Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews July 2016 week four

Featuring Jade Sarson, Bryan Lee O’Malley & Leslie Hung, that chap John Milton & Pablo Auladell, Inio Asano, Jeff Lemire & Emi Lennox and more!

For The Love Of God, Marie! (£16-99, Myriad) by Jade Sarson.

This isFor The Love Of God Marie cover a book so bursting with love that it will make your hearts soar!

If understanding and kindness is what you crave, I present you with 225 pages of pure passion initially presented in the most heavenly, cohesive coupling of purples and gold.

There will be many more couplings to come and, as the brilliant Baroness Benjamin once brightly advised, “It might have some sexy scenes”. I can guarantee it, and each one will prove unashamedly joyful.

Just look at the cover with its natural, softly shaded flesh and flowing tresses as resplendent as Sandro Botichelli’s ‘Birth Of Venus’, the innocence of its daisy chain and the rosary beads broken – but why?

“They say what’s most important is loving those around you.
“You must love your neighbour… but not like that.
“Can’t be having that… because it’s wrong… right?”

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It’s mixed messages time for our Marie Lovitt, a girl who instinctively understands what’s most important in life and acts accordingly: she spreads love wherever she goes!

In addition to her nature, there is also her nurture: the lessons she learns from what she is told. Here’s Marie being taught at Catholic school, aged roughly 12, 14 and 16. Everything below is a quote until I speak to you again.

Marie was a very special girl.
She loved to learn.
“Curie was of the opinion that ‘Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.’”
She loved to understand.
“You must love one another as God has loved you.”
And she loved to LOVE.

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“Please copy down the diagram and add the correct labels for the male and female reproductive organs.”
She had a kind soul, dedicated to understanding people.
Unfortunately, most people misunderstood her.

Right, I’m back. Sorry about that – translating such carefully crafted comics to prose isn’t always easy.

So far, so good but I mentioned mixed messages and unfortunately Marie’s Catholic parents perceive things quite differently. To them the emphatically unqualified ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ comes with some pretty specific exceptions.

They’re more concerned with what their neighbours will think – but only about their daughter. To their promiscuous son’s flagrant bedroom antics, right under their noses, they turn a blind eye. “Boys will be boys” is a phrase that will be bandied about all too often here.

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Instead Marie is constantly chastised for not being “presentable” or “ladylike” enough, a superficiality and sexism which will extend to her teacher-trainer once she’s left school, and those propping up the bar where she’ll find herself serving at to make ends meet.

“No one wants a sad pair of tits at the bar, yeah?”

Before we return to all the love I promised you, we should get this out of the way first then I won’t burden you with it to again: if you think the chauvinism’s bad, brace yourself for racist outbursts, some very harsh and hypocritical recriminations, more poisonous, parental words and an abrupt change in colour palette.

The wonderful thing about Marie, though, is her resilience, her complete lack of superficiality, her compassion at school and her unfaltering, unhesitating urge to constantly reach out regardless of what her classmates might think. This extends first to Colin who jumps his own hurdles without the need of much help (they begin in the bed), to the more troubled William who has hidden depths (they convene in the changing rooms, appropriately enough), and to dear Agnes. They end up spending a lot of quality time in the chapel.

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The other wonderful thing about Marie is her complete lack of shame. I don’t mean that she is shameless, for that has come to mean something else entirely – Marie doesn’t even know what a “slut” is. Instead she has a love of luxuriating in both spiritual and physical pleasure of her friends and simply cannot conceive that there is anything wrong with that, especially when it is done with love. Without a sense of shame, the Catholic nuns have nothing to use against her. She disarms them of their best weapon.

And so we come to Prannath whom Marie meets – still early on in the book – after leaving school in 1965 in order to teach, and this is where the colour scheme comes into its own. This is where it truly shines, Marie’s golden hair radiating in both the sun and the rain from which they shelter together under his yellow umbrella. Both hair and umbrella blaze like charms against all adversity including the elements which tower above and rage around them. I cannot conceive a more romantic image.

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The bruised berry purple of the storm clouds and the thrilling sense of movement remind me of the very first page of Alessandro Sanna’s THE RIVER.

