Page 45 Review by Stephen
That is one well equipped modern mercenary: combat boots, flak jacket... ancient, double-bladed battle axe.
Not quite standard issue.
From the writer of LAZARUS and BLACK MAGIC and - with Ed Brubaker - GOTHAM CENTRAL comes another impeccably researched but more action-orientated mystery of military manoeuvres across the globe. Across time too, and Andy is fucking sick of it.
Clue: her full name is Andromache and, if you know your Euripides, she had a pretty shitty time of it every since Achilles went and whopped her husband Hector. I mean, a really shitty time of it. The Greeks tossed her sprog over the Trojan walls then, just to rub it in, made her a slave to Achilles' own son.
As the opening three pages make brutally clear the intervening centuries haven't brought much more peace. She appears to have fought her way through them all. Which is one way to trying to work through your understandable anger issues. She hasn't stopped fighting, either. Andy and her three male colleagues have one key advantage over others engaged in mortal combat: they're not mortal. They cannot die.
Unfortunately in the 21st Century keeping that quiet is a tad more difficult than it used to be: live footage not recorded onto a drive which could be deleted, but beamed immediately around the globe via satellite to someone who wants a piece of their anti-agapic action. You'll see.
What you won't necessarily see immediately - as Andy and co are on their way to South Sudan to rescue seventeen girls from heavily armed abductors - is what relevance there could possibly be in American marine Nile Freeman's search of a family home in Afghanistan full of very frightened women. But you will, at the end of chapter one.
The initial scene inside the home is beautifully played by both Rucka and Fernández who delivers both day and night, throughout, in a style similar to 100 BULLETS' Eduardo Risso: lots of silhouettes and shadows.
"We are searching for someone. We believe he is hiding her. This man. He has killed many of my people and many of yours. Have you seen this man?"
"No," replies the old woman, staring at the photo in terrified recognition.
"No, there are no men here," she says, glancing to the door behind which they are hidden, "and a man who would cower behind women... who puts them in danger and uses them as shields... he is no man at all."
"I thank you for your honesty and help. We will leave you in peace... blessings on your house..."
Everyone's in for some surprises, including you: being immortal isn't all it's cracked up to be if your family aren't in on it. And cannot be - Andy is adamant about that and eloquent on the subject.
On the other hand, discovering the love of your life early on, if they are immortal too...
Tenderness and brutality in equal measure.