This is a far stronger prequel than Carthago Adventures. It benefits by being a much shorter, more focused story and it concludes very well. There’s no point reading this unless you’ve read Sanctum, as the story assumes that the reader has in order to work.
Romulus: Volume 1
Oh dear. Every writer has to have a duff story every now and then and this is Hill’s. There’s nothing horrendously bad about it, it just feels too familiar: It falls squarely in the ‘girl kicking arse’ sub-genre, spliced with a hefty dose of conspiracy theory of shadowy organisations manipulating everything. Fight sequences are well done, art is effective but at the end I was left with little incentive to continue reading, even with the last page cliffhanger thrown in.
Lucifer: Volume 2: Father Lucifer
Wow. This really upped the stakes. If it but has the time to realise its ambitions this series might end up being a third act on a par with its predecessors. (Lucifer Volume 1 and Sandman.)
It throws in a new enemy, builds on the first volume and sets up an enduring set of conflicts for future stories to work with and has excellent art from Garbett, who really gets to show off.
Groo: Friends and Foes OHC
I’ve decided to be more selective on OHCs, but damn, when DHC decide to do one, they go to town! Nice, thick page, perfect printing and binding, a nice, little set of extras of what is a 300-page cartooning masterclass from Aragones, Evanier and Sakai. You thought the lettering looked familar? It’s Sakai’s work, that’s why.
Like Usagi Yojimbo, if you took Groo seriously, it would be a terrible, horribly violent tale of a psychopathic idiot swordsman, but you’re not supposed to and it’s testimony to Aragones’ imagery that the reader never does. From the off, you are told by the visuals alone that this screwball comedy and should be treated as such.
At the same time, each issue is a masterpiece of cartooning, often containing at least one incredible double page spread:
With the larger page size and quality really allowing the detail to stand out - I’m quite certain I’ll read this again and notice new details in the background of a panel I missed first time around.
All in all, this is a big, superb book that merits its price tag - though by that, I mean I paid about £26 for it and feel I more than got my money’s worth.