Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews November week one

Cats Of The Louvre h/c (£20-00, Viz) by Taiyo Matsumoto…

“My father brought me down here just about every day… this place was my playground.”
“The Louvre was your playground! Sounds fantastic.”
“I had a sister a few years older than me… she looked a bit like you…
“She was wonderful, bright, beautiful…
“Even as a child I knew she stood out.
“The whole family loved her… and so did I.”
“She’s gone now.”
“One day she just disappeared… here, in the Louvre.”
“It happened about 50 years ago…”



But what does that have to do with cats I hear you feline lovers cry?! Well, here’s the publisher to put down their tempting treat to tempt you to taste…

“A surreal tale of the secret world of the cats of the Louvre, told by Eisner Award winner Taiyo Matsumoto. The world-renowned Louvre museum in Paris contains more than just the most famous works of art in history. At night, within its darkened galleries, an unseen and surreal world comes alive-a world witnessed only by the small family of cats that lives in the attic.”



But what does that have to do with the decades old disappearance of young Arrieta, sister of the Louvre’s long-serving night shift shuffler Marcel, I hear you mystery lovers cry?!



Well… the two are not connected per se, to begin with at least, but the curious nocturnal…



… and occasionally brazen diurnal, wanderings of one particular tiny white kitty called Snowbébé gradually begins to occasion young Louvre guide Cécile to form a most outlandish theory indeed… that perhaps Arrieta might just be somewhere inside the Louvre still…



And no, she’s not transformed into a cat I hear you feline mystery lovers cry!



The truth is… even stranger than that…

With that said, when the cats are alone, you will frequently see them semi-transform into humans. Well, human-ish heads and occasionally limbs and frame. It’s entirely an artistic conceit, though, rather than an actual genuine reverse-Manimal-style transformation, usually employed when the cats are are conversing amongst themselves, musing about their Louvre attic and roof-bound lives, punctuated with the odd full moon flit to the park for a frolic.



So where is Arrieta then? Well, I’m not going to spoil that for you, just suffice to say it is precisely the sort of idiosyncratic idea you might expect from the madcap genius that brought us the deliriously unhinged TEKKON KINKREET, though, in truth this is much closer in tone to the ever-escalating oddness of GOGO MONSTER, artfully combined with the ensemble cast capers of SUNNY. For at times, the bickering, playful faux-family of cats really reminded me of the faux and real orphans in that rather moving work.

Art-wise, Matsumoto is on absolute top form. A rolling mixture of panels with relatively sparse detail, sometime substantial solid black areas and also sensuously detailed shading create an undulating, rippling of textures for the eyes. The contrast he portrays between the daily epic bustle and then nightly deathly quiet Louvre is magnificent.



There is also, in addition to the typical colour manga lead-in pages…



… a particularly impressive colour double page spread of which I shall say so no more for fear of spoilers. Though I will say it doesn’t include a cat…

And of course, Matsumoto manages to squeeze in his trademark runny-nosed kid with a candle of snot dangling away, during a school excursion to the museum! I swear there must be some running (nose pun intended ho ho!!) joke going on there.


Buy Cats Of The Louvre h/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Way Of The Househusband vol 1 s/c (£8-99, Viz) by Kousuke Oono

“What’ve you been doing all this time?!
“I’ve been searching high and low for you, boss!
“There was frickin’ chaos after you bailed on us.
“A couple of our guys got poached by other groups…
“… so the Shinzaki group disbanded…
“… and anyone left went their separate ways.
“Why’d you quit the Yakuza?!”
“Let’s take a little walk, shall we?”

“All right, attention, everyone. Today we’ll be making cheese croquettes.”

Haha, the Immortal Dragon, the fiercest, most violent Yakuza of them all is an extremely good cook.



It must be all those lessons he’s been taking alongside middle aged housewives. His very bemused former sidekick Masa, who ‘Boss’ Tatsu has brought along to the class to show him precisely what he gets up these days, is convinced he must be working some sort of angle.

He really isn’t. Though that’s not to say he isn’t still more than capable of dispensing lightning fast beatdowns as Masa finds out to his cost when he foolishly tries to slap his Boss to show his disgust.

