Page 45 Review by Stephen
"Hey, Pig! We hear you have an imaginary friend!"
"Ha ha. Lionel. If I had an imaginary friend I'd call him... MONSTERTRUCKOTRON 4!"
"The previous 3 fought each other to the death!"
Of course they did. Can someone please cut off Skunky's electricity supply? I don't even know where he gets it from. It's time to begin the review-proper.
Oh my days, would you look at these colours! Could they get any juicier? If you want your young ones to devour their comics - to gorge on reading - then this will appeal to their sugar-free frothy fruit cravings. I am salivating!
I demand that the PHOENIX COMIC WEEKLY immediately launches a range of ice lollies. As MEGA ROBO BROS' Neill Cameron suggested, they could be sellotaped to the front of each paper issue. What could possibly go wrong with that? On this cover alone we have cherry, blueberry and black currant, fizzy lemon, orange and asparagus flavours. Maybe with a cabbage-cream filling. Yum!
Meanwhile, this is bananas, and the colouring inside is equally lush. The skies on a winter's morning or early evening are a radiant yellow-below-blue behind purple mountains or peach-beneath-blue against bright white and blue-shadowed snow. It's beautiful to behold.
But I promised you bananas and it lies in the bombast. Squeals, shrieks and screams fill the forest as Bunny, Weenie and Pig are terrorised by monomaniacal Monkey and too-clever-for-his-own-good Skunky or - in the case of Weenie and Pig - each other. Weenie and Pig are a couple of clots who once played Pass The Brain Cell between them and fumbled it.
The very first strip, 'Log Off', has them hiding behind masks. "From what?" asks Bunny.
"Well, I'm hiding from Pig because he's wearing a scary mask!"
"And I'm hiding from Weenie because he's wearing a scary mask too!"
So often it's a question here of be careful what you ask lest you lose your marbles under a blanket of bafflement, but also: Touch Nothing! This is both, especially true of Action Beaver who is a coiled spring, a self-primed time-bomb waiting to go off with glee. What makes this particular two-pager pure Jamie Smart, however, is that central catastrophe has been carefully sandwiched between Weenie and Pig for a knock-out, domino-effect, double punchline.
Value for money - that's what I'm saying.
You can read my two previous reviews of the series by hopping over to our PHOENIX GRAPHIC NOVELS emporium in the Younger Readers section. Towards the end of the second volume, Smart started to lay the foundations of a subplot which here begins bearing fruit. Up until then we'd been spending time in this potentially idyllic woodland surrounded only by animals. But the prospect of humans encroaching on their not-so-tranquil repose with roads between cities is forewarned by Le Fox and now they're all beginning to be spotted.
I think I just sent a shiver up my own spine.
Don't worry, Pig and Weenie will put paid to that.
It's the energy and the expressions which propel these comics. There are teeth, teeth everywhere.
I note of page 34 that some seven-year-old is going to learn the term "synthesise". I hope they're more responsible with it than Skunky.