Page 45 Review by Stephen
I won't fuck about.
If you love the fuck out of Mafia movies then this fucking fuck will have you sweating like fuck, then running for fucking cover, the fucker.
There may also be the occasional expletive.
I don't know about you but few things terrify me more than the Mafia or its equivalents, like the IRA. I don't want to get sucked into worlds which leave me impotent and exposed yet from which there is no hope of escape. People with power who are way beyond accountability who can use you and abuse you and demand your submission.
From the creative team who brought you POWERS comes something equally dark but completely free from capes. In a power struggle between some very dangerous men it is so, so tense. I highly recommend it to readers of CRIMINAL.
Here the Mafia were never subdued in America. Instead a considerable portion of the country was conceded to them to rule semi-surreptitiously and with impunity as long as they left the rest of the politicians alone.
Handsome young Valentine is sworn in as a Made Man long before his few years of service would generally merit it. But his father - and his father's father before him - was of such stock that he was effectively fast-tracked. And Valentine is equally committed to the family.
His first duty is to deliver a message to a Senator in Washington DC. The message was in the form of a briefcase and that, however cryptic to others, would speak for itself. Valentine asked for his cousin to accompany him and reluctantly that was agreed. He didn't ask for hitwoman Jagger Rose to accompany him but she was persuasive, effective, so reluctantly he agreed.
The message was seemingly delivered but another was sent in its place: the detonation of a bomb, blowing up said Senator. Nobody knows what it means. Or at least, no one will admit to knowing or to being its messenger.
The hunt for the truth behind the bomb blast is on and it's a race against time because Valentine and Jagger Rose - although caught in its path - are the most obvious prime suspects. They're wanted more dead than alive by the government, the families in general and their very own family in particular who claim to their faces that Valentine and Jagger have betrayed them.
Whom do they trust? Whom do you trust? Who has set whom up and why?
Oeming and Soma have delivered something dark, stark, brooding and sweaty: claustrophobic and unsettlingly lit. The colours are far from naturalistic and occasionally venomous - I'm thinking the intrusion of Valentine's Ma on her son and Jagger Rose - while the first page's flashback in chapter two was a wee bit Hernandez. Lots and lots of silhouettes. Quite a lot of crimson.
It's jagged and nasty and grotesque. The faces are like masks when you can see them at all. So often all you get are the eyes, burning with bitterness or hatred. So much of this is instinctively delivered, expressionistic, like lines of reverse silhouettes or tiny side-panels offering background chatter, the rolling of dice and the cocking or firing of guns.
I haven't told you everything. Valentine has been set up, I can assure you of that. But was it by his own don, another family, Rose herself or another party? Because in the very first chapter immediately after being sworn in to the mafia family and its innermost circle whom Valentine has been raised to love with all his heart, he is called to one side by his mother.
And she tells him a secret.
I've never known a series with so many reversals so early on then repeated throughout right to the very last page. I rated POWERS. I rated it very highly. I am big fan of Bendis to a degree that is almost unseemly. Pop him in our search engine and see for yourself!
But this is on another level from POWERS completely.