Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews July 2016 week one

Featuring Hope Larson & Rebecca Mock, Emma Rios, Dan Berry, John Cei Douglas, Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples, Jodorowski & Moebius, Ian Larsen, Rob Williams & Henry Flint, Mark Millar & Frank Quitely, more

Static (£4-00) by John Cei Douglas.

Another spot-varnished beauty, whose sheen makes the evening outside glow.

Unfortunately the protagonist is ordering in, and has been doing for quite some time.

Whenever we’re lucky enough to receive a rare new work by John Cei Douglas, my heart leaps with joy. You could call my heart contrary, given the predominantly quiet, contemplative and often bereft nature of John’s short stories, but his empathy is exceptional and he expresses it so well with a gentle, careful consideration and a precision of panels which is the hallmark of a true craftsman.

His work is some of the most poignant in comics without ever playing to an emotional gallery. Instead what he has to say is true. It is honest and open and born of reflection. Days, weeks and months of reflection, I’d wager.

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Both HOLDING PATTERNS and SHOW ME THE MAP TO YOUR HEART which we made a Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month are currently standing proud on our Mental Health Awareness counter corner, for they contain eloquent evocations and expressions of anxiety and depression – in far from obvious ways – which have proved familiar and so sympathetic to so many.

What we have here is equally halting. What we have in ‘tick tock’ is mortality.

It’s a two-page comic constructed to be read left-to-right across its breadth but – here’s the clever thing – it’s the central two tiers which form the momentum. Those above and below them present a contiguous context. This is the trajectory; those are cookies crumbling.

And that is what I love about comics: invention.

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Also on offer this time: sedentary sedation, more passage of time, and long, lonely nights while the rain keeps on pouring, indifferent to those both within and without. Call me contrary once again but I love the rain. I love watching it through my window at any hour of the day, but especially at night. I’ll open a window even in winter just to hear the patter and scatter on glass.

Here, appearing briefly between two other women in the same story, one older lady ventures out at Ridiculous O’Clock in the morning in search of company. She’s even brought a means to her end. She is thwarted.

They are thwarted.

What makes you think they’re not the same woman?

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Tick Tock.

There’s more.


Buy Static and read the Page 45 review here

Compass South s/c (£13-50, Farrar Straus Giroux) by Hope Larson & Rebecca Mock.

A Compass South covercover makes a promise, but only the contents can deliver.

With its energy, its urgency and its two young twins, this fine-line cover promises a period piece of adventure and opposition akin to Tony Cliff’s teen treasures DELILAH DIRK AND THE TURKISH LIEUTENANT and DELILAH DIRK AND THE KING’S SHILLING, both of which have been knock-out successes at Page 45 with teenagers and adults alike.

I had every confidence, but not even the first clue as to how much would be packed into its 225 pages, how complicated the lives of these two individuals would become from so many different factions intent on tracking them down, hampering their progress and taking what little they have left, while consequent repercussions conspire to keep them apart.

Sorry…? No, they’re not both lads; one of them is a lass, disguised for a reason beyond gender impediment or safety’s sake.

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What I want to impress upon you above all is that this is no mere A to C while B seems insurmountable, though B does seem a pretty tall order for anyone so short. For a start, this is but Book One of FOUR POINTS so C is far from the final objective, but even so I was poleaxed by how many individual threads were so intricately woven within this single volume.

It begins in Manhattan, 1860, with Cleo waiting with Luther, leader of a street-gang of youths, outside an opulent mansion for her brother, Alex, to rob it at night. He fails. Well no, he succeeds in lobbing the silver stash out of the window for Luther to abscond with it, but Alex is caught and sent with his sister to a police station. They’re to be split, Alex remanded to Randall’s Island prison, Cleo dispatched to the nun-run House of Mercy unless they betray Luther’s trust in exchange for a train out of town.

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Alex finds an added incentive in the Daily Tribune advertising for information regarding another set of twins, male but both missing after their father’s long absence, which fit their description. There’s a reward of $200 and that’s a sum they both desperately need. The snag is that they’d need to find their way to San Francisco on America’s west coast and New Orleans on its east is as far as their train ride will carry them.

So far, so insurmountable, and Luther won’t be happy. But I lied.

