Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews March 2016 week two

Features the first of Neil Gaiman, Mark Buckingham and D’Israeli MIRACLEMAN volumes, entirely accessible to newcomers.

Hubert (£16-99, Jonathan Cape) by Ben Gijsemans.

An exquisitely beautiful book with a refined palette restricted to pale creams and antler greys enriched with earthen warmth then printed on thick, calico-coloured paper.

When deep olive greens finally make an appearance they lie far from coincidentally inside and just outside Mr Hubert’s flat: the Swiss Cheese Plant rising from behind his armchair and the more delicate leafy foliage of his neighbour’s window box, opposite, below.

Suspended in space, in the middle of otherwise empty pages, that window forms the occasional focus of Mr Hubert’s attention through his own, while he paints portraits of women from photographs he has taken in a Brussels art gallery, then enlarged on his laptop.

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Mr Hubert is a great admirer of these classical paintings, visiting the museum almost every weekend to spend hours fixated on a single tableaux.

It’s there we begin, Gijsemans reproducing one’s experience of being absorbed in a painting – the eyes being drawn into then over different details before attempting to assess the whole – even as others’ curiosity is only momentarily piqued or pass by with a specific destination in mind. There are two pages each containing nine square panels encompassing exactly the same space from the same angle as its occupants come and go, including a mother and child.

“Come on, love, let’s get your coat.”
“Are we going home?”

Only reluctantly does Mr Hubert move on.

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It’s a very quiet book, light on dialogue, partly because Mr Hubert is a solitary man who lives alone. In addition, he’s simply not very good at conversation. When attempted, it’s awfully awkward. When his lonely landlady living below invites him in for a drink he usually declines. Perhaps he might accept, just the once.

She likes art too, and has a large reproduction of Manet’s Olympia hanging above her mantelpiece. Nude and slightly confrontational, it could be considered a conversation starter. Or a conversation stopper.

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It’s so quiet that on some of Mr. Hubert’s many visits to the museum you can almost hear his footsteps echoing in the empty gallery as he approaches a specific exhibit. But between the calm solemnity of the Fine Art establishment and his equally silent sanctuary, the city itself must be negotiated and Gijsemans suddenly and abruptly throws in an overwhelming double-page spread of complete chaos and cacophony: a kaleidoscope of concrete and cranes – of cityscape impressions lurching at angles against each other without panel gutters to buffer them, as disorientating to our eyes as they are to Mr. Hubert’s…!

Then peace is restored once more.

The lines here are too delicate for any of these pages to be described as regimented, even when fixed with the same unyielding focus as when Mr Hubert is persuaded to give a bloke a lift back from Paris to Brussels. But they are very precise. There’s a formality to them reflective of the dialogue. It’s difficult to know what Mr. Hubert is thinking behind his glasses, behind his eyes. He often seems furtive, uncertain, nervous, perhaps disconcerted, especially when others are taking photographs in the galleries, or ask him to. I think he thinks he’s being watched by those two on admissions.

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The funniest pages are when Mr. Hubert draws his blinds so that he can no longer be distracted by the opposite window when painting. Or reading. Or watching TV. But he simply can’t settle.

Sometimes hiding something, obscuring it from view, can prove far more fixating than leaving it in plain sight.

As Baroque painters Guido Reni or Caravaggio knew very well.

SLH

Buy Hubert and read the Page 45 review here

Miracleman Book 4: The Golden Age vol 1 h/c (£22-50, Marvel) by Neil Gaiman & Mark Buckingham with D’Israeli.

Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham’s first of three MIRACLEMAN Ages, perfectly accessible to newcomers. If you’ve not encountered Alan Moore’s run on MIRACLEMAN, no matter. I’ve not read it in 25 years and, in any case, this is a completely different game, a completely different genre.

In fact, it’s a series of short stories in multiple genres with Mark Buckingham employing multiple styles using multiple media – often in the same chapter.

This is “What if Gods walked among us? What would our lives be like?”

This is not their story; this is ours. And it is ever so rich in ideas.

