Page45's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 32
8.0Avg. Review Rating

10
100% #5

May 31, 2003

There's something in his creations' eyes. Life, emotion and a glint which says "you will never know me, but you can try".

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8.0
Alan Moore's The Courtyard #1

Feb 19, 2003

By employing the Anomaly Theory to winnow out the 'most troublesome' details in each case - obscure fragments which don't fit the profiles and which are consequently overlooked - and find new connections therein, one detective thinks he has a lead, and heads undercover to a putrid hole of an apartment. From there he wanders down to hang out in Club Zothique, "an amphetaminefield of concussive music and light, full of underage heat," and waits for something to happen, for the fragments to fall into place. They do, but things take an unexpected turn when he receives a report from a previous 1925 investigation into child smuggling centred on the old church which now hosts Club Zothique, and a photograph of J. Edgar Hoover from a F.B.I. operation a couple of years later, involving interbreeding in Massachusetts. Hoover's there, clear as day. But what the hell is that, chained under the blanket?

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8.0
Beware the Creeper #1

May 8, 2003

The comparison with SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE holds up in almost every aspect, right up to the dream element. The art is a little cleaner, with more than a nod towards Ditko (particularly in Judith's face), but once more the protagonists are grounded in some impeccably rendered scenery, and the man has captured the mood and the city perfectly. Thumbs up, for the moment. Next issue, please.

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8.0
Blackburne Covenant #1

May 8, 2003

There are a couple of lines I might tighten, for example "Please, Larry. I wouldn't know The Monroe Doctrine from Marilyn Monroe" would have come out better as "I wouldn't know Monroe Doctrine from Monroe, Marilyn," but this is an early sign that Dark Horse's latest attempt at a new "line" (horror in this instance, backed up by HELLBOY and the new Niles & Templesmith offering due next month) may prove more successful than their previous ill-fated forays.

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8.0
Blood & Water #1

Mar 27, 2003

Now, with the help of artist Tomm Coker, whose solid figure work (think Duncan Fegredo inked by a restrained Kent Williams) also sports the odd inspired quirk, like curls on cheeks for laughter, Judd's also produced what appears to be the first genuinely interesting vampire tale since BLOOD (and that's what, fifteen or more years ago?). It's not pompous, or ponderous (the quotation above was spread over five panels), nor remotely gothic. It's funny and zappy, entirely contemporary, with some clever little devices, two charming supporting stars, and I can't wait to see where he goes with it.

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8.0
Comics Journal #256

Jan 6, 2004

The best issue of the Journal since Devlin & Crane took over for a month.

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8.0
Eddie Campbell's Egomania #2

Jan 24, 2003

Recordings of three of these pieces are available - and Eddie continues his History of Humour in the back of the magazine.

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10
Fantastic Butterflies #1

Sep 14, 2002

“It's got time machines, kung fu fighting, and dance parties. How cancer robots, depressed doggies, and exploded testicles fit into this is anybody's guess” and from some chap called Frank Miller: “James Kochalka…is one of the most shockingly good comic book artists out there right now.”

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8.0
Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules #1

Jan 24, 2003

The art is by Guy Davis and even though he may try to blot his copybook by working on some joyless projects you can't fault his natural figure work and excellent settings. Various help is given by R. Sikoryak (a RAW alumni) and Michael Vrana (previously the publisher at Blackeye). It's a strange heritage but this is no jokey peek back, no Alan Moore-ish deconstruction and all the players are respectful with the history.

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10
Global Frequency #1

Dec 13, 2002

What little time there is for exposition is both subtly hidden and perfectly timed, delivered in minimal short-hand. So grab yourself a new contract, and sign up to the Global Frequency. More of what you'll want, less of what you won't.

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8.0
Grrl Scouts: Work Sucks #1

Feb 20, 2003

Very much like the way their t-shirt statements are constantly changing in a running manifesto (Meat Beat or otherwise), but it's also a dead give-away, because it's a Mahfood manifesto, and one wonders if he even considers giving them a personality that isn't his own.