It’s in this same park that Prannath courts Marie with twinkling eyes seen through gold-rimmed glasses whose broad frames reflect his openness and honesty; although if you think he’s averse to a little light mischief then you are mistaken! His body language is endearingly coy then increasingly confident as they play chess together in such softly dappled light under a canopy of leaves.

And, oh, Marie, the smile you take away with you along with his treasured umbrella! Utterly smitten but barely daring to hope, she’s biting her lip, eyes gently closed with dreams of a future, even perhaps in prayer.

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Mouths are one of Sarson’s many fortes as an artist. Obviously there’s the body language and oh so many body forms. You wait until you see from behind an old friend bunched over a bedside in a great big, smothering hug! Zero elegance – because who gives a damn about appearances? – but maximum eloquence about what matters more. Obviously there are also the eyes which are ever so expressive. There are so many carefully considered perspectives too, as when reaching up with a helping hand, or looking down over an empty, indifferent, straight-lined, conformist suburb very early on as a heart is broken and someone is left far behind.

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But the contours of the mouths are like nothing I’ve quite seen before, a long way from the many shortcut clichés so-easily absorbed from traditional sources. I strongly suspect that Sarson has been modelling from herself in the mirror, gurning away to achieve her own individualistic grins and grimaces.

I’ve had to be ever so elusive to give you but the flavour of what’s in store, careful to keep the surprises for you. To do that I’ve also virtually ignored the second two-thirds, so what I must emphasise now is the scope of this truly great graphic novel.

It’s a generational saga and its breadth is such that it covers fifty years and encompasses so much that in addition to being a thumping drama of ecstatic highs and gut-wrenching lows, of parental culpability and the determination to do better, of success and failure and reconsideration, it is also a prime slab of British social history which I rank right up there with the triumph that is NELSON and even with the exceptional, historical memory-jog that is Raymond Briggs’ biography of his parents, ETHEL & ERNEST.

It is also exceptionally inclusive and erotic that will be adored by fans of Jess Fink’s CHESTER 5000 XYV and enjoyed on another level entirely.

This is a book so bursting with Jade Sarson’s love that – as I’ve sworn – it will make your hearts soar.

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But, for the love of God, Marie, where will it all end? How could it tie up?

Oh, ever so satisfyingly and ever so pleasurably that you won’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

That’s such a great title.

SLH

Buy For The Love Of God, Marie! and read the Page 45 review here

Paradise Lost h/c (£20-00, Jonathan Cape) by John Milton, Pablo Auladell.

“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”

Satan was a silly old sod, wasn’t he?

I’m not saying I’d want to spend eternity in Heaven unless it’s my idea of heaven with Guy Pearce stripped to the waist circa Memento, and Billy MacKenzie and the Cocteau Twins on continual, ethereal rotation, but really…? You’d rather be top dog in an incessant rat race of equally deluded demons in some sort of tortuous cesspit than contribute in some small or even substantial way to something slightly more… azure?

For all the fear Satan so lamentably and so successfully instilled throughout the ages through his veneer of self-confidence, with that single sentence he gives the game away: that he is limited by his ridiculous pride and so self-damned to Hell.

What he does next proves that he’s not half so happy with his lot as he likes to make out, either. Liar!

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Spanish artist Pablo Auladell presents us with a Hell as equally at odds with our traditional view of the fiery pit as Gaiman and Kelley Jones did in SANDMAN: SEASON OF MISTS. It may have been Milton’s vision too, I don’t know; I’ve never attempted to read the original until now. Either way, what we have here is an endless, colourless gloom so dispiriting that I find it far more frightening. That, to me, would be the terror of an eternity: a monotony of unbroken, infinite, soulless grey.

Auladell juxtaposes this with glimpses of Heaven bathed in the copper oxide aquamarine which we know so well from municipal and ecclesiastical roof tops. It’s used in the lettering too, and the graphic novel is printed on such perfectly chosen paper that it shines.

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Back down below, and I love the way in which, as “the Stygian council” disbands, the winged denizens of hell swarm from Satan’s tower like flies from a putrescent corpse or pile of dung.

Belial, Beelezbub and friends have just discussed their next move after being cast down from above. Open warfare won’t work because, you know, “omnipotent”. Guile ain’t going to cut it because also “omniscient”. Recanting would be rubbish on account of subservience and we all know by now that they’re not keen on that.