“It was the best of times.
“And what was miraculous was this: everybody knew it…
“For once in our history, the Golden Age was not separated from our hearts and minds by the incomprehensible gulfs of misty-eyed time. It was here. It was now. It was ours.
“God was in his Heaven…
“All was right with the world.”

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In a book spanning seven years we will meet individuals whose lives have been changed by the Age of Miracles and the catastrophe in London which preceded it.

It begins overlooking London and the gleaming, golden statue of Miracleman posed like Lord Nelson atop his column, before pulling ever upwards to take in the Thames and the unimaginably vast new Pyramid, Olympus, which we see rising above the clouds, above the atmosphere, far more visible from space than the Chinese Wall as the sun blazes behind our globe, then finally above them both, above us all… Miracleman gazing down upon us, this thoughts, his perspective, unknowable.

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In the first chapter we meet a man who lost everything in London except Hope. He lost his family in that atrocity but now he is making a pilgrimage along with three others, climbing Olympus to pray and petition. Imagine: making a pilgrimage not to some city made holy through associations with the past, but to petition God himself in the flesh.

At the foot of the steps, the base of this cathedral, Buckingham has created the most massive vaulted ceilings most minds’ eyes couldn’t even contemplate, coloured in gold by D’Israeli like so many more Baroque details to come which are embossed with the Miracleman logo. One is left in no doubt of the awe shared by these strangers. The colours become trippier under more modern, neon installations, a hint of the frazzling some minds will suffer as the atmosphere becomes rarer, one individual undergoing a complete Bill Sienkiewicz, expressionistic meltdown.

And what will they encounter at the top? What are their prayers? How will they be answered?

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The second tale is told during a post-coital cigarette, Jason’s first, to a lover under cover of the sheets. It’s of his own little miracle – an encounter and an escape to the seaside full of period British details.

The third also involves a love life, drawn with an apposite ‘80s poster chic reminiscent of comics’ Paul Smith, as a whisper from lonely John Gallaway is overheard by Miraclewoman high up in the sky during in an electrical thunderstorm. He has retired to a countryside windmill which forms part of a worldwide network powering the planet after becoming disillusioned by imperfections in his lovers. Typing those two sentences reminds me just how intricately Gaiman layered his ideas.

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Next up is the one episode which might require a bit of prior MIRACLEMAN knowledge, but there is a full-page recap at the front of the book. It’s a discussion between two school children – and arguments between others each drawn in a different kids’ cartoon style about the increasing probability of modern miracles – about the possible return of Kid Miracleman, the cause of the catastrophe in London, just as Jesus rose from the dead. I like the flipping of the sides there. The one thing that puzzles me still about the interlude is why the girl is drawn like Jaime Hernandez’s Hopey. I’m sure once someone points it out, it will seem ridiculously obvious. Is it the anti-establishment angle? Possibly, yes. I know why the whole is drawn as it is: for the sake of a punchline I don’t think you’ll see coming. I know I didn’t.

And so to my favourite, ‘Notes From The Underground’, the characters drawn in white pencil crayon (a chalk-like effect) against almost pitch-black subterranean scenes of photorealistic classical beauty reflecting Olympus above them. They’re lit by D’Israeli in dark purples and greens like a tropical nocturnal house in a zoo.

Down below Mors is resurrecting the dead into android bodies, like Andy Warhol who really is a scream. He’s actually Andy 6 because there are multiple, identical copies – of course there are! Andy is success-orientated, money-fixated, fey, jealous, bitchy and ever so slightly vacuous. It’s a perfect impression!

“I wish there was money down here, though. Without money, how do you know you’re doing well?”

It’s a recurrent joke which becomes cumulatively funnier. I won’t spoil it for you.

“We’ve started telling each other stories.
“I like stories. Stories make me happy.
“The trouble is, he wants me to talk, too, and I just like listening, and watching.
“I stayed away for a few days, but then the other Warhols started asking if we’d had a tiff. They’re rats.
“I don’t like myself very much.”

As I say, a perfect portrait as are Buckingham’s. That particular scene with its immaculate compositions made me howl.

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As you can probably tell by now, so much of this is about the human heart. Society may have changed – science or miracles too, but the human heart hasn’t and, as much as anything else, this is a book of contemplation.