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8.0
Halo & Sprocket #4

Jul 8, 2003

This issue: spatial awareness ("I have a question for you Katie." "Alright...." "Is it possible to divide the length of [a] distance in half?" "? Yes." "Can you then divide the remaining distance in half?" "Uh-huh." "And how many times can you do that?" "Forever, I guess." "An infinite amount?" ""Yes." "Does it bother you than infinity... fits within a finite distance?"), Art and its connoisseurship, and Cats: highly intelligent or profoundly stupid? Kerry will let you decide...

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6.0
Kingpin #1

Jul 8, 2003

Loyalty is something he uses rather than appreciates, because he's a chess player. Tactical sacrifices are all part of that game, so you don't want to be his rookie, that's for sure. Written with confidence and panache by the current HULK scribe Bruce Jones, it's very fine crime, with some cleverly plotted betrayals, and if they can please keep the spandex out, there's no reason it shouldn't be a monster. Oh dear, too late.

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8.0
Love and Rockets Vol. II #7

May 8, 2003

It's still a bright, clear day here. I can see a few fast moving clouds if I look up past the buildings but if I look down to the comic in front of me I can see sharp Californian sunshine, single story houses that probably arrived as a kit, foreboding trees and three lost women and three histories of wrong turns.

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8.0
Love Fights #1

Jul 9, 2003

Yes, this is set in the city crawling with superheroes. He works for a comic company with the license for one of the biggest of the enhanced beings and she is trying to get ahead at a gossip magazine all about the same bunch. Will true love win through?

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8.0
Mek #1

Dec 13, 2002

The wider plot involves the inventor of this technology returning to a city whose inhabitants now consider her pass (should I make the French past-participle agree with the object's gender? Academics please advise), upon hearing that her old business partner and ex-lover has been murdered after allegedly dealing in 'Bad Mek', military or otherwise prohibited use of physical modifications. Now, when I say I can't make my mind up about Rolston, here's why: the cover is absolutely beautiful, right down to the type-face employed for the credits. It's an elegantly simple mechanical hand, broken and leaking oil, under the scattered petals of a single blue rose on white. Classy.

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4.0
Outsiders #1

Jul 8, 2003

But the man who gave us PEDRO & ME and the ADVENTURES OF BARRY WEEN really should get out of the superhero game and return to what he does best, which is anything other than this.

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8.0
Planetary Reader #1

Jul 8, 2003

There are two books out so far, this reprints the next three issues, and the next issue (#16) is now due out in August. The overall idea is that the Planetary crew investigate strange phenomena, the fall-out of various nasty, landings and battles over the last century or more, as Ellis excavates (and occasionally desecrates) comicbook history, plundering it for - and warping it to - his own narrative ends. You may begin to recognise his sources, but as I said, their context is completely new. During the second book there's a gradual coalescence of previous, seemingly unconnected events, into the revelation of the identity and whereabouts of their mysterious Fourth Man. And although that will mean nothing to you until you embark, it means everything to Elijah Snow who's drafted in at the outset, without a full compliment of memories. In this mini-reprint, however: Dreamtime and vampires. So that's an order from Mr. Keast at least.

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6.0
Rawhide Kid #1

Feb 20, 2003

But this is fifty shades short of Donna Barr, and if you want real camp, if you want camp as flouncy tits, with real snazzy dressing and something to say, go straight to DESERT PEACH. She's been doing it for years, and doing it to perfection.

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8.0
Runaways #1

May 8, 2003

But they're not. Which is where the tone takes an unexpected turn from light, BLUE MONDAY-esque banter, to really rather sinister. None of which feels (or looks) remotely like a Marvel comic. I've no idea who I'm going to sell this to - SIDEKICKS readers are the closest target I can think of, and there aren't too many of them - and I've no idea where this is going. It just stood out as being a bit of a surprise.

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8.0
Scooter Girl #1

May 31, 2003

I won't say a bad word against BLUE MONDAY, Chynna's other tittle, but this is so much more sophisticated and smoother then her previous work. The timing is everything. It's slapstick in a comic and it works.

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8.0
Sleeper #1

Feb 20, 2003

The dialogue is terse and suitably confrontational, the first person narration flows like a dream, and Ed's organised the first issue's revelations - which you will need to put some work into yourself - with perfect timing. A few short months ago Wildstorm was creatively dead in the water. Quite the turn around.