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No, what they want to do is truly exasperate Him, get under His skin – to hit Him where it Hurts. And Beelzebub has a cunning plan:

“What if we find some easier enterprise?
“There is a place (if ancient prophetic fame in Heaven err not), another world…
“The happy seat of some new race called Man.
“Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn what creatures there inhabit, of what mould, or substance, how indued, and what their power…
“And where their weakness.”

Wait for it! Killer move coming!

“Let us seduce them to our party, that God may prove their foe.
“This would interrupt His joy,
“And our joy upraise in his disturbance;
“When his darling sons hurled headlong to partake with us.”

Nice! We can’t beat God, so let’s sully his most cherished creation. That’s going to smart something chronic.

It’s like the Farage of UKIP realising that his party will never win a straightforward General Election or he a seat as an MP himself. Why not gain a vainglorious victory instead, less directly, by corrupting the British public with unwarranted fears about immigration and tempt them to his cause with illusory lies about the benefits of economic independence? Let’s fuck everything up purely for personal self-satisfaction! Destroy Britain to damage Europe! Hooray!

Added bonus: the British population are then left riddled with helpless, hopeless guilt because they as individuals went and pressed that bloody button.

Nice one, Satan, it’s your best one yet. I don’t think I’m stretching things, do you?

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I am completely converted to the art in all its eeriness but I have to confess: my God, but Milton drones on. Repetitive, much…?

I’m sure the language was a tour de force in its day to those that learned, but it’s no fun to read right now and I grew so frustrated at having to decipher its every meaning that, I confess, I jumped ship. I abandoned my post long before the final furlong or Judgement Day. I don’t even know if Judgement Day is referenced but I do spy Adam and Eve.

Honestly, what an ignoramus.

SLH

Buy Paradise Lost and read the Page 45 review here

Snotgirl #1 (£2-25, Image) by Bryan Lee O’Malley & Leslie Hung with Mickey Quinn.

Meet Lottie Person, who seems so serene on the surface.

“I’m fresh.  I’m fun. It’s just who I am.”

A fashion blogger with glossy green hair and a high hit rate, her life is pretty much perfect.

Her fans are devoted (she knows), her blogs are the best (she believes) and that goes without saying (she blasés). New verb.

“Except my friends are all horrible people.
“And my boyfriend decided we’re on a break.
“And oh yeah –“

OH NO!

“I have allergies.”

She has such severe allergies that they rule her life. Under the carefully controlled camera conditions of fashion photography, she radiates, she glistens, she sheens. Hung and colour artist Quinn have her emanating girly-girl, cartoon sparkles and her hair bathed in wavy light as if seen through some sort sub-aquatic prism.

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But a surge in pollen or one moment of stress can render her centre asunder. You carry that knowledge wherever you go. Here’s her new doctor, offering her a brand new medication drug trial:

“So much pain in your eyes. You’re a flower afraid of the sun. Lottie… haven’t you suffered enough?”
“Yes, Dr. Dick,” she wells up to herself, “I have suffered enough. I’m a beautiful flower and I deserve to be extremely happy!”

Lord, but I’m taking liberties with verbs.

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In any case it’s just an illusion. Catch Lottie alone at night – free from prying eyes – with her laptop, her allergies, her issues, her tissues and she is one angry, competitive, social-media mess with raging jealousies.

Lottie has locked herself in to a life and a style that can’t handle criticism or blemishes of any other kind. She reduces her so-called friends or at least peers and even complete strangers to one-word labels, defining them by a single trait: Cutegirl, Trashboy, Normgirl, Sandigirl, Custodialdude. She doesn’t appear to like anyone except herself. Oh wait – she doesn’t like Lottie, either.

As Marc Almond once wrote, “Is it me who’s feeling insecure?”

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Then she meets fluster-free, uninhibited, self-assured Caroline, a start-up blogger of extraordinary natural beauty whom she’s so taken by that she immediately christens her Coolgirl and agrees to meet at a bar. Lottie doesn’t go to bars, but…

“People can change! This selfie proves it!”

Nothing that happens next will you in any way see coming. Nothing! No, it’s not same-sex pash time. No, it’s not brand-new boyfarama, either. But I have told you everything that you need to know. I do hope that no one else has spoiled this for you.