Our next heart belongs to Rachel Cohn, a film director who wanted a child to melt a cold place inside her: someone who would adore her, need her and never leave her – at least not for long. Her partner’s certainly unfaithful. So she applied, like other childless women, for a donation of Miracleman’s seed. The result was beautiful baby Mist, who looks like a two-year-old toddler but doesn’t need her mother at all. She floats in the air, glowing, and can traverse the globe in a second. There’s far more going on in her head than it looks. She doesn’t say “Mommy” but “Mother”.

“Mother? How’s the new movie going?”
“It’s fine, hon.”
“That’s good. I saw the last one.”
“Did you like it?”
“Mm. It was okay. But metafictions have an intrinsic distancing effect I think you’re foolish to ignore: the ideas were strong, but if you don’t care about the people, then what does it matter?”

Out of the mouths of babes…

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There’s a children’s story within this story told at bedtime which contains an awful lot of “Good-bye”s.

All these individuals we will meet once again after a grainy, photo-referenced ‘Spy Story’ of signs, countersigns, double- and triple-crosses, and reality-eroding, raging paranoia.

Like the opening gambit, ‘Carnival’ is a pilgrimage, this time a public one where our by now familiar faces join tens if not hundreds of thousands celebrating the Age of Miracles in London after five days of mourning the modern holocaust. It’s a truly inclusive affair, a climax which concludes with a boon, an act of divine beneficence, the one gift so many of us dream about.

Next: The Silver Age.

After that: well, that one is all about Them.

SLH

Buy Miracleman Book 4: The Golden Age vol 1 h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Katzine: The Eagle Issue (£5-50, self-published) by Katriona Chapman.

It’s become tradition to kick off any KATZINE review with a declaration of adoration when it comes to the covers and production values.

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KATZINE #2
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KATZINE #4

I did it over and over again – and why wouldn’t I? Because look!

(Okay, not so much with #4, but only because I failed to find time to write anything at all – I can assure you I read it with relish!)

These are no chapbooks – cheap affairs knocked out for maximum accessibility in t’olden days – but amongst the most luxurious mini-comics of all time with the most sensuous pencils printed on warm, fine-grained paper stock with even thicker card covers.

Speaking of covers, wait until you open this one up for the Eagle-fish interface endpapers! Such balletic grace and beauty!

Truly this is the EAGLE ISSUE, Chapman wisely now eschewing enumeration in favour of theme or content on account of readers believing they needed to buy the lot and read in a specific order. You do need to buy the lot – obviously – but you don’t. Each autobiographical outing is completely self-contained with episodes from any era of Chapman’s adventurous life.

Don’t mistake introversion for agoraphobia or indeed self-absorption. Katriona has travelled widely both in Britain and abroad and has much to impart to those eager to listen and learn, rendered in a way which perfectly captures the spirit of place. You might as well be travelling with her.

Regular features return this issue – ‘Local Business’, ‘Fear’ and ‘Love’ along with a botanical page – but there’s also a break for Katriona to explain to the uninitiated from personal experience what being shy does and does not involve. Like Allie Brosh’s HYPERBOLE AND A HALF, this is done solely to promote greater understanding of the misunderstood, and extroverts would be well advised to take a moment out of their convivial lives to take note of the Energy Bucket. These are no melodramatic, egomaniacal, attention-seeking vapidities or woe-is-me wailings, but considered reflections on life.

The most thrilling feature this issue involves the titular eagle in which Chapman displays a masterful comprehension of both story building and narrative cohesion in comics. It’s a thrilling four-page encounter on an uninhabited island whose own rugged contours form the adventure’s background, rising then falling over the twin, double-page spreads as Chapman herself explores upwards to her spell-binding sighting in the sky before returning to her more sedentary mother below to witness the puffins they came for in the first place. The inset panels too reflect the semi-symmetrical nature of the narrative – the puffins first sighted far off then tantalisingly close.