It begins in Manhattan, 1848, with the twins being bequeathed to a man, Mr. Dodge, by their mother whom he loved. Alas, he’d been parted from Hester for a span of five years. They are not his, but he has no hesitation in adopting the babes even though his own prospects are small and he must travel in order to provide. The stranger also bears two objects from which they must never be parted: a pen-knife and a compass.

But in 1860 Mr. Dodge has failed to return from his most recent travels and wind of what he’s inherited has reached far further than a mere gang of youths…

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I haven’t. Even. Started.

Okay I’ve finished, but Larson and Mock haven’t.

Cleo and Alex are going to face many dangers and many challenges: practical, geographical, judgemental, legal, nautical and hierarchical. But not least among them is their own outlook on life. There are two key players they will share so much time with whose sense of perspective – of values, of priorities – differs from Alex’s own at least. It’s not all about the money.

Being only twelve, they have a lot of growing up to do and it’s not just the unchartered physical terrain which will prove problematic, but emotional awakenings too.

Mock’s inner art is actually much denser than displayed on the cover, and much thicker of line. It’s closer to Hope Larson’s own. I see she supplies colours also and, combined, there is a rich sense of time and space, and how little there may be of either. The rain outside will be ferocious, the lamp-lit intimacy within will have you willing those trapped together into acts of honesty and confessional confidence which Larson won’t let you off easily with. Always there is this tension. Words unsaid are pretty powerful.

So superb is Mock’s New Orleans seen from a seagull’s point of view that you’ll crave more panoramas. Sorry, you won’t get those, but there’s always Book 2.

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Instead you will marvel at how convincing Cleo and Alex are as male twins, without either of them ever losing their individuality. Not once does Mock give the game away, otherwise Cleo’s game would be given away too, both to those around her and to the readers. That’s no mean feat.

This is precisely why I want to tell you about the missing element I’ve so studiously avoided and redacted time after time from this review. It forms at least one whole half of the considerable complications which Cleo and Alex will be forced to deal with directly, each in their own way.

But hey, I had only this cover to go on before I launched in and now so do you.


Buy Compass South h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Saga vol 6 s/c (£10-99, Image) by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples.

“Anyone Saga vol 6 coverwho thinks one book has all the answers hasn’t read enough books.”

This is an indisputable truth.

But it’s also Brian K. Vaughan spreading more than a little authorial love since SAGA is the biggest-selling series of graphic novels on the shelves right now, and he’s suggesting that his readers might like to sample something new too.

Spreading love is what Vaughan and Staples do best. Like THE WICKED + THE DIVINE – equally venerated for its wit, irreverence and beauty – it is one of the most inclusive comics imaginable. Diversity is all, and SAGA’s space setting enables Vaughan and Staples to represent individuals of all shapes, sizes, colours, creeds, sexual orientations, thorax articulations and genital configurations.

And I’m not just saying; I am being a responsible vendor.

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It’s neither prurient nor lurid, but every volume boasts what I now call a ‘Brian & Fiona Moment’ when two of the sweetest creators on the planet remind you that they’re both adults, that you leave these books lying around your grandparents’ bungalow at your own risk and that dragons have solitary sex lives too.

It is, however, deliciously mischievous and iconoclastic, taking every opportunity to turn preconceptions upon their heads. Here’s the always-infuriated Prince Robot – from a race of walking, talking, fornicating television sets – whom we dislike intensely but still adore:

“Why would I degrade myself by putting on a lesser’s uniform? I appear absolutely nothing like the man wearing it.”
“Looks close enough to me.”
“Because you people are filthy racists who think every Robot looks the same.”

Fortunately for this subterfuge, his Coalition partners are equally unenlightened but that’s wilful war / mindless hatred for you.

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Regardless of its superficial setting SAGA is essentially about love instead: love between individuals and for their children. It’s a generational epic which leaps years between volumes, always ending with a WTF moment. Quite often those cliff-hangers are suspended upon separation or reunion. For a book about family, Alana, Marko and their daughter spend a great deal of anxious time apart. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and your heart – as well as theirs – will be left bursting.

Cleverly then, this book begins with three chapters of separated perspectives, each oblivious to what the others parties are up to or how they will eventually converge. Then some begin to converge, always leaving you with a lot of the unknown to forward to.