This is quite simply one of the most fun manga I’ve read in a while. A collection of silly set pieces such as dealing with a dodgy door-to-door knife salesman looking to rip off unsuspecting pensioners…



… battling a rogue robotic vacuum cleaner…



… or just the agonies of buying his wife a very specific nerdy birthday present are all an opportunity for the Immortal Dragon to demonstrate his own peculiar new-found approach to dealing with life, the universe and moderately stressful situations such as unexpectedly babysitting a neighbour’s young son…



Even when caught up in the midst of an attempted hit on his life by a former enemy, he still finds time to dispense some hard-won words of domestic wisdom, reducing his nemesis to a crying mess after whipping his gun off him and giving him a warm pair of gloves to wear instead…



I frequently found myself chuckling at the sheer absurdity of it all, but therein lies its charm, albeit its only one. It strongly reminded me, strangely enough perhaps, of YOTSUBA, in that the main character is relatively one-dimensional, whereas it’s the amused / appalled reactions of everyone else to them and their bizarre behaviour that provides the laughs.



I have no idea whether this series has any longevity, whether there will be any ongoing story development, or it will just remain a set of comedic sketches.



I mean, I’m still avidly reading YOTSUBA after some fourteen volumes, so I guess it really doesn’t matter if so. There’s some potential there, mind, particularly with the character of Masa, who begins to believe he can see the ‘wisdom’ in the way of the househusband and decides he needs to make himself Tatsu’s ‘disciple’…


Buy The Way Of The Househusband vol 1 s/c and read the Page 45 Review here

The Mask Of Fudo Book 1 h/c (£18-99, Humanoids) by Saverio Tenuta…

Saverio LEGEND OF THE SCARLET BLADES / IZUNA BOOK 1 / IZUNA BOOK 2 Tenuta returns to his violent world with another finely chopped blend of sword swinging and scary spirit action in this rabid revenge story of a low caste child determined to find his kidnapped sister no matter what the cost.

Young Shinnosuke has a desperately hard life, regarded as little more than scum for his lowly Hinin clan status, struggling to make ends meet working any jobs available and looking out for his younger sister, Mikiko, protecting her from not only their somewhat deranged and seemingly terminally ill witch of a mother but also the unwanted predatory attention of higher caste males. He dreams of being a noble samurai, something seemingly far, far beyond his current dishonourable birth status.

Shinnosuke finds a strange mask with a demon face in a nearby abandoned village, scene of a recent ravaging conflict, which he initially dons purely to disguise his identity in rescuing his sister from the recently arrived arrogant and entitled samurai Mokai, the spoilt son of the equally loathsome new doctor sent by the shogun to take charge of the area as his own fiefdom.

After defeating Mokai surprisingly easily, indeed dealing him a rather horrific disfigurement by relieving him of his nose, Shinnosuke begins to suspect that the mask may hold some hidden power. Unfortunately for Shinnosuke and his sister Mikiko, Mokai is not the sort of person to take the loss of his nasal niceties with good grace…

Over time, as the despairing and ever more vengeful Shinnosuke searches relentlessly for any trace of his vanished sister, he begins to transform into the infamous samurai Nobu Fudo, whose mask and dark demeanour leads many to believe that his inner demons might be somewhat more than of just the psychological kind…



Though, certainly in this book at least, the more magical, fantastical elements are kept to an absolute minimum. I suspect there is much, much more of that to come mind…

Tenuta is like Paul BATTLING BOY Pope and Sergio COLLECTED TOPPI Toppi for me, in that, perhaps not surprisingly given how long it is between his publications, I always forget what a brilliant writer he is in addition to such a spectacular artist. His epic sword (and well… pretty much every type of Japanese mediaeval weaponry you could imagine) battles are as clinically cut as they are bloodily brutal. The action depicted feels perfectly plausible in both dynamics and direction. The facial expressions of his characters are always so expressive, one can practically feel the ever-present shimmering tension trapped in Shinnosuke waiting to explode out in violence. Plus he does a pretty mean landscape too.