All of which bodes wonderfully well for the extended graphic memoir which Chapman is now embarking upon and whose progress she intends to catalogue throughout future KATZINEs in her ‘Graphic Novel Diary’. And if you think that bodes well, you should read her astute self-analysis in this issue’s first instalment, about the considerable and rigorous editorial decisions necessary for moulding a gripping story out of potentially endless and so lifeless clay. Hint: you don’t just slap everything you experience out on the page because then you’re left with tales told by idiots, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Conversely, for thought-provoking, philosophical brilliance which has been so cleverly crafted – and rigorously arranged / edited, please see Eddie Campbell’s ALEC OMNIBUS.

Cheers!

SLH

Buy Katzine: The Eagle Issue and read the Page 45 review here

Thief Of Thieves vol 5: Take Me (£10-99, Image) by Andy Diggle & Shawn Martinbrough.

In which a friend in prison proves quite the motivational factor.

“So what are you in for?”
“Ambition, I guess.”

The first four volumes of THIEF OF THIEVES were a complex series of sly slights of hand, right from the word go, and deliciously so.

Readers were as fooled by writers Spencer, Asmus and Diggle as the FBI agents and less salubrious citizens were by con-man and master thief Conrad Paulson’s long-game manipulations under his infamous guise of Redmond. They never managed to successfully link the two, indeed Paulson’s successfully sued the government twice for false accusations and harassment.

This… this is a much more streamlined scenario, and the surprise is very refreshing.

Conrad has finally done what his ex always wanted and retired, unscathed.

His son Augustus has finally done what his Dad always wanted and stopped attempting to emulate him when he was frankly never any good at it. And do you know what? Wouldn’t it be lame if every predator proves to be an intransigent, spotty leopard?

Everyone can finally breathe out… except for Celia, Paulson’s partner in crime, who’s in far greater need of hard cash than Conrad. With Conrad no longer using it, she adopts his former identify of Redmond, and promptly gets herself arrested and charged not just with her own crime but with all of Redmond’s too.

How in hell are they going to get out that one?

No less clever than ever, I promise you!

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For much longer, more analytical reviews, please see former THIEF OF THIEVES.

SLH

Buy Thief Of Thieves vol 5: Take Me and read the Page 45 review here

The Talion Maker Part 2 (£3-50, self-published) by Neal Curtis…

“… I would also like to thank anyone who has or is trying to make a comic. It is very difficult and I have the utmost respect for you.”

So writing a comic is hard? But what about reviewing them, Neal??!! I’ll let him off actually, because he’s very kindly also thanked Page 45 for our support and encouragement. Plus, he’s just published an academic work entitled Sovereignty and Superheroes, so I do know he has also earned his writing about comics chops.

Stephen reviewed THE TALION MAKER PART 1 (there will be three in total), but just to add I found that opener one of the most engrossing and best written comics I had read for a long time, the seamless continual blending of the threads of the story with tangential transitions so subtle you frequently didn’t realise they’d happened until a panel or two later, when it suddenly occurred that you’d been steered off in a slightly different, albeit highly pertinent, direction.

Thus there was a real sense to me in part one of building a picture. Or rather presenting you with the pieces of a jigsaw one by one, minus the box, and encouraging you to try and assemble it. So what we did we learn by the end of that first part? I think we possibly do need a quick recap before I talk about this second part.

So… New Media Lecturer Daniel has managed to get himself ousted from his University by dint of punching the Dean in the face. The Dean deserved it, indisputably, for his shameless, craven lack of support of Daniel when one of his students sent some Bob Dylan lyrics to Downing Street as an Iraq War protest.

One student risibly arrested under new draconian Anti-Terrorism Legislation later – plus an ill-advised interview given by Daniel which was, shall we say, provocatively edited by a right-wing tabloid journalist with an agenda rather than an interest in promoting the truth – and, well, Daniel’s recourse to some fist-in-the-face stress relief was probably morally justified if not entirely sensible. Pretty sure we’ve all felt like belting a boss at some point, though. Good on you, Daniel, that’s what I and probably 99% of the population would say. Unless you’re an employee of Page 45 obviously, whose bosses are perfect and beyond reproach…

Matters were also tragically compounded further when Daniel lost his girlfriend Hannah, murdered in a neo-Nazi arson attack on an independent bookshop. The Minister for Immigration immediately took to the airwaves to tell everyone Hannah had terrorist links whereas actually she was a much-loved human rights lawyer. You would think by now that the public would recognise the relentless spin soundbites and sneaky reputation-trashing that goes on day in day out, but the politicians know that the vast majority of people subconsciously yearn to trust their leaders so, so much, that they can get away with murder. Quite literally. So what’s a daily dose of a few barefaced lies on practically every topic you care to mention on top for good measure too?