Pick this up quick, before someone does! There is far more going on that I’ve so far intimated. The creator of SECONDS, SCOTT PILGRIM and LOST AT SEA has proved himself over and over again to be a shrewd observer of personal foibles and contemporary interaction. Here each page is packed with both combined in single sentences like inaccurate, emoji-ridden texts sent through a cafe window instead of any meaningful one-to-one communication which could be achieved simply by stepping through a door!

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Hung and Quinn grow better and better with each successive page. I love how everything opens up (from the comparatively confined space) in the two pages where Lottie and Caroline have a meeting of minds over one ridiculously specific coffee. Later in the hot, dark, windowless bar claustrophobia returns, the pressure ramps up, and you can almost feel yourself sweating and spinning thanks to Quinn’s Bourbon colours.

And then you can relax when white space returns in the sanctuary of a toilet cubicle. Can’t you…?

Welcome to my nightmares.

As someone who used to blush or flush at the slightest provocation in public – after which there’d be no recovery for hours – I am ticking the recognition box of wretched self-consciousness and the fear that it could erupt at any second.

Bryan too is writing for experience – and you can tell – in his case with similarly severe allergies. There’s a bit in the back about all of that: a one-page comic drawn by himself.

SLH

Buy Snotgirl #1 Leslie Hung cover and read the Page 45 review here

Buy Snotgirl #1 Bryan Lee O’Malley cover and read the Page 45 review here

Goodnight Punpun vol 2 (£16-99, Vis) by Inio Asano.

Ideally Punpun would like everyone to be happy. He’s quite like to be happier himself.

“Punpun was sick of his own optimism.”

Don’t worry, it won’t last.

From Inio Asano, the most unpredictable Japanese comicbook creator that I’m aware of, comes a second instalment of GOODNIGHT PUNPUN which takes a startling turn for the dark. Although my search for interior art online suggests that we’ve only just begun.

Before we get there, comedy comes in the form of a teacher who has only one expression whatever he says – or doesn’t say – which is boss-eyed and open-mouthed, like a particularly gormless goldfish. There’s a similarly afflicted student who lists slightly as she hovers like a slack-jawed ghost, her back to the others and her hair hanging down in twin, lank bunches like so much pond weed.

“I’m not interested in shallow boys like that,” she pronounces as they discuss teenage Yaguchi’s reputedly prodigious member. I don’t know which is funnier: the delusion or the non sequitur.

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The Onodera family’s an odd one. School student Punpun lives with his excitable, drunken mother and her brother Yuichi who moved in to help out following the father’s… departure. They alone are drawn as stick-limbed, cartoon birds, uncle Yuichi perpetually adorned by a woollen hat. Punpun’s easily flustered timidity is emphasised that throughout he never says a word directly, leaving his friends and relatives to interpret his actions, whereas his uncle never shuts up. Even so, it transpires that he’s been keeping what really lies within tightly bottled up.

Punpun and his uncle are both paralysed by guilt and self-loathing, the first over something he’s not even done yet, the second over a series of events that happened five years ago. It’s a recollection / confession which grows increasingly ominous, even more worrying then finally… good grief!

There’s layer upon layer of I-never-saw-that-coming and it goes a long way in explaining why Punpun’s uncle goes to such enormous, toe-curling lengths to sabotage his own chances of romantic bliss with cafe waitress Midori Okoma.

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Midori is sweet, sincere and both generous and grateful when shown kindness. She’s 25 to Uncle Yuichi’s 33 which is no gap at all, both of them are single, and she is honest and open about her genuine adoration of Yuichi. So what is his problem?

Well, here’s an earlier conversation with a local grocery clerk:

“Yuichi, do you think being alive is fun?”
“Well… what can I say…? It’s not about whether or not it’s fun anymore…”
“Wow… that’s really cool. Then what is it about, Yuichi?”
“Atonement, maybe.”

What happened five years ago is layered and complex and intense – as is Midori and Yuichi’s attempts to work through it and reconcile the past with the present, and I’ve chosen our interior art carefully to hint but not divulge.

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This substantial sequences forms the centre of the book, sandwiched in between Punpun’s own internal self-flagellation on either side, which isn’t helped by the incessant taunts and temptations of a voice in his head whom Punpun has decided is God. He appears to Punpun as a sort of celebrity guru, a hipster with a beard and afro – a grinning, two-dimensional cardboard cut-out.

