Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews February 2018 week two

Eternal: A Shieldmaiden Ghost Story (£6-99, Black Mask) by Ryan K Lindsay & Eric Zawadzki with Dee Cunniffee.

“Battle is a constant, inside and out.
“Reflection is something only found in still waters.”

I do love a double meaning and a deft turn of phrase. I found this to be eminently quotable.

ETERNAL is a juicily drawn, artfully coloured, album-sized graphic novella whose prologue – revisited intermittently – comes framed with great style and class, letting a whole lot of light in. Once we’ve moved passed the cover in Page 45’s Weekly Reviews Blog you are going to want me to stop writing and leave you to drool. I’ll just mention this before I forget: although each page I’ve provided is exquisite in its own right, there are even more gasp-inducing spectacles within from a green-misted morning to a radiant sunset followed three pitch-black pages later by a full-page, crackling, boat-bound pyre that glows in the night.

Sean Phillips and Marc Laming have both ordered copies, and there’s no greater compliment to (and endorsement of) an artist than being purchased by one’s peers.

Some of Zawadzki’s expressions put me in mind of 100 BULLETS’s Eduardo Risso, some of the line textures of Simon Gane (see ABOVE THE DREAMLESS DEAD), while subject and setting are going to appeal enormously to fans of NORTHLANDERS, BLACK ROAD and VIKING: THE LONG COLD FIRE.




As to the colouring by Cunniffee, there’s a substantial essay in the back (though sadly no process pieces – you have the line artist on hand for that) about his approach to this and several other projects which should prove very useful to those beginning their studies or commencing their careers. Cunniffee’s use of an overlaid watercolour effect for the skies and the pyre fire alone provide a subtle but strikingly effective contrast to the otherwise untextured colours, as when thick clouds of smoke belch and billow from a fortress destroyed by the shieldmaidens, along with its occupants.

Or so they think.

“When you play with magic, you come across problems.
“When you murder magic, you create problems.”

Some of my sale pitches are more narrative than others (STRANGERS IN PARADISE XXV #1 was almost entirely narrative two weeks ago, but I enjoy telling stories, and here stories sell), others are more analytical. This time I’m going to let the interior art do all of the talking and leave you to unlock the majority of the tale’s trajectory for yourself.

However, we begin with a brief lesson on the pragmatic necessity of violence in a world where, if you do not visit upon others, it will be visited upon you:

“I want to travel, I want to explore. Why must those things come with violence?” asks the young boy.
“They mustn’t, yet, alas, they do. This is merely the reality of things. But if you are the one cutting then you get to decide what’s cut.”



There’s an inarguable wisdom to those words under such circumstances, and our chief protagonist and shieldmaiden Vif will be doing a great deal of slicing and dicing accompanied by inset panels of zoomed-in effect which emphasise the speed of the slashes and thrusts. She is adept.

“It’s not about violence, Grimr…
“It’s about control.”

The problems will arise when she loses it – her self-control – twice.



When she does so the first time, there is a subtle visual clue right at the bottom of the page which merely hints at what she has done. The full, horrific reveal is carefully delayed until you’ve turned over the page, then you see what her rage has wrought.

Anyway, I suspect you may be craving more art. I have it. Go for your life!





“You poison the water of the world and then decry its taste?”

Sick burn!


I promise this will be back in stock next Wednesday.

Buy Eternal and read the Page 45 review here

Briggs Land vol 2: Lone Wolves s/c (£17-99, Dark Horse) by Brian Wood & Mack Chater, Vanesa R. Del Rey, Werther Dell’Edera.

Please treat this as if I’m reviewing volume one.

I am. I’m reviewing both.

“Did you just say you’re a Briggs?
“As in Briggs Land?
“As in those Nazis?”

One of the most terrifying series currently on our shelves, BRIGGS LAND is a riveting read containing no horror other than that which is real to our world: control through intimidation in the form of threats of violence which are always followed through with occasional deliberation but no hesitation whatsoever.

On the flipside it is, at its heart, the struggle of one woman to right decades of male wrong on the vast tracts of land that she so precariously owns. Does she even own it? That, along with her authority, is up for vicious, vitriolic contention.