Whilst this story is part of the wider LEGEND OF THE SCARLET BLADES world, you can charge straight banzai screaming in here as this is very much its own story, as was the case with IZUNA BOOK 1. A must for fans of the likes of VAGABOND and BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL.


Buy The Mask Of Fudo Book 1 h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Also Arrived

Rather a lot of ‘em since we last published reviews!

New reviews may 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’.

Commute h/c (£18-99, Abrams) by Erin Williams

Cursed h/c (£16-99, Penguin) by Thomas Wheeler & Frank Miller

The End Of The World h/c (£27-50, Random House) by Don Hertzfeldt

The Hard Tomorrow h/c (£18-99, Drawn & Quarterly) by Eleanor Davis

Power Rangers Psycho Path OGN s/c (£14-99, Boom) by Paul Allor & Giuseppe Cafaro

Steven Universe: The Tale Of Seven h/c (£10-99, Abrams) by Rebecca Sugar & Elle Michalka, Angie Wang

The Tower In The Sea (£8-99, Avery Hill) by B. Mure

A Walk Through Hell vol 2: The Cathedral s/c (£17-99, Aftershock) by Garth Ennis & Goran Sudzuka

Maria M h/c Complete Ed (£26-99, Fantagraphics) by Gilbert Hernandez

Neon Future vol 1 s/c (£14-99, Impact Theory) by Jim Krueger, Tom Bilyeu, Steve Aoki, Matt Colon, Dana Brawer, Samantha Levenshus & Neil Edwards, Jheremy Raapack

Sandman Overture (30th Anniversary Ed’n) s/c  (£16-99, Vertigo) by Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III

DC Super Hero Girls vol 9:  At Metropolis High s/c (£8-99, DC) by Amy Wolfram & Yancey Labat

Superman: The Unity Saga vol 1: Phantom Earth s/c (£15-99, DC) by Brian Michael Bendis & Ivan Reis

The War Of The Realms s/c (UK Edition) (£15-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Russell Dauterman

20th Century Boys Perfect Edition vol 5 (£12-99, Viz) by Naoki Urasawa

Elfen Lied Omnibus vol 2 (£22-99, Dark Horse) by Lynn Okamoto

Goblin Slayer vol 6 (£9-99, Yen Press) by Kumo Kagyu & Kousuke


Aliens Vs. Predator: The Essential Comics vol 1 s/c (£22-99, Dark Horse) by various

Are You Listening? (£13-99, FirstSecond) by Tillie Walden

Billionaires (£16-99, Myriad) by Darryl Cunningham

Clockwork Watch: Sins Of My Father Part 1 (£10-99, Clockwork Watch Films) by Yomi Ayeni, Corey Brotherson & Jennie Gyllblad

Coda vol 3 s/c (£10-99, Boom!) by Simon Spurrier & Matias Bergara

Critical Role vol 1: Vox Machina Origins s/c (£17-99, Dark Horse) by Matthew Mercer, Matthew Colville & Olivia Samson

Deadlier Than… (£14-99, Doodle Doodle) by Corey Brotherson & Jennie Gyllblad, Olivia Samson, others

Estranged vol 2: The Changeling King s/c (£11-99, Harper) by Ethan M. Aldridge

Gideon Falls vol 3: Stations Of The Cross s/c (£14-99, Image) by Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino

Life (Black Cover) h/c (£20-00, LICAF) by Charlie Adlard

Life (White Cover) h/c (£20-00, LICAF) by Charlie Adlard

Mighty Jack And Zita The Spacegirl s/c (£11-99, FirstSecond) by Ben Hatke

Minecraft: Stories From The Overworld h/c (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Hope Larson, Ryan North, Stephen McCranie, Meredith Gran, others

Reincarnation Stories h/c (£26-99, Fantagraphics) by Kim Deitch

A Sparrow’s Roar s/c (£10-99, Boom! Box) by C.R. Chua, Paolo Chikiamco

Stargazing s/c (£9-99, FirstSecond) by Jen Wang

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story s/c (£12-50, Dark Horse) by Vivek J. Tiwary & Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker