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2.0
Superman: Red Son #1

May 30, 2003

The problems with this book are two-fold. Firstly, while there are a great many interesting political questions that can be raised by this issue, Millar has so far failed to raise them himself. We, the readers, can raise them on his behalf, but this shouldn't be necessary. The other problem is one that appears time and again with Elseworlds: one superhero gets rewritten and then suddenly the rest get jealous and jump in too. So we end up with Wonder Woman and what appears to be the origin of Batman thrown in for good measure. If these mini-series sales are so lacklustre that they need to be bolstered with appearances by other superheroes, then DC should just stop doing them. Having said that, you can see Millar getting his geek thrills from this, and if you're of that predilection you can join in. Millar may be too close to the characters (he's a DC fanboy*) to produce the sort of rewrite he's doing for Marvel, or maybe it's just that politics aren't really his thing. Either way, this

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10
The Drowners #1

Jan 6, 2004

Run, don't walk, to your retailer and demand a copy. If they won't supply, drop us a line...we may have one left...but it's walking out the door.

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8.0
The Eternal #1

Jul 8, 2003

In this instance they visit Earth to make first contact with our hairy ancestors ("Urf?" "Ee! Ee! Ee!" "Graah!" - sounds like my lounge on Christmas morning), but in this instance their transformation of the females proves... rather too successful. The Eternals swiftly fall in lust with their new compatible "sex toys", but their leader may have gone one further. He may have fallen in love. Power struggles, slavery and rape - this reads far more like euro sci-fi than anything from Marvel since the demise of Epic. Strong script too.

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10
Three Days In Europe #1

Dec 13, 2002

It's a long time since I've seen such attractive work from an artist I've been unfamiliar with. Mike composes his pages as perfectly as he does each panel, with a flawless command of blacks, body language and choreography, imbuing the whole with a vitality reminiscent of the very best of animation. There's also a back-up feature previewing CHEAT ("Breaking hearts this February"), a new graphic novel by HOPELESS SAVAGES's Christine Norrie. It may be your only chance to see the thing in pencil, and trust me, you won't want to miss that opportunity.

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10
Three Strikes #1

May 31, 2003

This is work of good old-fashioned craft and graft. The visuals aren't supermodel slick, but they're solid as anything when it comes to the storytelling, and within a few pages of the twin narratives, complete with distinct, credible and compelling perspectives, I was thoroughly immersed with no inclination to come up for air. The collision, on the last page of the first act, displays a perfect 10 out of 10 for timing. Add to that some serious circumstances, and a virtual absence of the transparently artificial exposition which some of the big-name writers still fall prey to, and this definitely deserves a first, second and third hearing.

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8.0
Too Much Hopeless Savages #1

Jul 8, 2003

Their only hope, she declares, is to separate, leading into a lovely panel I'll have Dominique put up on the website, but for those of you who share my reluctance to journey into the time-sucking world-wide web of doom, it's basically the four of them declaring:

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8.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #1

Jan 6, 2004

Can't say it thrilled me, but neither has the original outside of Grant Morrison's contribution, and I don't suppose for one second that I'm their prime target audience.

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10
Vertical #1

Jan 6, 2004

Refreshing, exhilarating, beautifully written, loved it. One-shot, again appropriately enough, from Vertigo.

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8.0
Vertigo Pop! - Bangkok #1

May 31, 2003

Tuesday has guilt-tripped her boyfriend Marshall (or "Marz" as he insists on being called) into taking them to Thailand on the proceeds from a cheesy late-time movie he's just acted in, after finding out he'd fucked his co-star in her trailer. This is his penance, and Tuesday has every intention of making the entire trip a punishment. Even if it means buying an elephant. That's as far as she's though things through. Unfortunately, if you don't make specific plans of your own, you're going to end up as part of someone else's. And so Marz stumbles under the influence of Julien and Benny (the latter being less of a sex tourist, more of a "sexpatriate"), who need a mule to get a sex-slave back to the States: "Somewhere in the crowd of maggot-infested backpackers who crawl through Bangkok day after day, we're going to find the dumbest sucker of all." And that would be Marz. "That was our vacation in Bangkok. We showed up with our good old American ways, wisdom and cash. And when we left...

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8.0
Vertigo Pop! - London #1

Dec 13, 2002

Milligan polishes off the first part with the last piece to his scenario, a punchline which reminds us why we can't stop reading him, and one I'm not about to give away here. Looking good!

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