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Aaron Costain


Page 45 Review by Stephen

"Let me fix that spelling mistake for you."

- The angel to one of the golems, casually readjusting the Hebrew inscription on its forehead.

There's so much dry and casual comedy here.

Beloved by both Kate Beaton (STEP ASIDE POPS! and HARK, A VAGRANT!) and Jesse Jacobs (CRAWL SPACE and SAFARI HONEYMOON), this took ten years to materialise in full. Extraordinary, then, that it should be so coherent in its conclusion, after a succession of revelations towards the end which are so startling that you'll want to begin at the beginning all over again and re-read it with the fresh eyes of hindsight.

I say, sir publisher, what do you have for us this time?

"Aaron Costain's ENTROPY follows a golem with a surprisingly modern sensibility, and an even more modern sense of style, as he backtracks through millennia to understand his own creation. ENTROPY takes place at the intersection of the world's cultures. Mythologies and religions cross-pollinate, bleed into one another, and form a new soul from synthesis - or they will if our epic hero can outrun man-eating giants, a vicious army of crows, a mute doppelgänger, an angel and one very manipulative, slave-driving cat."

Now, that's a bit misleading. It sounds as if the chap time-travels, but he doesn't go anywhere much, not fast. Instead, clad in gear to protect him from an irate Raven forever on the look-out to pick the poor guy's eyes out. he's talking to himself and sounding off to an angel, agonising over his immediate origins (who spawned him) and a mixed bag of creation mythologies from millennia ago which he feels to be in conflict. Ah, all these unnecessarily fretful questions about shared fictions really are their own problems, aren't they?

Meanwhile the angel's priority is far more mundane - he just wants to get out of the rain.

Kate Beaton likes that it asks the Big Questions. It doesn't; it asks utterly unnecessary ones which might even be its point given later developments, but I'd compare it to Anders Nilsen's BIG QUESTIONS in its eerie, limbo-like state, the only evidence of humanity being what it has left behind: abandoned buildings, equipment, clothing - and there's precious little of that.

It's very quiet, apart from all the talking animals. But he'd be much better off if they left him alone. He certainly would be wise to avoid listening, trust me.

I adore the clean lines of the well weighted figures. Even the textures are clean-lined, be they mountain ranges, wood grains of tree-trunk barks which look like a maze.

There are some superb deployments of silhouettes, and the angel is dazzling. There's a terrific use of negative space against radiating lines, until the angel adjusts in order to not blind our wandering, quite lost protagonist, then even then the way he radiates instead from within is mesmerising.

Oh, I so want to run with the last clause of that sentence, but you'll have to hang on for the final reveals.