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This review’s Fiona Staples Life Class for you is eyes. Will you just look at those eyes! Each pair is different, even between lovers. Alana and Marko are not the only two lovers here, though I did love Alana in glasses. No, I’m talking about two others who have very different priorities and outlooks on life, reflected in the bright ambitious glee or softer, soulful solemnity with which takes right from wrong seriously.

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In others’ there is a wide-eyed innocence born, I concede, from a certain lucky ignorance, but just wait until you meet Petrichor! Petrichor’s eyes are constantly trying to discern then evaluate what they’re seeing: attempting to make sense of what they believe they’ve discovered. You can see intellect working in conjunction with instinct behind those two eyes which is a neat visual trick to pull off. But which of the two will win out?

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If I were to sum up SAGA, and the experience of reading it, I would pick this:

Endless, unexpected revelations followed by kindness and truth.

“We’re all aliens to someone.
“Even among our own people, most of us will still feel like complete foreigners from time to time. Usually associated with invasions, abductions, or other hostile acts, the term “alien” gets a bad rap. But over the years, the word has come to mean something very different to me…”

Page-turn for one perfect beat.

“… Future friend material.”



Buy Saga vol 6 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

I.D. (£7-50, Image) by Emma Rios…

“The ID coverstreets should be burning these days.”
“Sigh. I’m afraid I’m not in the mood for talking politics today. It’s been a pleasure…”
“You too?”
“Yup, it’s a bit late. The meeting was rather intense… and we all have a tough decision to make.”
“But… No! No please, don’t… don’t g…”

My very brief review, well précis really, of the first instalment of I.D. when it appeared in ISLAND #1 described it as a sci-fi ménage à trois bodyswapping yarn set against the backdrop of an unstable society beset by anarchistic riots and domestic terror outrages. Yes, three very different individuals are all so uncomfortable with their own bodies that they’ve decided to take the radical step of having their brains transplanted into a donor’s body.

As our three protagonists weigh up the pros and cons of the physical and mental merry-go-round they are about to embark on with this understandably controversial experimental procedure, they’ve decided to meet their new bodies in the flesh and get to know each other better, to discuss their very distinct reasons for wanting the ultimate of fresh starts.


It’ll not surprise anyone to learn this existential escapology doesn’t quite go to plan, as anyone who read the concluding second part, which appeared in ISLAND #2, will already know.

Illustrated in a rather unusual palette of red and white, described much more poetically by Stephen as “silky salmon”, the unique feathery penmanship will be immediately familiar to anyone who has seen any of Emma’s previous work such as PRETTY DEADLY, but let me tell you, she’s an incredible writer too.


Delighted to see she’s included the essay by neurologist Miguel Alberte Woodward which accompanied this work in ISLAND discussing the scientific aspects of her strip and also the current feasibilities of actually performing a brain transplant. I suppose it is probably only a matter of time before this type of procedure is science fact rather than science fiction. With 350 million a week extra post-Brexit being pumped into the NHS I’d imagine we’ll see the first procedure by Christmas… Oh wait, they did say they weren’t in the mood for talking politics today, didn’t they!



Buy I.D. and read the Page 45 review here

Bear Canyon (Signed & Sketched In) (£6-00) by Dan Berry…

To paraphrase the Beastie Boys from their mid-career classic Sureshot, I do like Dan Berry, he’s very.

And then you can basically insert any suitable superlative you like. I think today I will go with consistently brilliant, but I could equally have employed prodigious, hilarious, enigmatic, and indeed, when the mood takes him, insouciant. But enough of the man, what about his comics, I hear you cry?! Well, they’re bloody good too and this is no exception.

Fashioned from absolute nothingness more empty than the vacuum of interstellar space in the span of a mere 24 hours for the 2015 Lakes International Comics Art Festival 24 Hour Comics Marathon – in addition to running the whole shebang – Dan only went and produced what might actually be my favourite comic of his full stop! (The 2014 LICAF 24 Hour Comics Marathon collected edition 24 BY 7 was nominated for a 2016 Eisner award recently by the way).