For all that and more I’d refer you to our review of GOODNIGHT PUNPUN VOL 1, but essentially Punpun’s primary obsession is over a girl called Aiko whom he’s already failed once and who finally reveals one of her fears here:

“You know, I have the same dream over and over. I dream that I’m waiting for someone for a long time.
“In the dark, on a beach, I’m waiting for someone for years and decades.
“But then, at some point, I notice that someone is staring at me. It’s a middle-aged woman I’ve never seen before, but I’m so happy to see her that I pull my feet out of the sand and run over to her.
“But when I get there, it’s just my own reflection in the water.”

Asano’s books take a dozen pages to acclimatise to, after which there’s no leaving them on the table till later. And they’re lengthy. This one comes in at 400 pages long.

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Hands always play a prominent part, and he can draw a tear wobbling on the edge of a lower eyelid with just the right surface tension, transparency and refraction. But the most phenomenal detail is reserved for landscapes, even at night, and the weather – as ever – is going to make itself felt during the climactic scenes.

SLH

Buy Goodnight Punpun vol 2 and read the Page 45 review here

Plutona s/c (£12-99, Image) by Jeff Lemire & Emi Lenox.

Deep in the dark, green coniferous forest, a very long way from the bustling Metro City, a woman lies battered and broken and dead. A fly crawls across the black cloth which partially obscures her face. It will be a miracle if anybody finds her.

“Teddy! You’re still not dressed? You better hurry or… “

Teddy’s been studiously logging the morning Metro news. Teddy’s a cape-spotter and there’s been a rare sighting of the reclusive Plutona in combat high over the city’s East end. It’s pretty exciting!

“… You’ll be late for school.”
“Almost ready, Mom.”

That’s Diane, just applying the subtle finishing touches to her light make-up. She can’t wait to wear her grey jacket to school now that it’s been embellished with spiked metal studs. She’s a pretty natty dresser, with a matching, skull-adorned neck chief and olive t-shirt.

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“Yo! That coat looks awesome!”
“You think? Not too much? I did it last night.”
“I want it.”

And what little Mie wants, she usually gets. No “please”, no “thank you”, just “bad ass” once she’s wearing it.

“I get it back at lunchtime.”
“Deal. Awesome!”

She doesn’t get it back at lunchtime.

Then there’s Ray with his black eye. While Teddy, Diane, Mie and her younger brother Mike have been coaxed down to breakfast by their parents, Ray’s been trying to raise his Dad, late for work and passed out on the sofa, beer can still in his hand.

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It won’t be the last time that Lemire contrasts the four households. While Ray sneers and jeers his way to what he hopes is top-dog status in the small pack at school, he’s not just a big man at home. Forced to endure chain-smoked cigarettes and hours of awful television dictated by his dad, he sits there alone and friendless while in the bedrooms Mie texts, Diane plays with her new puppy and Teddy studies Plutona’s history intently.

Because earlier that evening they found the body – Plutona’s body – and they don’t know what to do.

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In a small-scale way it reminded me of Patrick Ness’ ‘The Rest Of Is Just Live Here’ – highly recommended – in that this emphatically not about the action which precedes the main thrust of the tale (I could have done without the flashback at the end of each chapter drawn by Lemire recounting Plutona’s activities the evening before), it’s about what happens to the small-town kids at the periphery.

Lemire’s observation of teenage tensions, strained friendships, loyalties and disloyalties – those tiny, careless betrayals that stack up – is what I enjoyed most about this book, along with Lenox’s fashion sense, subtle, subdued acting and Bellaire’s luminous colours. The teenagers’ eyes are wide and glowing – apart from little Mie’s which are pitch black. The sunrises and sunsets are splendid, with a thrilling spirit of time and place, especially at night under torchlight in the woods.

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Hold on: if they all agreed to keep the secret, who’s out there, alone in the woods, with Plutona’s body? What could they possibly want with it?

I doubt it’s who you’ll expect. Also: they’re not alone.

SLH

Buy Plutona s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Huck vol 1 s/c (£10-99, Image) by Mark Millar & Rafael Albuquerque.