But now, with a eulogy to give, and the wounds of his loss still so raw in his mind and his soul, Daniel is a man pondering how best to obtain some further… summary justice. For let me remind you, the definition of talion is “a retaliation authorized by law, in which the punishment corresponds in kind and degree to the injury.” Or, shall we say… an eye for an eye…

It seems that Daniel might now be becoming increasingly set on a course of action that is, to him at least, morally justifiable according to his own innate, grief-stricken sense of justice, though what he’s possibly intending is certainly not legal in the courts of British law.

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Ah… once again Neal ably demonstrates you do not have to be a great illustrator to make great comics. I have shown part one, and sold it, to several people who have come in to Page 45 asking about making comics, as an example of how great writing can overcome more mediocre illustration.

I guess a few more years of several hours drawing practice a day and I have no doubt Neal’s illustrative abilities will match his conceptual and storytelling ones! I’m teasing, I know he’s a busy man. Plus I don’t want a punch in the face from an irate Lecturer in New Media. Who would? I’ve heard they’re a fearsome bunch with as solid a sense of social justice as you wouldn’t want to feel connecting with your chin…

What Neal does have, mind you, is exceptional abilities in the area of panel and page composition. There are a number of delightful devices and conceits used here, as in part one, which greatly add to the storytelling. From a certain something lurking under the bed in corner of the very first panel which I fear speaks volumes about Daniel’s splintered state of mind, to the overlaid-panel-within-multiple-bordering-panels presentation of the poem about refugees than Daniel finally settles on for his funereal reading, they all embellish a story that already has considerable depths to it.

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Indeed, having just re-read the final few pages I’ve just taken a rather more ominous additional meaning from the final stark panel which sits boldly on its own on the final page. There’s a subtext I’ve possibly been trying to avoid which I now suspect is rising rapidly to the surface. Maybe… And that’s one of the delights of this yarn: it’ll certainly make you think. Daniel, I fear, well, I am pretty sure Daniel has been thinking about it all far too much…

You might conclude I haven’t actually told you too much of the plot for part two. That’s true, I’d prefer you to continue to try and construct the jigsaw for yourself as Neal pseudo-randomly doles the pieces out, shifting backwards and forwards temporally. Suffice to say, this second part does feel like a necessary bridging work. Or perhaps the analogy of walking across a see-saw might be more appropriate. For once you’ve crossed that midway point, the plank is coming down whether you like it or not with increasing rapidity in a manner that is not under your control. I suspect this might well be the case for Daniel.

But as to what the completed picture will look like when the final pieces are placed down, that I genuinely just don’t know. Which in and of itself is an intriguing pleasure, and the sign of a great plot. For that resolution we will have to wait patiently for the third and concluding act…

JR

Buy The Talion Maker Part 2and read the Page 45 review here

Things I Think About Sometimes (£3-00) by Stanley Miller…

Stanley WIZARDS N STUFF Miller returns, another year older and still as delightfully anarchic as ever. He’s a teenager now, our Stanley, thirteen years young, and I can only imagine what the future has in store for him if he persists with comics. I dearly hope so, I can easily see him blossoming into an Anders BIG QUESTIONS Nilsen type of cove, with a very distinct voice and much to say. For the moment, though, he seems for all the world like the natural successor to David Shrigley!

Stanley and Shrigley have something in common actually in that both of them have managed to reduce me to tears of utter, uncontrollable, howling laughter in public with a single illustration. The page of Stanley’s in question is contained within this work, which, if it really is a typical example of things he thinks about sometimes, is proof that Stanley should be locked in a room… with a pad and pencil, and made to draw a lot more comics!

