Page 45 Review by Jodie Paterson
"You have a mother and a father, three brothers, two sisters, two husbands, a cousin, an uncle, a son and five canines."
No, this is not the beginning of one of those convoluted math problems that plagued our childhood classrooms, though you would certainly be forgiven for thinking so. This is the title story 'Agrippina Arithmetic'; a tale of a domineering young woman, her somewhat unconventional family, and power. You are the empress Agrippina, a woman of great beauty and an extra canine in her upper jaw (apparently held as a symbol of good fortune, but that would certainly depend on your perspective of things.) A catalogue of chaos, this is the story of the demise of one of ancient Rome's most prominent families and the empress in the shadows of a tyrannical son. And you'll be glad of that math-problem-style opening. Recurring throughout, it poetically punctuates the timeline, centralising the many characters packing the pages of this ominous tale.
Another delightful display of diversity, Andi has once again presented us with a wonderfully eclectic mix of mini-comics. After Ancient Rome we're jettisoned into a haunting short of speculative fiction in 'The Future's So Bright', followed by a melancholic, mid-century number 'The Picture' with aesthetics very reminiscent of ASTERIOS POLYP. Finally, we are grounded back in present day with 'Speak Your Weight'; a humorous perspective of that all too relatable moment in our lives of taking those tentative steps onto the bathroom scales. I certainly know which one speaks to me, and it is the succinct statement of "hummus".