ThisHuck cover is a book that begins as a very sweet tale about a man with a heart of gold and an earnest desire to help whoever he can, whenever he can. He doesn’t wait to be asked, he dreams up kind deeds for the day: selfless surprises like leaving money that he’s saved up in a library book for a stranger; mowing the lawn for all the old people in his remote seaside hamlet; helping a neighbour clear a space for a new barn; taking out all the trash out for everyone overnight.

It’s a lot of work for one man, but he’s very capable.

Huck’s not what you’d call bright in the academic sense nor is he worldly wise. But he’s exceptionally bright in every other sense, beaming at the prospect of giving pleasure. He seeks no reward except the knowledge that someone’s life is made easier, happier or safer.

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His friends are his family for as a baby Huck was left outside the sleepy town’s orphanage with a note in his basket:

“Please love him.”

And they did. And they do. And he loves them very much back in return.

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All he asks is that they keep his deeds secret because, well, if the rest of the world found out that Huck could uproot a three-foot-wide tree stump with his bare hands, that town wouldn’t be so sleepy no more.

The rest of the world finds out.

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The first chapter is magical in a ‘Forrest Gump’ way. I can’t think that wasn’t its inspiration. And there’s a lot of love left to come.

But there’s also a whole lot of hurt.

Albuquerque manages to convey so much in Huck’s physique and body language beyond his weight and prowess, and there’s an earthiness to Dave McCaig’s colouring right from the beginning so that when the book takes a very sharp turn into unhappier terrain it doesn’t jar one jot. It’s as expressive as Eisner, especially when startled, and while so many of those who surround Huck grow nasty, Huck’s face retains its little-lost-boy look of astonishment under all but the direst circumstances.

SLH

Buy Huck vol 1 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Doom Patrol Book 2 (£22-50, DC) by Grant Morrison & Richard Case, many.

“They’re going to… to exterminate imagination and… strangeness…
“They’re building death camps for our dreams…”

A second frazzling feast of Grant’s mind-melting, uber-arty psychohero series which now contains the original, thinner third and fourth volumes and includes litigation-sensitive Flex Mentallo‘s first appearance. You know those Charles Atlas adverts where the beech nerd gets sand kicked in his face? Flex is the end product.

On the whole, though, he reflects the saner side of the spectrum when you consider that the Doom Patrol’s new team member is their own HQ: a sentient stretch of semi-detached housing called Danny The Street. With a penchant for Palare, he’s pretty useful accommodation. Able to do his own dishes, cross-dress his own windows and teleport wherever he fancies, Danny’s going to save a hell of a lot in bus fares. Quite good for rescue missions too.

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If there’s an overall theme to Morrison’s tenure, it’s constant metamorphosis: Rebis’ initial merged state as man, woman and negative energy being, then eventual evolution towards the end; Cliff’s constant robotic body upgrades (which here involves an enormous set of crustacean legs); Rhea’s emergence as if from a cocoon as much as a coma; or indeed Crazy Jane’s abrupt transfigurations as each of her sixty-four personalities with their own unique power vie for control of her body. And that’s just the Patrol itself.

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Then there are supervillains like Agent “!” in search of The Element of Surprise, Number None (“the person who bumps into you when you’re late for the train; the chair that collapses underneath you when you’re trying to make a good impression on your girlfriend’s parents; that man who seems thin but somehow you can’t get past him because he takes up the whole sidewalk…”) and The Beard Hunter, a Punisher parody who’s really a closet case unable to grow his own facial hair:

“You’re thirty-six years old,” scolds his mother. “Don’t you think it’s about time you had a girlfriend?”
“Well, I-I-I’ve got Shu-Sheba. Sheba. What’s wrong with her?”
“Sheba’s a German Shepherd, Ernest. I want grandchildren, not a police investigation.”

One of the most outstanding scenes is a trip to his police station where all the bobbies are shouting “Mee maw mee maw mee maw” and the notices on the walls prove more ambitious that most:

“Wanted: Hope”
“Wanted: The Shape Of Things To Come”
“Wanted: Light At The End Of The Tunnel”.

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The second half kicks off with Flex Mentallo having stumbled upon some unknown horror in the heart of The Pentagon.

“Why is The Pentagon the shape it is?”
“You might as well ask, “Who runs America? Or maybe you just did.”