This is a visual masterpiece and I’m utterly delighted for this commercial release he’s gone for an enlarged A4 size which only highlights the bravura of his penmanship performance on the day… and the night… and a bit of day again… A mere pamphlet-sized A5 pocket book does not sufficiently display the wonders you will find within. Though being perfectly honest, it did actually look brilliant at that smaller size at the festival, it’s just that this is even more impressive. A grower as well as a shower then, if you will.


For there are no less than eight glorious full page spreads amongst the 34 pages, featuring gargantuan craggy cliffs, tumultuous cascading waterfalls, desperately flapping fish and one very, very annoyed bear which benefit from this dramatic upscaling in size from the version that made its dramatic entrance at the festival. I can’t remember if there were medals awarded last year to the hardy Nychthemeronauts who scaled the peaks of mild hysteria and ploughed the troughs of caffeine-crutched tiredness to produce such excellence, but they all deserved them regardless, such was the collective quality of the output.

I seem to recall that Dan even had time to endure a heartfibrillating printing disaster upon realising one of the said full-page spreads had been missed from the file that got sent to the printer. Such is the cool, calm collectedness of the man that he merely strode purposefully to the nearest water closet, had but a mere minor emotional breakdown, then marched straight back out and dealt with it like the consummate comics professional he is.

So! Young Ben and his older sister Amy are riding the rippling rapids for a few days whilst at summer camp. Ben’s taken along a little light reading material inspired by events that took place on that very river entitled… The Lost Expedition Of Bear Canyon. Ah… But nothing seems too much amiss, to begin with at least, as our intrepid explorers float along down the frothy foam without a care in the world. Well, other than the fact that whilst boastful junior counsellor Connor has one eye on the rocks ahead the other is very firmly fastened onto Amy…

When Ben, more than a touch spooked from a creepy story round the evening camp fire, disturbs our budding new romantics and receives his marching orders, he storms off in tears. It’s then as much a surprise to him as to us that he finds himself being consoled by a fast-talking beaver, backed up by a glowering bear, who announces that Ben has been selected to be the River Champion! And that’s where the ride starts to get a little more, quite literally, hairy… and wet. As Ben continues to narrate the lost expedition’s descent into madness from his book, the bear suddenly appears to menace our travellers… and the motor-mouthed beaver demands a sacrifice for the river…


Poor young Ben is about to find his mettle well and truly tested and be given a very difficult decision to make. Will the Lost Expedition of Bear Canyon require a sequel?!! Or can our motley crew possibly escape the capsizing clutches of the greedy gulch unscathed and without the need for a bathyscaphe?!

Note! As he always does, Dan has very kindly sketched and signed in all of our copies, as he has with his Man vs Machine computer catastrophe SENT / NOT SENT, reviewed last week by Stephen.


Buy Bear Canyon (Signed & Sketched In) and read the Page 45 review here

Larsen Around – Niche (£5-00) by Ian Larsen.

“Imagine no possessions
“I wonder if you can…”

– John Lennon, ‘Imagine’

Although its ill-chosen cover resembling a glossy children’s health pamphlet which you might find outside your GP’s surgery doesn’t bode well, what lies within is a side-splittingly subversive series of comics and cartoons which will be spluttered over by devotees of our Lizz Lunney Superstore.

Book-ended by two related cartoons – the first of which will prove infinitely funnier once you’ve read the last – an ‘Inventory of John Lennon’s Possessions’ sits at its centre, requiring just a little more imagination from Ian Larsen than John Lennon evidently mustered when filming the video to ‘Imagine’ in a vast, white, multimillion-dollar mansion.

Still, if you have an enormous number of possessions you do need an enormous possession to house them in, even if the palatial piano room was cleared to fit the film crew. Here are a few:

Bank Book containing millions of pounds
Table to put drugs and money on
Books on Mao (est. up to 90 million dead during peacetime)

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Some of Larsen’s satirical lancing is equally short and sweet, like his ‘Script Doctors’ subtitled ‘Previously unseen early drafts of movie treasures’, which at their best cut to the quick or make up a memorable moment from which to distil their core essence.

Other objects of disaffection include content-averse TV commissioning editors and producers:

“The thing is, our audience doesn’t understand information so can you replace the information with funny ugly people? Yeah.”

