Page 45 Review by Stephen
The Darrow is in the detail!
Carl Seltz is a devoted family man with a loving wife and two angelic children. Carl Seltz is a traditionalist who drives out of his quiet suburban neighbourhood every morning in an American classic to a car-congested, smog-ridden city of consumerist hell. Carl Seltz is an insurance fraud investigator.
Nixon, on the other hand, is an enthusiastic, pro-active tax man who aims to collect. Have you seen what he aims with? He has a license for that.
Actually both Nixon and Carl Seltz are para-personalities encoded into the same, deranged, homicidal robot who's being both covertly and overtly goaded into destroying everything that built him by a girl pretending to have been kidnapped by a homely old lady who bears a striking similarity to Mary Whitehouse.
Mary Whitehouse was the UK wizened sourpuss who took it upon herself to be the nation's moral guardian, insisting there be no bare bottoms or boobage before bedtime on British TV. I cannot imagine that her impact was felt across The Pond, but then I cannot believe that this is a coincidence given that HARD BOILED is one great big book of nudity, copulation and carnage.
Extreme carnage, relentless carnage, car-crash carnage: comedic carnage, meted out on the motorway and crashing through supermarket aisles where the shoppers are so intent on shopping that they remain oblivious.
The first is a masterpiece of scene-setting:
The first panel introduces all the dirt where we would expect instead clinical, futuristic cleanliness; a robotic dog with a surely redundant male lower carriage; an overweight technician in a lab coat and jumper bearing a barcode. Then there are the two armed guards with 3 holstered pistols on either padded shoulder saddle, grenades strapped onto each, a further pair pinned on either side of their night-vision helmets, gloves with finger-tip razorblades and phalange-mounted missiles... "Nuke" Nike patches and a CND logo!
This first landed on our shelves long before Geof Darrow's SHAOLIN COWBOY: SHEMP BUFFET and SHAOLIN COWBOY: WHO'LL STOP THE REIGN and you can file this too under social satire, toxic excess and consumerist dystopia. Look at all the litter!
At the end of the cybernetic industry stands Mr. Willeford. Ummm, no he doesn't! His repulsive, flabby form floats pink and naked in a bath, his waste automatically removed through tubes while his body is pumped by Body Buddy 2000 with the pulverised soup of Cola, 7-Up, frankfurters, fries and there are even a few naked babies lined up for processing.
Details, details, details: you can pick any page and stare at it for hours!
Even at all the earrings are ridiculous.