Most of the women on Briggs Land rarely leave its hundred square miles of privately owned property.

In BRIGGS LAND VOL 1 we learned of one husband who forbade his wife to wear shoes. He took them away so that she wouldn’t stray, even from their household. To call it a patriarchal environment would be the most massive understatement, and if you imagine that its women resent this, then you would be wrong. It is so ingrained, so inculcated, that they believe in it too.

The sole exception is our main protagonist, Jim Briggs’s wife Grace. Not only has she seen the atrocious effects of his lack of empathy for women over these many years, she knows what is coming for her people, fast and furious, if she doesn’t wrench control from her husband right now.



For although Jim Briggs lies in jail, his influence remains at large, potent, infectious and commanding loyalty as fiercely as it always has done, from those who don’t know what he’s up to. What he’s doing is a deal with the Albany D.A. to secure early release by selling off Briggs Land from under everyone’s feet… to the very country from which they originally seceded. Their prison-bound patriarch is their ultimate traitor and – other than Grace – none of them know it.

So here she so resolutely stands, carving out as much command as she can, while under assault from all sides: the media, the FBI, the local police authorities who want the most money and can control access to their very amenities, and her own family. Her husband in particular has Grace aggressively in his sites, and she can’t even trust her eldest son not to misuse their neo-Nazi affiliations to extort what he wants from their former collaborators.

The threats to her life could come from anyone, at any time, and they do.

Breathe out.



Where Woods will surprise you this volume is in presenting a completely different angle.

I don’t know how you view American secessionists, but I imagine the opening quotation comes quite close: open, modern, reasonable and liberal are not going to play high on your hit lists. Nor should they: BRIGGS LAND VOL 1 made that very clear.

Oh, Grace will continue to come under increasing not decreasing threat (and from more quarters still), but Woods presents people as individuals and bigotry from both sides, not only at ground level, but on a socio-political scale too. I wouldn’t expect the writer of LOCAL, NEW YORK FOUR, DEMO. DMZ, STARVE, NORTHLANDERS, BLACK ROAD and more not to be nuanced.



This, from Grace, for a start:

“We didn’t start Briggs Land and invite you in just to see you all turn into addicts and white trash stereotypes.
“We’re supposed to be better.”

Some things can and should be cauterised, but the rot which remains has a way of making its way back home to haunt you. Expect complications.

These include an innocent backpacking couple straying on their land and getting the wrong end of a hidden-boy stick, so necessitating (according to one of Grace’s sons) their confinement. Even if it’s only temporary, their release would prove problematic, especially since they are military helicopters circling overhead, along with the sensation-hungry mass media.





Now, how do you think the male-dominated Briggs Land residents would respond to abortion, eh? Remember, there is an overwhelming sheep and indeed pack mentality in a closed community like this, but there still exists individuals and that’s how Brian Woods renders them.

Rendering them also is the series’ established artist Mack Chater, along with Vanesa R. Del Rey and Werther Dell’Edera plus colourist Lee Loughridge, all at the top of their games, each in their various ways bringing an extra element of palpable, infectious fear to that which unfolds. In both books I’ve found myself constantly watching over shoulders – Grace’s most of all, but here another female family member brave enough to help out a teenager out in her hour of need.  Del Rey brings extra textures to the nocturnal excursion, along with worried looks, hunched shoulders and desperate, out-of-breath terror.



Mack Chater is a woefully underrated artist in the vein of Marc Laming, grounding Briggs Land’s inhabitants in the here and now, stinting not once on their environment, be it the private compound with its defiantly displayed, fluttering stars-and-stripes flag or the chain link fences which surround its otherwise most accessible entrances and exits, preventing unwanted intrusion or unauthorised egress. Then there are the old smuggling routes through remote, dense woodland to (and over) the Canadian border, so rich in lush colour thanks to Loughridge and such brittle detail that you can almost hear a twig snap.

That you can fear a twig snap.