Also on offer this episode: The Kaleidoscape, the Anathematicians of The Mesh and The Tearoom of Despair.  Meanwhile The Painting That Ate Paris has resurfaced in Venice, Professor Caulder’s building something he probably shouldn’t, Rebis is about to engage in sex with him/her/itself, and Dorothy… Dorothy really should tell the others what price she’s having to pay in order to use her strange abilities.

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Oh yes, there’s also a war on…

“Why are they shouting at each other?”
“Because we have entered the Zone of Words That Kill. Now… Where’s my dictionary?”

SLH

Buy Doom Patrol Book 2 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.

Bone Coda 25th Anniversary s/c (£13-99, Cartoon Books) by Jeff Smith

Wilds End vol 2: Enemy Within (£14-99, Boom) by Dan Abnett & I.N.J. Culbard

The Arab Of The Future vol 1: 1978-1984 (£18-99, Two Roads) by Riad Sattouf

Never Goodnight (£14-99, The Friday Project) by Coco Moodysson

DMZ Book vol 2 (£18-99, DC) by Brian Wood & Riccardo Burchielli

Red Thorn vol 1: Glasgow Kiss s/c (£10-99, DC) by David Baillie & Meghan Hetrick

Lost Tales (£8-99, Phoenix) by Adam Murphy

Guardians Of The Louvre (US Edition)  (£22-99, NBM) by Jiro Taniguchi

New Suicide Squad vol 3: Freedom s/c (£14-99, DC) by Sean Ryan, Various & Philippe Briones, Various

Batman: Detective Comics vol 7: Anarky s/c (£13-50, DC) by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato

Abc Warriors Return To Ro Busters h/c (£14-99, 2000AD) by Pat Mills & Clint Langley

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor vol 3: Hyperion (UK Edition) s/c (£10-99, Titan) by Robbie Morrison, George Mann & Daniel Indro, Mariano Laclaustra, Various

DC Superhero Girls: Final Crisis s/c (£8-99, DC) by Shea Fontana & Yancey Labat

Agents Of SHIELD vol 1: The Coulson Protocols (£13-50, Marvel) by Marc Guggenhein & German Peralta

Uncanny X-Men vol 6: Storyville s/c (£17-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Chris Bachalo

X-23 Complete Collection vol 1 s/c (£31.-99, Marvel) by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Various & Billt Tan, Francis Portela, Various

Monster Hunter Flash Hunter vol 1 (£6-99, Viz) by Keiichi Hikami & Shin Yamamoto

Monster Hunter Flash Hunter vol 2 (£6-99, Viz) by Keiichi Hikami & Shin Yamamoto

Neon Genesis Evangelion Omnibus vols 13-14 (£12-99, Viz) by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Seraph Of The End, Vampire Reign vol 3 (£6-99, Viz) by Takaya Kagami & Yamato Yamamoto

Seraph Of The End, Vampire Reign vol 4 (£6-99, Viz) by Takaya Kagami & Yamato Yamamoto

Seraph Of The End, Vampire Reign vol 5 (£6-99, Viz) by Takaya Kagami & Yamato Yamamoto

Seraph Of The End, Vampire Reign vol 6 (£6-99, Viz) by Takaya Kagami & Yamato Yamamoto

Seraph Of The End, Vampire Reign vol 7 (£6-99, Viz) by Takaya Kagami & Yamato Yamamoto

Seraph Of The End, Vampire Reign vol 8 (£6-99, Viz) by Takaya Kagami & Yamato Yamamoto

Seraph Of The End, Vampire Reign vol 9 (£6-99, Viz) by Takaya Kagami & Yamato Yamamoto

News!

Not this week. I’ve only had two days off to read and review the above when normally I have three!

“You have three?!”

Yep, ordinarily I serve at the shop four days a week and it is a joy!

But there’s obviously no time to read comics on the shop floor. It’s ordering this, restocking that, paying for all the gorgeous comics we sell while accounting for everything to those lovely tax people while providing ebullient shop-floor recommendations to anyone who asks (and prompting plenty who don’t) and taking your ever so lovely, hard-earned lolly for which we thank you so much!

All my reviews are therefore written well away from that marvellous, Madding Crowd on my days off and during those scant sober hours after six.*

This week I’m flying solo on two days alone and I don’t think I’ve done badly, do you?

– Stephen

* Some reviews blatantly written while steamingly drunk. Sorry etc  But not this week.

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