This time around Stanley has decided to opt for the running gag of playfully mangling every single James Bond film title in chronological order complete with a farcically, self-referential illustration hammering home the joke.

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The opening pair of “Dr. Toe” and “From Russia With Gloves” started a smile twitching at the corner of my lips and by the time we’d eased out of the Sean Connery epoch with “Diamonds Are For Trevor” and got to the Roger Moore era proper, there was one belter of a malapropism title-wise in particular I don’t wish to spoil, and I suddenly found myself in absolute hysterics.

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I’m dearly hoping Stanley’s next project will be a piece of sequential-art-based storytelling. I’m absolutely convinced he’s got what it takes to do something as superb as it would undoubtedly be surreal. If you make it, Stanley, and it’s as this good as this, I promise you we’ll sell it. With that said, please keep doing this gag material as well because I think it’s brilliant stuff and frankly who doesn’t need to nearly wet themselves with laughter every once in a while? In fact I’d like to see this material prescribed to people for stress relief, if perhaps however not for incontinence issues…

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Also, as before, Stanley has very kindly added some additional, and different, colours to each cover, ensuring every copy is completely unique. He’s clearly thought about this, our Stanley…

JR

Buy Things I Think About Sometimes and read the Page 45 review here

Black Canary vol 1: Kicking And Screaming s/c (£10-99, DC) by Brendan Fletcher & Amy Chu, Pia Guerra.

“From the moment the lights went up, the Wizard’s Wand show in Detroit was a performance to remember. Paloma Terrific debuted her new custom gear in the rig. D.D. was finally playing to the crowd. Lord Byron sat perfectly in the pocket playing to the crowd. And silent wunderkind Ditto pulled sounds out of her semi-acoustic so otherworldly that Leon Theremin would’ve been dumbstruck.”

– From some music magazine or other.

Artist Annie Wu a great many of you will already know from the deliciously drawn HAWKEYE VOL 3, given which you will be far from surprised that this is not your average superhero comic.

It’s not even your average superheroine comic because although Black Canary still sports fishnet stockings, this isn’t about the long legs, thigh shots and deep, forward-thrusting cleavage otherwise known as “tits’n’ass” comics which are a total disgrace to the medium.

Here the fishnets are torn in punk and post-punk fashion and that’s a studded leather jacket on top of the bodice which reveals nothing at all except a new wave fashion sense as our trouble magnet, now lead singer of the rock band Black Canary, lets it rip into the mic.

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Wu’s lines are all whoosh-whoosh on the page, hair flying everywhere or lolloping over the forehead when the cast is feeling more sedate. It keeps the story sweeping along beautifully and the story right now seems to centre on Black Canary’s mute guitarist Ditto, for although it looked as though D.D. was attracting all the violence spilling onto their set so cutting the gigs short and ruining their reputation, she was merely defending their territory.

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Really they were after the silent and secretive Ditto – she of the ethereal strings – and their assailants were merely the vanguard. What’s coming next (and I do mean what, not who) I can only compare to the Umbral in UMBRAL. Lee Loughbridge’s colours do something clever there: they take over everything on the page – all the linework and shadow which would ordinarily be black – except for the creatures themselves. The effect is to render the inky ones alien, otherworldly and the centre of your eyes’ attention. They’ve got the bands too. Thank goodness D.D. used to be in the Justice League. For five seconds.

So what’s her story, then?

SLH

Buy Black Canary vol 1: Kicking And Screaming s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Superman Unchained s/c (£18-99, DC) by Scott Synder & Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, various…

Of the first issue, I wrote…

Easy to see why DC have let Scott Snyder loose on Big Blue as his extremely popular, and more importantly excellent, run on BATMAN continues unabated. Whether he can replicate that success on what is a rather more… one-dimensional character (and indeed supporting characters – I really am tired of seeing Lois Lane written as highly strung and career-obsessed, Perry as the gruff editor with a heart of gold, and not forgetting comedy relief and donut delivery boy Jimmy Olsen) remains to be seen, but we’re off to a good start here, even if Lois is full-on multi-tasking mode, Perry yelling at all and sundry to meet deadlines and Jimmy off on a donut run…