Buy Briggs Land vol 2: Lone Wolves s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Get Naked (£22-99, Image) by Steven T. Seagle & various.

There’s more than one way of feeling exposed.

It can be getting your kit off in public, to be sure, but there’s also finding yourself outside of your comfort zone and at the mercy of events you can’t seem to control.

Imagine, for example, finding yourself on the way to catch an international flight which you cannot miss, and pungently smelling of faeces. For no discernible reason. Such is the stuff of nightmares. There, but for the grace of God, go we!

Seagle has had plenty of experience of both vulnerabilities and generously opens himself up for you to have a right laugh at his expense – and a good think. You will learn loads because, surprisingly, this is as much a travelogue as anything else, and it’s all the richer for it.

The co-creator of IT’S A BIRD… and THE RE[A]D DIARY with Teddy Kristiansen has had professional cause to visit countless cities all over the globe where he has observed much to bring you great mirth, including different attitudes to communal nudity when it comes to swimming pools, saunas and showers.



Then there are his first-hand experiences of being naked in public. Not on the street – though there was one notable exception in Helsinki where out of necessity he found himself spread-eagled, starkers, like a starfish in the snow – but in places where most of us would naturally expect to strip… except, he informs us, in the US of A:

“[This] may seem obvious to non-Americans, but I can assure you that in the U.S.A., most pool-goers shower in their swimming suits, so as not to have to get naked.”

Good grief! And I thought the British were self-conscious prudes.



Put into the eye-opening context of America’s full-throttle recent retreat from nudity (as late as the ‘70s, during gender-segregated swimming sessions at some high schools, swimming naked for boys was mandatory), this is a personal journey through personal journeys of one man emerging into a healthy equanimity with removing his clothes from after a lifetime of crippling embarrassment when it came to his body on account of considering himself physically inferior, almost translucently pale and skinny.

For Steven it began with a girl – of course it did! – a girl whom he fancied at school. She called him “cute”, constantly, and he took it as a huge compliment… until the day on which he discovered that she was referring to his lack of muscular, manly development, and she made a big show of it in front of her friends.



It’s then that t-shirts and shorts were abandoned for decades, even in the sweatiest of weather, in favour of maximum length and multiple layers.

There’s an all too similarly sad moment in Liz Prince’s TOMBOY.

Recovering from this was a gradual progress that began, improbably enough, during one memorable experience at a tiny comicbook convention in Alicante. It doesn’t seem the most likely venue to be forced out of your clothes in front of others, does it? Nevertheless, that is what happens, but not on stage. The trauma begins with a friendly football match, the prospect of which was trauma enough for Steven who had no faith in his athletic prowess, nor the slightest comprehension of soccer rules. And I know what you may be thinking: “Oh come on, it’s only a game!” But I still have regular nightmares of being forced on stage without having even read the play in the first place, let alone memorised its lines. It’s exactly the same thing, and Seagle is ever so adept at placing you squarely in his emotional, short-coming shoes.



The break-through began when he bit the bullet of this post-match, communal shower and in full fear of being judged physically by those much buffer than himself. He found that he was not. Not one jot. No one was remotely interested.

Flipping backwards and forwards in time, the writer than expands on his liberation from self-stifling anxiety, not to a whey-hey get-it-all-out exhortation towards exhibitionism but to a realisation that this and his other fears surrounding nudity proved to be completely ill-founded. He’s equally eloquent and candid about all that. There’s even a personal, circumstantial-evidence poll about what his straight friends and his gay friends say they fear most about showering with other men. It does make perfect sense.

Now, I began this casual assessment by proclaiming that this collection of essays harboured far more than a catalogue of bath-house experiences, yet that is what I’ve appeared to fixate upon. I promise you that I wasn’t kidding.

Sometimes the naked bits feel like more of an excuse for other even more interesting anecdotes with which he’ll regale you in full – like Seagle’s complete inability to recognise the film-famous out of their celluloid context – but instances of skin-bearing actually act as an editor of sorts, confining what is, I suspect, a five-fold treasure-trove of additional stories to a later collection. “If it doesn’t involve stripping, then I can’t even go there.”