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It’s a running gag which grows cumulatively funnier, just like the Berlin music scene 1976 onwards populated by ‘David And His Friends’ like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, musing modestly on their place in history:

“Is Lou coming out tonight?”
“No, he’s become increasingly grumpy and difficult lately.”
“Well you have to give him credit, he is a rock legend.”
I’m a rock legend. We all are.”
“You don’t have to be aggressive about it.”
“Sorry, these German beers are quite strong.”
“At least you aren’t out of your mind on cocaine anymore.”

There’s a scathing stab at territorial music devotion coming down on the envious and ill-informed, an alien encounter on Earth, and a cautionary tale about the potential ramifications of changing your worldwide social media profile picture right in the heart of your home.

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Half of the humour is the veneer of childlike glee belying the bloody contents beneath it, but be not deceived: Larsen can do such instantly recognisable portraits of the likes of Bill Murray that the joke doesn’t need signposting.

For me the most successful comic was the six-page ‘Skip Chippington and the Journey Into Disappointment’, specifically London 1665 as visited by a time-traveller. It plays to readers’ preconceptions of what he will find, how he will be received and the language with which he’ll be greeted… before slapping them all upside the head over and over again, along with what a supposedly 17th Century simpleton will make of our own brave new world.

Only such an economy of expression could make the gags work so well, while the silent panels speak volumes.

I may actually leave a copy in my dentist’s waiting room.

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Buy Larsen Around – Niche and read the Page 45 review here

Madwoman Of The Sacred Heart h/c (£22-50, Humanoids) by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Moebius…

Brand-newMadwoman cover edition from Humanoids! Hurrah!

We can’t wait for Dark Horse’s Moebius Library which kicks off with WORLD OF EDENA!

“Before you pass any further judgement on me, I’ll give you a quote, the author of which you’re not worthy to learn: “There is no good or evil, only the divine presence under this or that trapping.”
“Those are the words of a saint!”
“Enough, you guys, this is a University not a temple.”
“Yeah, shut up, you ass-kissers.”

Finally Jodorowsky and Moebius’ masterpiece of religious and philosophical satire is available in its complete form in English. When Dark Horse first published this work in the US many years ago, they only collected the first two-thirds (and then only in black and white), which culminated in a rather odd and abrupt ending. Given the nature of the work I personally – like many others at the time having chatted with a few customers about it – just assumed it was a deliberately oblique ending which possibly I hadn’t grasped the full meaning of! However I think the actual reason behind not including the third part at the time was that it simply hadn’t been translated yet!

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Anyway, enough preamble. How best to describe MADWOMAN to those unfamiliar with the work?! Professor Alan Mangel is a charismatic and eminent Professor of Philosophy at Paris’ Sorbonne University. Whilst beloved by his students, some of whom have taken to wearing purple in reverence of him, Mangel’s private life is somewhat less successful, with a rather bitter (very soon to be ex-) wife who berates him for his impotence and inability to impregnate her. He’s somewhat ambivalent about the whole situation preferring to take solace in, and perhaps also hiding behind, his spiritual practice, until she actually leaves him taking every single possession he owns with her. This precipitates a crisis of confidence and his loyal students soon desert him in droves.

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The only student who still believes in Alan in the beautiful Elisabeth, who appears to be completely insane in her belief that she has been chosen for a divine mission, to be impregnated by Alan and thus bring about the reincarnation of John the Baptist. And that’s just the beginning! What follows is a delightfully farcical and satirical romp as Alan, seemingly unable to take control of the situation and sensibly just bring things to a halt, gets himself deeper and deeper into trouble.

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He soon finds himself on the run for a murder he didn’t commit which occurs in the course of helping a local drug dealer spring a girl from a Parisian asylum. Elisabeth is convinced they are the reincarnations of Joseph and Mary respectively, and that they will produce a child who will be the second coming of Jesus. Just to make things a little more complicated for Alan the girl in question is the daughter of a Columbian cocaine baron, who promptly dispatches a hit squad to track down his beloved child and deal with the people responsible for her disappearance. If that weren’t enough to deal with, Alan is also finding himself troubled by a rather lustful inner demon in the shape of his younger self, who chides him for not grasping the moment and making the most of his current situation, whilst continually making some distinctly suggestive suggestions. Oh, and the slightest bit of stress is now causing Alan bouts of uncontrollable, explosive diarrhoea.