Okay, secondary characters aside, I did really enjoy this. It’s an interesting enough set-up with multiple satellites falling from the sky, possibly at the behest of Lex Luthor, currently en route to a super-max prison facility, though he does find time to make a brief show-stealing cameo, showing he has nerves of steel, if not the skin to match. And of course, only Superman can catch them all and save the day, except it seems one additional satellite was stopped from falling… But if Superman didn’t do it, nor following his initial investigations any member of the Justice League or other heroes, then who did? Our glimpsed answer, privy only to us fourth-wall breakers (if not Source Wall – sorry crap DC in-joke), shows that Snyder has already got a potential belter of story arc up his sleeve. Promising…

What of the art then? Well, I must say, since Jim Lee’s relatively recent return to DC and subsequent current run on JUSTICE LEAGUE, written by Geoff Johns, I have been reminded just how good his art can be, when he’s actually illustrating something I’m bothered about reading – like ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN – which always helps. Also, this issue features a crazy fold-out page right inside the front cover which gets things off with a bang. It doesn’t entirely work in that once you’ve folded it out, you realise it’s a double page spread on reverse sides of the huge page. I have to admit I did grab a second copy just so I could see what it looked like together in all its glory and who knows, maybe that’s what DC are intending, for everyone to buy two copies, precisely for that reason. Can’t quite imagine how on earth it’s going to work in the trade either, they probably want people to buy two copies of the trade knowing them, but anyway, it’s a nice touch.

[Editor’s note: we haven’t checked!]

JR

Buy Superman Unchained 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.

The Mystic Woods (Signed & Sketched In) (£7-99, self-published) by Rozenn Grosjean

Through the Habitrails: Life Before and After My Career in the Cubicles (£10-99, Dover Publications Inc.) by Jeff Nicholson

Tokyo Ghost vol 1: Atomic Garden (£7-50, Image) by Rick Remender & Sean Murphy

Mercury Heat vol 1 s/c (£14-99, Avatar) by Kieron Gillen & Omar Francia, Nahuel Lopez

Crossed + 100 vol 2 (£14-99, Avatar) by Simon Spurrier & Fernando Heinz, Rafa Ortiz

Eagle Strike: An Alex Rider Graphic Novel (£11-99, Walker Books) by Anthony Horowitz, Antony Johnston & Kanako Damerum, Yuzuru Takasaki

Point Blanc: An Alex Rider Graphic Novel (£11-99, Walker Books) by Anthony Horowitz, Antony Johnston & Kanako Damerum, Yuzuru Takasaki

Skeleton Key: An Alex Rider Graphic Novel (£11-99, Walker Books) by Anthony Horowitz, Antony Johnston & Kanako Damerum, Yuzuru Takasaki

Stormbreaker: An Alex Rider Graphic Novel (£11-99, Walker Books) by Anthony Horowitz, Antony Johnston & Kanako Damerum, Yuzuru Takasaki

Angel & Faith Season 10 vol 4: More Than Kin (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Victor Gischler & Will Conrad, Cliff Richards

Batman And Robin Eternal vol 1 s/c (£22-50, DC) by James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder & Tony S. Daniel, various

Batman Beyond vol 1: Brave New Worlds s/c (£10-99, DC) by Dan Jurgens & Bernard Chang

Batman: Contagion s/c (£25-99, DC) by Alan Grant, Doug Moench & Kelley Jones, Vince Giarrano

Justice League vol 6: Injustice League s/c (£14-99, DC) by Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis, Doug Mahnke, Jason Fabok

Captain America: Fallen Son s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Jeph Loeb & John Cassady, John Romita Jr., David Finch, Ed McGuinness, Leinil Francis Yu

Captain America: Marvel Knights vol 1 s/c (£25-99, Marvel) by John Ney Rieber, Chuck Austen & John Cassaday, Jae Lee, Trevor Hairsine

Civil War: Black Panther s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Reginald Hudlin & Various, Michael Turner

Civil War: Captain America / Iron Man s/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Ed Brubaker, Christos N. Gage, Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev, various

Civil War: Wolverine s/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Marc Guggenheim & Humberto Ramos

Thors: Battleworld s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Chris Sprouse, Goran Sudzuka

X-Men ’92 vol 0: Warzones! s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Chris Sims, Chad Bowers & Scott Koblish

The Flowers Of Evil vol 9 (£8-50, Vertical) by Shuzo Oshimi

The Flowers Of Evil vol 10 (£8-50, Vertical) by Shuzo Oshimi

The Flowers Of Evil vol 11 (£8-50, Vertical) by Shuzo Oshimi

News!