The Walking Man (Expanded Edition) h/c (£25-00, Fanfare / Pontent Mon) by Jiro Taniguchi

Theatre Of Terror: Revenge Of The Queers s/c (£26-99, Northwest Press) by various

Things To Do Instead Of Killing Yourself s/c (£13-99, Floating World Comics) by Jon-Michael Frank & Tara Booth

Ms. Marvel vol 1 s/c (£15-99, Marvel) by Saladin Ahmed & Minkyu Jung

Spider-Man: City At War s/c (£17-99, Marvel) by Dennis Hallum & various

Star Wars: Tie Fighter s/c (£14-50, Marvel) by Jody Houser & Roge Antonio, various

Knights Of Sidonia vol 3 (Master Edition) (£31-99, Vertical) by Tsutomu Nihei

Inside Mari vol 5 (£11-99, Den Pa) by Shuzo Oshimi

Breaks vol 2 (Special Edition) h/c (£19-99, ) by Malin Ryden & Emma Vieceli


Ascender vol 1 s/c (£8-99, Image) by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen

Castle In The Stars vol 2: The Knights Of Mars h/c (£15-99, First Second) by Alex Alice

Cosmoknights vol 1 s/c (£17-99, Top Shelf) by Hannah Templer

Frogcatcher h/c (£14-99, Simon & Shuster) by Jeff Lemire

Invisible Kingdom vol 1 s/c (£17-99, Dark Horse) by G. Willow Wilson & Christian Ward

Jim Henson Power Of Dark Crystal vol 2 s/c (£12.-99, Other A-Z) by Si Spurrier, Philip Kennedy Johnson & Kelly Matthews, Nichole Matthews

Space Boy vol 5 s/c (£9-99, Dark Horse) by  Stephen McCranie

The Secret Time Machine And The Gherkin Switcheroo h/c (£9.-99, Walker Books) by Simone Lia

Time For Lights Out h/c (£18-99, Jonathan Cape) by Raymond Briggs

Pug Davis s/c (£15-99, Albatross) by Rebecca Sugar

American Carnage s/c (£16-99, DC) by Bryan Hill & Leandro Fernandez

Amazing Spider-Man By Nick Spencer vol 5 s/c (£17-99, Marvel) by Nick Spencer with Zeb Wells, Keaton Patti & Ryan Ottley, Humberto Ramos, Pat Gleason, Kev Walker, Todd Nauck, Dan Hipp

Spider-Man Life Story s/c (£22-99, Marvel) by Chip Zdarsky & Mark Bagley

Levius h/c vol 3in1 Complete Ed s/c (£25-00, VIZ MEDIA LLC) by Haruhisa Nakata

Melting Lover s/c (£13-99, Denpa Books) by Bukuro Yamada

No Guns Life vol 1 s/c (£8-99, VIZ MEDIA LLC) by Tasuku Karasuma

Knights Of Sidonia vol 2 (Master Edition) s/c (£29-99, Vertical Comics) by Tsutomu Nihei

I Am A Hero Omnibus s/c vol 11 (£17-99, Dark Horse) by Kengo Hanazawa

The Way Of The Househusband vol 1 s/c (£8-99, VIZ MEDIA LLC) by Kousuke Oono


The Arab Of The Future vol 4: 1987-1992 (£26-99, Metropolitan Books) by Riad Sattouf

Best American Comics 2019 h/c (£18-99, HMH) by various, edited by Jillian Tamaki

Black Science vol 9: No Authority But Yourself s/c (£14-99, Image) by Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse h/c (£16-99, Penguin) by Charlie Mackesy

Cerebus vol 4: Church & State II (Remastered Edition) (£37-99, Aardvark Vanaheim Inc) by Dave Sim & Gerhard

Dark Judges Book 2: Fall of Deadworld h/c (£19-99, Rebellion) by Kew-W & Dave Kendall

Kangkangee Blues (£5-00, LICAF) by Mark Stafford

Punk Mambo s/c (£13-99, Valiant) by Cullen Bunn, Peter Milligan & Adam Gorham, Robert Gill