I’m not going to go into any analysis of precisely what J & M are satirising with this work. That’s one of the pleasures of reading it in depth for yourself. Not that it is remotely heavy going, and can be enjoyed entirely for its farcical content which comes across in places like a surreal cross-over between Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em and a particularly bawdy Carry On film. And I do genuinely mean that in a good way, I really do!!

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The final third of MADWOMAN changes in tone as the humour is reined in considerably and things take an even more metaphysical turn out in the jungles of Colombia. It’s a path Jodorowsky has us taken down before in his various comic and cinematic works, perhaps once too often for it to have the same impact for me in all honesty, and it probably reveals more about himself and his own beliefs than simply continuing to entertain the reader with the same bonhomie as the first two-thirds of the work. Still, it doesn’t spoil the book and the plot is definitely still drawn to a very satisfactory conclusion. I do wonder whether there is a deliberate parallel to be drawn in terms of Mangel’s physical and psychological state at the very end of MADWOMAN and with the ending of THE INCAL material and its main protagonist John Difool, but maybe that’s me reading too much into it. I think I understand the point that’s being made, if there is a point that’s actually being made – and that the great thing about MADWOMAN: it will certainly get you thinking!

And of course we have the unique art style that we’ve come to know and love from Moebius, plus there is the added bonus of the truly wonderful conceit that he’s used Jodorowsky’s likeness for Professor Alan Mangel (unbeknownst to Jodorowsky at the time) which continually adds to the amusement as Alan’s circumstances get ever more ridiculous and fraught with danger. This is a genuine classic that stands reading and re-reading. It never fails to raise a smile for me, and still a quizzical eyebrow or two.


Buy Madwoman Of The Sacred Heart h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Jupiter’s Circle vol 2 s/c (£12-99, Image) by Mark Millar & Wilfredo Torres, Chris Sprouse, Davide Gianfelice.

The prequel to JUPITER’S LEGACY is a book about relationships and politics set in a time when the superhero genre looked at them barely at all.

Certainly no hero left his wife and children for a star-struck teenager then attempted to recommend her as a new superheroine to his teammates. Also, back in 1959 cinema’s greatest heroes were all in the closet – because, umm, public opinion and box office…? But also: illegal. Yes, it was illegal to love if you were a bloke and your loved one happened to shave too.

Insane in the brain – what a bunch of myopic muppets we are when we promote hatred and division over diversity and love.

Millar dealt with all that beautifully, intelligently and unflinchingly in JUPITER’S CIRCLE VOL 1 while here he wonders what would true altruists – respected by the public and with the capacity to intervene – do when faced with the Los Angeles Watts Riots of 1965? When confronted by images on the television of young black men, understandably angry and disenfranchised after years of economic deprivation, being manhandled by white policemen? For example.

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The very motivation for this extended ‘family’ back in JUPITER’S LEGACY VOL 1 was economics following the Wall Street crash when Sheldon Sampson set about giving America something to believe in and people to give them hope: superheroes. A generation later what transpired was disastrous, but even this early on there is duplicity within this family of friends and I really am doing my best to avoid spoilers. It is a very different beast to JUPITER’S LEGACY, but equally deserves your attention because reading one informs your understanding and so appreciation of the other, and it asks imaginative questions of its own.

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What might the love life be like of a kind and considerate man with the ability to fly far out to space, when he is absolutely besotted by and dedicated to his loved one? What mountains might he move? There’s plenty of room for old fashioned romance here – examined thoughtfully from both perspectives – but not necessarily for everyone, so I’m afraid there’s room for much sadness too.

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Also touched on: the balance of power between humans and metahumans Lex Luthor-stylee, questions about what it might mean for future generations (oh, the dramatic irony!) and what might a man do in search of a super-powered son or daughter.

For me both series are Millar’s meatiest works since SUPERIOR, this one sharing its vulnerability and poignancy. I talked about the art in a little more detail in JUPITER’S CIRCLE VOL 1 with was perfect for a piece set in a period where superheroes were seen more innocently and written an emotional naivety. It’s mostly on target here too with Torres depicting the Utopian as a young Ronald Reagan but, in the interests of honesty, there are half a dozen pages by a fill-in artist which jar horribly, unnecessarily.