Each essay is illustrated by an artist whom you’ll grow so comfortable with that their successor will prove quite the surprise and delight. Some bring you something close to comics, others will deliver a more prose-and-illustration effect. One will cram your cranium full of yearning to visit the old / new majesty of Tallinn, newly freed from Soviet occupation. Now therein lies a sense of historical perspective!

Another will make you shudder as you embark on an ill-advised excursion into Karlovy Vary which you’ll wish Seagle had shied well away from. Seagle too! It’s so dank and darkly illustrated that you might fear you were straying into the latest hostel movie. Brrrrr…

As to why, after his flight out of Barcelona, he – and he alone – was bundled out of the plane in Munich by shouting, armed guards…





So many of my favourite pages, however, are the chapter introductions / interludes by Emel Olivia Burell. They are majestic, and I’ve a fair few for you here!


Buy Get Naked and read the Page 45 review here


Godshaper s/c (£17-99, Boom!) by Si Spurrier & Jonas Goonface.

One of the things I love most about Simon Spurrier’s creator-owned work is that on top of all the lateral thinking that he pours into its premise, he doesn’t let it lie there: there’s also the language which is far from flippant but instead – like Rob Davis’ THE MOTHERLESS OVEN and THE CAN OPENER’S DAUGHTER – comes with carefully thought-out connotations.

Here Jonas Goonface too goes that extra mile with lithe illustrations reflecting physical prowess and creative endeavour, leaving you much to infer from what they silently depict down the bar (none of which is clumsily and unnecessarily sign-posted by Spurrier) while adding, here and there, subtly highlighted details like this visual rebuttal to an idiot all too fond of the sound of his own ignorant voice:

“Man’s gotta be a martyr to fashion these days, wants to get anywhere.
“Sometimes I wonder if you poor schmoos got it easier, huh? No god, no money, no style….
“You know the first thing about fashion, Shaper?”

The staid, self-regarding, disregarding, pot-bellied, barrage-balloon of a man has failed to do more than glance at the man – from behind – who is currently restyling his god with some considerable artistic skill and who is the very epitome of understated dapper in gloves, rolled sleeves, braces over a well-starched shirt, a quiff fashioned topiary-like from dense hair above chic, shaved sides and – to the fore so that the reader’s eye cannot miss it on the bottom of the left-hand panel – a single and small diamond ear stud.

Now that is attention to detail.

God is in the detail and the detail has most certainly been injected into this title’s gods.



This is a world in which everyone has a god of their own, and every god has a person.

It just so happens that they treat their gods like employees or slaves, and their gods are the equivalent of personal bank accounts and/or RPG video-game characters, both of which we long to upgrade as much and as often as we can.

All transactions are conducted via these gods: the series’ sole currency lies in these powerful upgrades. What do we worship more than money and power? They’re basically the same thing, right?

There are, however, some singular individuals born without gods.

They are regarded as “nogodies”.



In this society – as in ours – they are treated as outcasts: the poor. For without a god they can neither acquire nor accrue money. They can never own a home for they have no money (and certainly no access to a mortgage without that bank account), so they are itinerants forever shunned but desperately needed for labour – for their unique ability to refashion everyone else’s gods. They are called Shapers.

The first but by no means last Shaper we meet is called Ennay, he of the braces and diamond ear stud, and the way he’s treated by our first customer – told to exit via the back door lest he be seen, for example – says it all.

He is, however, a bit of a hit on the cantik scene, which is akin to rockabilly and played unplugged, without a god.

“No holy harmonies here. No superpower pop. No gods as guitars. We don’t get aaawwwwf on that godly groove.
“We got a new manifesto. We’re here to repair the square.
“What we play, we play with our mouths and our hands and our hearts.
“This is cantik.
“It cannot be stopped.”



Ennay throws himself into the music, and the colours and the crowd go wild.

“Underground, unrefined, unlegal.
“A movement, a manner, a counter-culture crime.
“One seriously unholy racket.”

