commercial Suicide s/c (£10-99, Image) by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, Kate Brown, Tula Lotay, Stephanie Hans, Leila Del Duca, Brandon Graham

Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir h/c (£14-99, St. Martin’s Press) by Tom Hart

Scorpia: An Alex Rider Graphic Novel (£11-99, Walker Books) by Anthony Horowitz, Antony Johnston & Emma Vieceli, Kate Brown

Hinges Book 2: Paper Tigers (£11-99, Image) by Meredith McClaren

Lumberjanes vol 3: A Terrible Plan (£10-99, Boom! Box) by Noelle Stevenson, various & various

Squarriors s/c (£14-99, Devil’s Due) by Ash Maczko & Ashley Witter

Star Wars: Lando (£12-99, Marvel) by Charles Soule & Alex Maleev

Stinky Cecil In Terrarium Terror (£7-50, Andrews McMeel Publishing) by Paige Braddock

Trigger Warning (£7-99, Headline) by Neil Gaiman

Uncanny: Season Two (£14-99, Dynamite) by Andy Diggle & Aaron Campbell

Bizarro s/c (£10-99, DC) by Heath Corson & Gustavo Duarte

New Suicide Squad vol 2: Monsters s/c (£10-99, DC) by Sean Ryan & Philippe Briones

Deadpool And Wolverine Digest s/c (£7-50, Marvel) by various

Sword Art Online: Girls’ Ops vol 2 (£9-99, Yen Press) by Reki Kawahara & Neko Nekobyou

Sword Art Online: Phantom Bullet vol 1 (£9-99, Yen Press) by Reki Kawahara & Koutarou Yamada

Adventure Time: Masked Mayhem s/c (£8-99, Titan) by Kate Leth & Bridget Underwood

Edward Scissorhands: Parts Unknown (£14-99, IDW) by Kate Leth & Drew Rausch

News!

On hold for next week!

It was this or Jodie’s Valentine’s cards reviewed above.

Cheers,

– Stephen

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