Page 45 Review by Stephen
I count ten brand-new story pages: four in the first chapter adding an unexpected angle to Doctor Berry's immediate and very recent homelife; two in the final chapter before ***** bites the dust; and four more later on in the construction site which will have your heart pounding before you realise the act of aggression's true intent. More on the extras in second after two paragraphs of actual content
Not for the first time Morrison questions man's less than honourable relationship with animals, and this time goes for the jugular as a dog, a cat and a rabbit - household pets on which we as a civilised species traditionally lavish profound affection in the home, yet which we are perfectly content to have experimented upon in order that shampoo should taste like tropical fruit juice - are converted into abominable military hardware, their brains drilled deep with wires, their limbs encased in weapon-stuffed armour, their instincts vocalised as simplistic text messages. Then the project is threatened with termination. One scientist finds sympathy (not when she was sawing skulls off, this may be vanity speaking instead) and unwittingly unleashes three ferocious killing machines who won't be stopped in their quest to find their way back to their original homes and owners.
Every now and then a comic comes along that's so different it takes your breath away, and this is the latest. Morrison and Quitely have a long history and a big reputation, yet here, staggeringly, they hit overdrive on what is at heart a simple tale, but in execution a riveting, emotionally traumatic, visually mind-blowing tour de force which will swiftly head your list of "Comics To Buy My Friends Who Don't Read Comics". Quitely's panels-within-panels are insanely detailed, perfectly positioned and merciless in their content. I cannot think of a single customer who wouldn't be thoroughly affected by this. You might not thank me for the recommendation when you start reading, but I recommend it all the same, if only to leave you feeling distressed, disgusted and perhaps a little ashamed. That's okay, I'm with you on that.
In addition to the ten new story pages, this edition features a twenty-eight-page sketchbook in which Morrison & Quitely explain their reasoning and design work behind the logo (dog collar disc / military name-tag melting in an act of liberation), the insanely detailed "animal-time" panels, some of them suspended then rotated for the cat to jump through (that double-page spread is an innovation of pure beauty!), the armour itself, the three front covers, and the unique physical artefact behind the six-page surveillance camera sequence which Quitely's family nearly binned by mistake! All of which are revelations that reaffirm one's love of creators who think outside the box about what they're putting on a page, why, and how.