After which the spotlights go down, leaving a fluid double-page spread bathed in blue and purple neon as Ennay works the floor between tables, taking his credit and receiving his dues. He’s definitely an equal opportunities kind of a guy.



It’s a spectacular piece of fluid figure work and colouring, tracing Ennay’s movements and his admirers in a serpentine path of purple and pink between the rest of the onlookers in indigo, while their cartoon-animal, ghostly gods are lit in bright blue, their outlines an ethereal white.

Which brings us to Ennay’s second secret: he does have a god called Buddy. It’s just not his.

“Weird. Can’t see its believer.”

Gods aren’t supposed to exist without believers. Without believers they’re supposed to fade away (see SANDMAN / AMERICAN GODS). So what on earth is up with Buddy?

Once the subplot involving war and “riff-raff rations” kicks in, the relationship between gods and their owners is explored a little further and grows far darker than you’ll be anticipating.

Let’s just say that we all know the pain when our bank account’s drained but what if our bank account was a sentient god / ghost / animal?



So what else lies in store? Peggy Slim, queen of Synthpop Soul: her gigs fill stadiums, while her god has grown big enough to act as her entire stage set, such are the rewards she reaps. She’s married – very happily married – but this union harbours a secret. And what of good ol’ fashioned organised religion in this world of personal deities? Oh, same old, same old, hate-mongering as usual.

“Consider now the true serpents in our midst…”

He means the godless, obviously.


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

Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery h/c (£17-99, Dark Horse) by Mat Johnson & Warren Pleece.

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

 – Abel Meeropol, ‘Strange Fruit’

“That’s one thing that most of us know that most white folks don’t. That race doesn’t really exist. Culture? Ethnicity? Sure. Class too. But race is just a bunch of rules meant to keep us on the bottom. Race is a strategy. The rest is just people acting.”



Zane Pitchback is an actor, and a consummate actor at that. He has to be. His job as a black journalist is to pass himself off as white, to travel south then infiltrate and report on the hanging of black men by white supremacists. This is a fiction, but it is a fact that “between 1889 and 1918 2,522 negroes were murdered by lynch mobs in America. That we know of.” And for the local people, it would be a gay family outing, including women and their children having their photographs taken as keep-sakes for the day in front of their dangling, humiliated and mutilated human trophies. By the 1930s it was no longer even considered news, but some extraordinarily brave individuals fought to make it news and expose the culprits by “going Incognegro”.



As the book kicks off Zane is posing as a photographer’s assistant at one such publicly perpetrated and community-supported murder, taking down names and addresses for free photographs, but his cover for once is blown and he barely escapes with his life. Unfortunately he’s been clocked. Returning to New York City, he’s determined now to exchange his anonymity for a little local recognition and a job as managing editor of the paper he writes for. He’s surely deserved it. But there’s one fresh file he cannot ignore: a report from Tupelo Mississippi of another young black man arrested and jailed for the murder of a white woman he was seeing and shared a moonshine operation with. The man is Zane’s brother.



This time it’s not enough to witness the almost certain lynching; this time Zane has to thwart it, and clear his brother’s name in the eyes of local population blind to such trivialities as truth or culpability, and policed by those who’d rather not start causing ripples by resisting the baying for blood. Unfortunately Zane’s city friend Carl, smarting from the jibes of his girlfriend, is determined to prove himself Zane’s equal by accompanying him on his mission, and with his brash behaviour and ham British accent he breaks one of the cardinal rules of undercover operations: keeping a low profile.

All of this would be gripping enough, but there’s a much wider mystery here: it’s a “who really dunnit?” for the murder itself is far from what it seems, there are several instances of mistaken identity, and there’s much to come out about the missing deputy, Francis Jefferson-White – it won’t be what you expect.



The work is substantial in length and substantial in depth with plenty to say about race and society both present and past (if it truly is). It’s also Pleece’s finest moment so far, particularly in his eloquently expressive faces, but also his use of light and shadow, either under sunlight or beside firelight. In spite of the new grey tones (all bar three pieces of interior art here are from the original edition), there’s a starkness and intensity which befits the exceptionally dire circumstances.

The language is pretty stark too.