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Real-life guest appearances this time by Ayn Rand (see SUPERCRASH) and Spencer Tracy!


Buy Jupiter’s Circle vol 2 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Jupiter’s Legacy Vol 2 #1 (£2-99, Image) by Mark Millar & Frank Quitely.

In their AUTHORITY Mark Millar and Frank Quitely asked the question, “Why so super-people never go after the real bastards?” at which point their team of liberal totalitarians did precisely that, deposing despots around the world left, right and centre.

Oh how we cheered, because we agreed wholeheartedly even though The Authority had no mandate whatsoever.

As JUPITER’S LEGACY VOL 1 began it all looked like going a bit Pete Tong in a KINGDOM COME sort of way, with the younger generation of metahumans have jettisoned the altruism of their super-powered parents in favour of fashion contracts, drugs and alcohol.

But it didn’t turn out to be that straightforward by a long way, did it? One amongst the old guard had his sights set firmly on the American economy and – unlike Sheldon Samson’s original dream – not by uplifting it through inspirational deeds of defending the innocent and helping others, but by personal intervention in the White House.

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Then, fearing familial retribution, he made a pre-emptive strike which gave every reader whiplash. Never have I known such an abrupt, truly shocking hand-break turn in superhero comics, executed by Quitely with brutality after lulling us into a juxtaposed sense of security with all things quaint. And everything went to hell in a hand basket.

Then everything went quiet. That next generation of seemingly self-interested loafers and those dismissed as losers – tainted by the supposed sins of their fathers – went to ground, desperate not to be detected and to protect what and whom they had left.

Until, that is [redacted].

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Millar and Quitely display as much skill in the tenderness here as they did in the savagery of that hand-break turn. Watch the dates carefully too. There’s a whole lot of love in the opening flashback. Not tranquillity or delicacy, but stillness and a purity of communications and a sense of what matters at the end or the beginning of the day. It’s quite the torch that’s passed on.

Sunny Gho’s colours leave a lot of white space which is ever so thematically important.

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Every creator is in complete control of their craft and, if you want to involve your readership in a genre which is so often reduced unnecessarily to conveyor-belt bombast – if you want them to invest emotionally in your story – this is crucial. I honestly believe you will care.

Please see the prequels JUPITER’S CIRCLE VOL 1 and indeed VOL 2 for all the dramatic irony you could wish for before embarking on what comes next.


Buy Jupiter’s Legacy Vol 2 #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Judge Dredd: Titan (£16-99, Rebellion) by Rob Williams & Henry Flint…

“How old are you, dog? Don’ take me wrong now. I realise you legendary and all, and I respect that. But this is space, feel me? I’m just wonderin’ if you the oldest dude to ever go into space. Must be some kinda record.”
“You’re Justice Department’s space marines, right? Some kind of elite. The best we got.”
“Damn straight.”
“They put the oldest man to ever go into space in charge. To make sure you don’t screw up this mission. Respect that.”

Totally irascible yet utterly unflappable. That’s the practically pension-age Judge Joe Dredd in a nutshell. There’s a great little moment shortly after this pull quote where the space marines, preparing for their drop from space to the surface of Titan, the penal colony where corrupt Judges get sent for life that has suddenly ceased all contact with Mega-City One, do a little preparatory chant right before they launch themselves into near-certain death. Dredd, being Dredd, is just irritated, but is completely self-aware enough to know that’s exactly what he is.

“Unconventional. It annoyed him.
“But everything annoyed him these days.”


Heh, he really has become the veritable Victor Meldrew with attitude and a sidearm. It’s a constant source of fascination to me that right from the get-go, this most unreconstructed of unapologetic fascists is such a comics hero. I think it only works because the man has no ego whatsoever. He upholds the Law because it is the Law, irrespective. To him there is only the Law and if you break the Law you’re getting shot or hauled off to the Cubes. Even attempting to mildly bend or circumvent the Law is, in Dredd’s eyes, breaking the Law. He is simply the immovable object around which events unfold, always affecting them by his very presence with his granite jawed gravitational field of uncompromising authority. He is, as he occasionally observes for additional fear inducing effect, simply, the Law.


