Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"...Is this for real? I am beyond excited if so..."
"Yes! It is a thing. I'm sorry it took so long."
"No need to apologise that is amazing news."
No, not anything that appears within the pages of this thrilling follow-up to what I had long believed was my all-time favourite ever self-contained all-ages graphic novel (and former Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month) THE UNSINKABLE WALKER BEAN.
No. In fact, this was a conversation between myself and the ridiculously polite Aaron Renier shortly after I had spotted the advance solicitation on the Ingram website earlier this year. Ten long years after poor old Walker Bean and his chums had been left high and dry with us all wondering what might happen next, my prayers to the comics gods had been finally answered... there would be more!!!!
So... now there is a sequel... I can no longer officially call THE UNSINKABLE WALKER BEAN my all-time favourite ever self-contained all-ages graphic novel... I'll guess have to start thinking about what the new title holder might be! In the meanwhile, just to get you up to speed, whether you have read THE UNSINKABLE WALKER BEAN or not, because, you know, ten years is a long time, here's the publisher's sea-shanty to test out the proverbial cut of your jib, Jim* lad...
* and readers of all other names too...
"SHIPWRECKED! After their perilous encounter with the sea-witches, Walker and the pirate crew of the Jacklight find refuge on a deserted island. But it might not be as deserted as it seems--shadowy creatures have been spotted in the jungle, and strange animal tracks appear overnight. When Walker, Shiv, and Genoa discover a secret passage and mysterious ruins, the dark history of the archipelago begins to unravel. Legend tells of a mad king, a fallen civilization, and a powerful royal family in search of their lost sister. And for reasons Walker can't understand, Genoa seems to be at the centre of it all.
In this triumphant follow-up to the epic graphic novel The Unsinkable Walker Bean, Aaron Renier is back with more breathtaking art and high-sea adventure."
Oh my word, he is. Just let me catch my breath and stop my timbers shivering me hearties! I can't begin to tell you the joy I felt upon reading this work. You can see once again just how much effort Aaron has put into the story-telling, the character development and oh my goodness the art. When something is going to be this amazing, nay spectacular, you don't mind waiting for it. I mean, it would have been nice to know it was actually happening, instead of just daring to dream like a stranded shipwreck survivor, and I did email his publisher twice without reply during the long interval, I was that desperate to know, but still, now it matters not.
Everything I adored about the first book - the sheer vibrant grandiose detail of the art (including a dash of glorious shiny signature gold on the cover once more!), the deliberately, rewardingly, complex plot, plus the sheer satisfying depth of the machinations and motivations of all the characters, all so well fleshed out - is all here on show for us once again.
If you didn't know there was a decade of distress between the publication of the two volumes, you would never know. It is seamless. Indeed, for Walker Bean and his chums, plus some brand-new enemies, nary a moment has passed. So this is in essence a continuation of the first work, not a separate story. You will need to have read what was for ten long years my all-time favourite ever self-contained all-ages graphic novel (did I mention that by the way?) THE UNSINKABLE WALKER BEAN before starting on this volume.
But guess what? That is just double the comics joy for you! Will there be more...? I'm not sure...
Certainly there are some plot threads left tentatively dangling... Dare I ask, perhaps press-gang, Aaron? Because I'm sure what has seemed like a long ten years to us has felt like an eternity to him! But this second book could also very easily and very neatly wrap things up perfectly, and I do mean perfectly. In any event these two books together set the bar for all-ages action fiction as high as a crow's nest of the maritime variety. In fact... they might just be my all-time favourite ever all-ages graphic novel duology...