Buy Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Anti-Gone (£12-99, Koyama Press) by Connor Willumsen…

“Order a weird art-house comic, get a weird art-house comic.”

 – Page 45 customer.

It is hard to disagree with that sentiment. Particularly meant in the positive sense, as it was. But then buy something from Koyama Press, and, well, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to get something that will test your artistic sensibilities, and possibly even your sanity, like recent work CRAWL SPACE by Jesse Jacobs did. It’s a graphic novel that we seriously considered making a Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month but we just couldn’t get hold of enough copies.

This is actually weirder than that – which is saying something, trust me. But then this material was actually drawn on tracing paper for starters, something which Koyama Press have done their darndest to recreate in terms of paper stock, at probably not inconsiderable cost to themselves. Apparently the creator Connor Willumsen wanted to see what his creation looked like from both sides, which is very artistically diplomatic of him.



You can see where he has used what I assume is tippex for colouring or speech bubbles on the panels that are of a darker hued background. There’s a sequence that particularly stuck with me of a skunk and a man in a puffer jacket covered in capital Rs ascending some sort of stepped Mayan pyramid to arrive at what looks like a drawing table with a mysterious box just waiting there. Which is in fact a dream sequence that occurs during a trance induced in a cinema foyer… Which…



So what’s it really all about? Well, I’m actually going to cheat and quote the first paragraph from Koyama Press’ own blurb because I’m not sure I can describe something so resolutely abstruse and recondite as well as they do. And because there’s only actually about another three of you who will be remotely interested in buying this, as brilliant as it is, and Page 45’s impending refit is fast approaching. Time, as they say in the Twilight Zone, is a one-way street.



“Reality’s grip is loosened as Spyda and Lynxa explore a potentially constructed environment that shifts between dystopic future and constructed virtual present. Like a form of multistable perceptual phenomena, Anti-Gone exists in ambiguity.”

Okay, I probably should at least try. It’s a wee bit like some of Dash Shaw’s more out there material such as THE UNCLOTHED MAN IN THE 35TH CENTURY A.D. but not as finely polished, though that’s entirely because Connor Willumsen is doing his own thing exactly as he’s intended. However, it’s assuredly artistically worthy in its own right and absolutely deserving of attention. It’s big, bold ambitious comics, which I love, and if I think you like a bit of weird yourself don’t be surprised if I make you try to buy it the next time you’re passing the till…



I’ll leave you with a random line from one of his characters that sums Connor’s approach up perfectly…

“God damn, where did you get your style?”


Buy Anti-Gone and read the Page 45 review here


Parker: Slayground s/c (£15-99, IDW) by Richard Stark & Darwyn Cooke…

“Good. It’s real simple. Do what I tell you and you’ll live through this. You understand me?”

No, not new recruit Jodie being inducted into the dark arts of Page 45 mail order, but Parker dispensing a pearl of choice wisdom to the bent cop he’s trying his very hardest to be civil to. Given the cop and his partner are doing their level best to help a crew of mob guys rub him out and steal his score, I’d say he’s being pretty darn considerate. For a master criminal, Parker certainly manages to get himself into a fair few tight spots, but I guess if everything went to plan, that’d be pretty boring.

Here, hot footing it from the scene of an armoured car heist after a nervous getaway driver  has managed to roll their car in the snowy conditions, he’s spotted leaping the fence into a locked up fairground by a couple of on the take cops picking up their pay-off from some local wise guys. Hearing reports coming in of the heist over the police radio and putting two and two together, the bad guys decide there’s some easy money to be had and posse up with the intention of relieving Parker of his cash. Unfortunately for them, well, he’s Parker. So, after surveying his surroundings, planning as many moves ahead as a chess grandmaster, including laying some ingenious booby traps, surely only an easy mark would bet against him walking out through the fairground gates with his swag.



Another excellent adaptation of a classic Richard Stark novel, Darwyn Cooke again brings our favourite tough guy to life in his own inimitable pulpy, period style. This time around the locale is the rather less glamorous Buffalo, New York, though we do once again open up with the now requisite, scene-setting two-page landscape splash. As ever, amidst the gala of glorious art on display, there’s a unique little conceit and this time around it’s a fold-out map, in a few different art styles of course, of the fairground itself.

