Page 45 Review by Jonathan
Just had a glance at the front cover again, after finishing this work, and pondering upon Ben's comment that in addition to this being a silent comic, there will be no explanations given or anything revealed that isn't already on the page... and I've just noted something I didn't spot originally. Well, perhaps I did, but now it has a far greater significance to me...
I'm not normally a huge fan of wordless comics, probably because I can have the nicest artwork in the world but if there isn't a good plot, it's just not my thing. Often I will read something twice, once quickly reading the plot and then a second time, taking in more of the art. This wordless piece though, is rather different, which is probably why Ben felt the need to pen his foreword, explaining that this story of two children will, over the course of several volumes, keep leapfrogging forward in time by six months, as happens once within this volume, over a span of ten years of their lives, telling us the story of their epic and bloody adventure. All of which creates a suitably intriguing sense of mystery before you even start reading!
I'm loath to give any of the plot away suffice to say Ben's use of the words "epic" and "bloody" are certainly not going to be exaggerations if this first instalment is anything to go by. I was enticed in by the two innocent-looking cherubs and taken on the first steps of a journey reminiscent of a Humanoids imprint European sci-fi fantasy masterpiece. If you are familiar with Ben and Chris' previous work PORCELAIN, you'll know what an incredible artist Chris is, and I can say with complete certainty what they've done here just wouldn't work in the way it does without his exceptional ability to portray a scene. But what I found most astonishing was just how complex a story is being told by Ben here, without the aid of narration or speech. It's so ambitious in its scope and I admire that ambition greatly.
Yes, you will have to spend some time occasionally puzzling precisely what the nuances of a given situation are, but I don't doubt whenever that occurs, it was precisely Ben's intention that you do so. I actually found myself reading this four times in succession, my understanding of precisely what was being revealed increasing with each subsequent read, particularly in the second half of the book. It does of course finish with a cliffhanger, albeit quite a gentle one (this time at least) that will set up the next six-month leap forward in time, and it'd be nice to think that Ben and Chris are intending to keep up a publishing schedule to match. Just kidding - slightly begrudgingly, I must admit - as I wouldn't really want them to rush, because when something is this good I am prepared to wait.