Page 45 Review by Stephen
So that's how you spell Pangaea: with three 'a's!
1717, and Miss Sophie Delacourt is on a tall ship sailing the Caribbean seas, bound for the fabled continent of Pangaea. Which, to be fair, is a pretty small continent about the size of an English county but with much less cricket and far more riding. It's what's being ridden that's startling.
She's to be delivered to the island's governor, her guardian now that her parents are dead and you'd think once they'd reached port that they would be safe from pirates, but then you haven't taken into account the dreaded Sea Of Green. This is no ordinary inland waterway but a vast plain covered in grass tall enough to hide any human. Or reptile. Think raptors. Think bigger.
Navigating the Sea Of Green, therefore, requires protection and after the very same ship they sailed in secures its sails it is hoisted - lock, stock and barrel - aboard the back of a cream and green, long-necked leviathan, a beast called Bessie, several times the size of the tall ship. She's kept under control by Snuffman John, so-called because of the pouch of snuff that keeps the diplodocus docile. High above the grasslands infested by so many predators they should surely be safe - but you wait until you catch a glimpse of Bessie's opposite, obsidian number! You've never seen a dinosaur like it!
These vast panoramas occupying the top half a page at least once per chapter are the stars of the show, although Hartwell always keeps something in reserve for Cameron to capitalise on later. A mere three pages after the black beauty with its white Jolly Roger tats looms, snorting into view (look how the page lists under its weight and momentum!) you will see why narrow valleys aren't always the best escape route!
It's fast and it's furious - it has to be when published weekly in little more than four-page instalments - and there's far more to come like the secret of Raptor Rock and the quest for the Golden Skull hidden in a temple atop the Forbidden Isle. There's much shivering of timbers (I think they'd be ejected from the Pirates Guild otherwise and given that it's another Young Adult album from the pages of THE PHOENIX weekly - that hallmark of quality whence STAR CAT, GARY'S GARDEN, CORPSE TALK, LONG GONE DON, BUNNY VS MONKEY and the artist's own HOW TO DRAW AWESOME COMICS - you're guaranteed a good read.
So please do look under the cover which isn't all that it could be. Normally I'm a big a fan of a matt finish as anyone, but here the bruised-peach and purple palette looks stodgy compared to the more sympathetically matched and much brighter, lighter colours sitting on a stock whose sheen adds enormously to the sense of space and fresh air.