ITEM! THE WICKED + THE DIVINE: Jamie McKelvie is back! Gasp at the blistering recap and teaser!

Wicked And Divine issue 18 teaser 1

Bearing in mind that in reviews of second, and third volumes I will not spoil ANY of volume one – there are carefully worded, designed to intrigue newcomers…

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE VOLS 1 to 3 reviewed by Page 45!

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #18, the first issue after VOL 3 – please pre-order!

Wicked And Divine issue 18 teaser 2

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE deluxe h/c reprinting first two s/cs with extras – please pre-order!

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE Pantheon t-shirts – just a few left now, tiny sizes depleted! Bet you wish you’d pre-ordered!

wicked and divine pantheon tshirt

ITEM! Craig Thompson is signing and speaking at Orbital Comics in London on March 23rd!

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It’s free if you buy a copy of Craig Thompson’s SPACE DUMPLINS (which seems only fair!) reviewed there by our Joanthan. If you’re not going to the signing, by all means purchase from us (We Ship Worldwide!) by if you are, buy from Orbital so you get to see the talk for free!

Also reviewed by us:

Craig Thompson’s HABIBI
Craig Thompson’s BLANKETS (Out of print at the moment)
Craig Thompson’s GOOD-BYE, CHUNKY RICE
Craig Thompson’s CARNET DE VOYAGE (succinctly!)

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ITEM! Extensive interview with Mark Millar on his new series with Stuart Immonen, EMPRESS.

You can pre-order EMPRESS #1 here or just pop it onto your Standing Order.

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ITEM! ‘Transmetropolitan: the 90s comic that’s bang up-to-date on Donald Trump’ by Damien Walter

I reviewed every single volume of Warren Ellis & Darick Roberston’s TRANSMETROPOLITAN, all permanently in stock, lacerating in its indictment of American and British politics as well as voter apathy / abstinence. Attitude on a stick.

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ITEM! Broken Frontier interviewed Ben Gijsemans, the creator of HUBERT, reviewed by Page 45 above.

Black Dog cover

ITEM! Tickets on sale for world-premiere of multimedia performance of Dave McKean’s BLACK DOG: THE DREAMS OF PAUL NASH, initiated by The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, 28th May 2016 in Kendal Town Hall, Cumbria

It will then tour France before returning to The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2016, October 14th to 16th.

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Black Dog 4

ITEM! Dark Horse to release mass market edition of Dave McKean’s BLACK DOG: THE DREAMS OF PAUL NASH original graphic novel of October 5th 2016, 10 days before it is launched, along with a multimedia performance at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Lots and lots of interior art at the bottom of that article!

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ITEM! Legendary 2000AD and LAST AMERICA artist Mick McMahon is the first UK comicbook creator to be announced for The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2016.

The announcements are going to come thick and fast now! I’m sitting on a secret and it’s killing me!

Last American

ITEM! Creators! Publishers! Retailers! Ragamuffins! Applications are now open for exhibiting upstairs and downstairs in Kendal’s Clock Tower at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2016 on Saturday October 15th and Sunday October 16th.

Artists Alley LICAF

Entry for the public to the Clock Tower is ABSOLUTELY free, making such an attractive proposition that in 2014 we took more money than any other weekend back at Page 45 – even Christmas – and then in 2015 we beat that record by 10%… with just 1% of the range of our stock!

So obviously Page 45 will be back in 2016 as ever in our Georgian Room in the Kendal Clock Tower!

Kendall Town Hall

Page 45 at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2015 – that’s last year!

Page 45 at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2014 – massive review with tonnes of photos!

Page 45 is a proud Patron of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival #LICAF @comicartfest

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– Stephen

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