This is a great bit of modern Dredd, I can see why it has been collected separately from the COMPLETE CASEFILES. Titan is a creation that goes back to the very, very early days of 2000AD, when Dredd’s imprisoned clone brother Rico escapes and comes to Earth looking for vengeance. It’s one of the very few strips where over the years you’ve seen Dredd display any sort of emotional, well weakness is far too strong a word for it, but I can probably count on one hand the number of occasions I’ve seen such a… moment.

So the title of this work alone intrigued me enough to pick it up, coupled with the fact the writer was Rob Williams, whose UNFOLLOW I have been enjoyed immensely recently, and the artist was Henry Flint, whose Dredd is the very epitome of the modern version of granite-jawed lawman. I always feel if you tried to punch Flint’s Dredd on that jaw, the only possible outcome would be a full set of broken knuckles.


Here he’s going to need every annus horribilis of his years of experience and hard-earned, gun-slinging prowess to find out what’s behind the troubling lack of contact from the penal colony that has enough banged-up Judges to easily conquer the Big Meg after its latest near-apocalyptic brush with annihilation. A not inconsiderable number of them have got a grudge against Dredd himself too, given how many he personally sent there! And how do the sneaky Sovs and the murderous Kleggs fit in? Plus what is that strange energy source on the nearby moon of Enceladus? Will Dredd prevail? Obviously, he is the Law, but even Dredd will find himself pushed to the absolute limit this time. As I said, a fantastic fun chunk of modern Dredd.


Buy Judge Dredd: Titan 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

How To Talk To Girls At Parties (£12-99, Headline) by Neil Gaiman & Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba

Boy’s Club (£14-99, Fantagraphics) by Matt Furie

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

Our Super Adventure (£10-00, Shiny Sword Press) by Sarah Graley

A-Force vol 1: Hypertime s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by G. Willow Wilson, Kelly Thompson & Jorge Molina, Victor Ibanez

Amazing Spider-Man vol 2: Worldwide s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by Dan Slott & Matteo Buffagni, Giuseppe Camuncoli

Scarlet Witch vol 1: Witches’ Road s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by James Robinson & various

Batman: Arkham Knight vol 2 s/c (£10-99, DC) by Peter J. Tomasi, Tim Seeley & various

Batman: Arkham Knight vol 3 h/c (£18-99, DC) by Peter J. Tomasi, Tim Seeley & various

Green Arrow vol 8: The Night Birds s/c (£12-99, DC) by Benjamin Percy & Patrick Zircher, various

Tiny Titans: Return To The Treehouse s/c (£9-99, DC) by Franco Baltazar & Art Baltazar

Bleach vol 67 (£6-99, Viz) by Tite Kubo

One-Punch Man vol 7 (£6-99, Viz) by One & Yusuke Murata

Ooh, slimmest week ever! Don’t worry, I’ve already got some other belters lined up for next week’s reviews as well!


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Voting

ITEM! Please vote for Page 45 in Nottingham’s Independent Business Of The Year Award 2016!

Look, here’s our Jonathan holding up not one but TWO trophies Page 45 won as Nottingham’s Best Independent Business Of The Year 2012 and 2013.

We couldn’t have done it without your votes! Thank you!

Alas, last year Page 45 didn’t even make it into the Top 10 so failed to receive Secret Shopper judges. And I like Secret Shopper judges – we make them BUY stuff – so do please vote!

To make a nomination for Independent Business of the Year, visit, email, tag @itsinnottingham on Twitter or Facebook, or use the hashtag #independentnottm on Instagram.
Here’s Page 45 winning the first-ever Best Independent Business 2012 Award. Cheers!

I had fun with that one.


ITEM! New interview with GIANT DAYS’ John Allison!

You can read all Page 45’s Reviews of John Allison’s BAD MACHINERY, EXPECTING TO FLY, MORDAWA and GIANT DAYS comics (including the self-published GIANT DAYS pack before the Boom! Studios stories!) here.

John Allison 1John Allison 2

ITEM! News just in! GIANT DAYS has been nominated for three Harvey Awards. Yippee!

Full List Of Harvey Awards nominations 2016!

Nominations also include autobiography about the history of America’s Civil Rights Movement by Congressmen John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. Both MARCH BOOK ONE and MARCH BOOK TWO were absolutely arresting.

March book 2 Aretha 1March book 2 Aretha 2

– Stephen

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