Watch Dogs s/c (£13-99, Titan) by Simon Kansara & Horne

The Wild Storm vol 4 s/c (£14-99, Vertigo) by Warren Ellis & Jon Davis-Hunt

Symbiote Spider-Man s/c (£14-50, Marvel) by Peter David & Greg Land

Thor vol 3: War’s End s/c (£15-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Mike Del Mundo, Scott Hepburn

The Ancient Magus Bride vol 11 (£9-99, Seven Seas) by Kore Yamazaki

The Drifting Classroom vol 1 Perfection Edition h/c (£28-00, Viz) by Kazuo Umezz

Dr. Stone vol 1 (£6-99, Viz) by Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi

Dr. Stone vol 2 (£6-99, Viz) by Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi

Dr. Stone vol 3 (£6-99, Viz) by Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi

Dr. Stone vol 4 (£6-99, Viz) by Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi

Dr. Stone vol 5 (£6-99, Viz) by Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi

Dr. Stone vol 6 (£6-99, Viz) by Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi

Dr. Stone vol 7 (£6-99, Viz) by Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi

Dr. Stone vol 8 (£6-99, Viz) by Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi

Haikyu!! vol 1 (£6-99, Viz) by Haruichi Furudate


Walking Distance h/c (£10-99, Avery Hill) by Lizzy Stewart

Making Comics (£16-99, Drawn & Quarterly) by Lynda Barry

Hard Core Pawn #2 (£4-00, Heavy Manners) by Steve Lowes

Heartstopper vol 1 (£10-99, Hodder) by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper vol 2 (£10-99, Hodder) by Alice Oseman

The Starr Conspiracy h/c (£18-99, Humanoids) by Juan Gimenez

November vol 1: The Girl On The Roof h/c (£14-99, Image) by Matt Fraction & Elsa Charretier

MULP: Sceptre Of The Sun #5 (£4-99, Improper Books) by Matt Gibbs & Sara Dunkerton

Our Super American Adventure h/c (£8-99, Oni) by Sarah Graley, Stef Purenins

Our Super Canadian Adventure h/c (£8-99, Oni) by Sarah Graley, Stef Purenins

Operation Overlord (£19-99, Rebellion) by Michael Le Galli, Bruno Falba & David Fabbri, Christian Dalla Vecchia

These Savage Shores s/c (£14-99, Vault) by V. Ram & Sumit Kumar

Luthor s/c (£12-99, DC) by Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo

Superman Action Comics vol 1: Invisible Mafia s/c (£15-99, DC) by Brian Michael Bendis & Ryan Sook, Patrick Gleason, Yanick Paquette, Wade Von Grawbadger

Superman Year One h/c (£24-99, DC) by Frank Miller & John Romita Jr.

Deadpool Complete Collection (Joe Kelly) vol 1 s/c (£35-99, Marvel) by Joe Kelly & Ed McGuinness

My Hero Academia vol 21 (£6-99, Viz) by Kouhei Horikoshi

Tokyo Ghoul re: vol 13 (£8-99, Viz) by Sui Ishida


The Boys Omnibus vol 5 (£26-99, Dynamite) by Garth Ennis & Russ Braun, John McCrea, Darick Robertson

Firefly: The Sting (Original Graphic Novel) h/c (£14-99, Boom!) by Deliah S. Dawson & various

The House h/c (£17-99, Fantagraphics) by Paco Roca

Our Encounters With Evil h/c (£15-99, Dark Horse) by Mike Mignola & Warwick Johnson-Cadwell

Palimpsest – Documents From A Korean Adoption (£16-99, Drawn & Quarterly) by Lisa Wool-Rim Sjoblom

Taarna vol 1 s/c (£8-99, Heavy Metal) by Alex De Campi & Esau Escorza, Isaac Escorza

Justice League vol 4: The Sixth Dimension s/c (£22-99, DC) by Scott Snyder & Jorge Jimenez

Savage Avengers vol 1: City Of Sickles s/c (£14-50, Marvel) by Gerry Duggan & Mike Deodato Jr.

Star Wars: Age Of Resistance – Heroes s/c (£15-99, Marvel) by various

Fruits Basket Another vol 3 (£11-99, Yen Press) by Natsuki Takaya



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