Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"My daddy jumped the wall."
"Yeah? Need a smoke, kid?"
"No thank you. He was sick of living in the dark. In the shadows of big buildings. He said they throw shade on us. Steal our light. It's supposed to be better over the wall."
"Maybe. But wherever you go, there you are, kid."
Is the metaphorical grass really greener on the other side? Or is it all just a matter of perspective? Irrespective, you make your decisions and deal with the consequences. Which assumes you're in a position to make any decision at all that is
Particularly if you've left it too late to deal with the consequences of innumerate bad previous decisions leading to the imminent collapse of the global eco-system and thereby society at large...
I mean, they might not have been your decisions, but hey, we're all in this together right, including the bees? They're not happy at all. Whatever mysterious goings-on are happening in the seemingly technology-free zone over the other side of the brutal barricade, it's not enough to placate their apian anxiety
Maybe if we'd let the bees have a voice they might have said errr
just hold on a minute. But then we've never been good at the whole multispecies living happily together business have we? Which probably explains why the aliens have turned up to covertly harvest us for seeds as they know we are totally and utterly doomed! With that said, though, even the aliens don't seem entirely certain it's definitely the end of the world as we know it, but they're perfectly fine with fiddling with us for their financial benefit like we're merely an insignificant sub-species who doesn't get a say in the matter. What utter bastards
Except, there's one good egg
headed alien called Race who seems more intent on planting a seed than harvesting them, as he's only gone and engaged in a bit of multispecies misbehaviour with a lovely local lady called Lola. She's fallen for the soft-boiled saucer dweller and it seems her feelings are reciprocated.
That would all be quite the story, right, if only there were a reporter capable of breaking the news through to the signal-to-noise deafened drones still mindlessly going about their business thinking everything will work out alright somehow? And I don't mean the bees... They definitely know something is up. But when all news is simply fictional fishing for views and click-throughs how do you actually convince people something so blatantly preposterous is actually true? Tricky
but fortunately our devious dealer of disinformation, Astra, is determined to let the whole world know what the extraterrestrials are up to behind the wall and thinks she knows just how to convince the hoi polloi it isn't all just one more highly entertaining conspiracy hoax.
Ann Nocenti's story is a subtle mingling of many seemingly minor, almost inconsequential elements which gradually layer up and overlap to ultimately create a highly textured piece of storytelling. Speaking of texture, you'll be gently caressing the cover for quite some time before even opening this work as the honeycomb dimpled surface which sits subtlety under the stark artwork of the motif of a bee in a hexagonal maze is the veritable sensorial treat and also an immediate indicator of the interconnected imaginings you'll find inside. Given the nature of its cellular construction, I suspect this is a work people will take entirely different things away from, which is always a neat trick to pull off.
David Aja's art, meanwhile, is an essential component of this carefully crafted confusion. The dark, even menacing at times, artwork comprising of black, white and moss green colours, textured with extensive shadows and staccato stippling has a real sense of foreboding and mystery in places. There is a genuine impending apocalyptic feel to it all, occasionally seasoned with some lighter panels usually involving our star-crossed lovers, where perhaps we are offered some slight shreds of hope for a more honeyed future. What precisely that future might look like however, nobody truly knows. But hey, wherever it is, we'll be there right? It'll be too late to decide otherwise at that point anyway... so we better make the right choices now.