Darwyn Cooke truly is a master of his craft, there’s so much stylistically to admire here, so much background detail, so many clever devices. It’s not often I really enjoy breaking down someone’s work, understanding how every panel and page are put together, every bit of space used for maximum effect, but if you take the time to read this work a second or third time and do so, you’ll realise it’s an absolute masterclass in how to graphically portray a dramatic, action-packed story, it truly, truly is. Marvellous work, and only succeeds in taking my appreciation of his abilities to even higher levels.



My only criticism, and it’s a very reluctant one, is SLAYGROUND feels a touch lightweight in plot compared to the previous three PARKER capers. It all seemed over too soon, and whilst the end pages promise Parker will return in 2015, even despite the additional short story thrown in for good measure after the main event, that seems far too far away right now. I’d been looking forward to this for ages and now the wait begins anew. Ah well, maybe I’ll just read this one more time…


Buy Parker: Slayground s/c and read the Page 45 review here

John Lord (£11-99, Humanoids) by Denis-Pierre Filippi & Patrick Laumond…

Grisly, pulp tale set in 1920s New York and various other locales including a desert island. The head of the special investigative unit the UPI has been murdered in a particularly gruesome manner, and it falls upon John Lord to track down his mentor’s killer. There’s a pretty sophisticated plot which commences with the simultaneously telling of two separate tales, that of John Lord’s return to the Big Apple from the front after a spell in the forces, an appearance that seems to provoke an ambivalent response in pretty much everyone, and that of a group of castaways, marooned on an island after a rather brutal act of piracy.

This second tale, entirely wordless, would appear to reveal all about the identity of the murderer almost immediately, or is it in fact just a very clever red herring? I shall say no more!


The art is also most definitely up to the usual high standards of a Humanoids imprint release. Yet another highly recommended crime release! If you read and enjoyed THE BOMBYCE NETWORK, this will also appeal.




Buy John Lord and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy!

New reviews to follow, but if they’re new formats of previous books, reviews may already be up; others will retain their Diamond previews information we receive displayed as ‘Publisher Blurb’.

Bingo Love (£8-99, Image) by Tee Franklin & Jenn St-Onge

Corpse Talk Ground-Breaking Women (£9-99, David Fickling Books) by Adam Murphy, Lisa Murphy

The Dangerous Journey (£9-99, Sort Of Books) by Tove Jansson

Demon vol 4 (£15-99, FirstSecond) by Jason Shiga

Don’t Call Me A Tomboy (£6-99, WildSlattern) by Kirsten Wild & Zara Slattery

Jimmy’s Bastards s/c vol 1 (£13-99, Aftershock Comics) by Garth Ennis & Russell Braun

Kim Reaper vol 1: Grim Beginnings (£13-99, Oni) by Sarah Graley

Lovecraft: The Myth Of Cthulhu h/c (£17-99, IDW) by Esteban Maroto

Lumberjanes vol 8: Stone Cold (£13-99, Boom! Box) by Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh & Carey Pietsch

The Pond (£11-99, Graffeg) by Nicola Davies & Cathy Fisher

The Secret Loves Of Geeks (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Margaret Atwood, Hope Larson, Cecil Castellucci, Gerard Way, Jamie McKelvie and many, many other

Titans vol 3: A Judas Among Us s/c (Rebirth) (£14-99, DC) by Dan Abnett & Brett Booth, Kenneth Rocafort, V Ken Marion, Minkyu Jung

X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda s/c (£31-99, Marvel) by Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson & Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, others

Baccano vol 1 (£9-99, Yen Press) by Ryohgo Narita & Shinta Fujimoto

I Hear The Sunspot vol 2: Theory Of Happiness (£12-99, One Peace Books) by Yuki Fumino

RWBY (£9-99, Viz) by Shirow

Saga Of Tanya Evil vol 1 (£9-99, Yen Press) by Carlo Zen & Chika Tono

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