Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"The wild beast hurls himself forth, and is swallowed by this new world, new to him and yet so oddly familiar. A feeling of deja vu. Time's serpent is forever unspooling its coils..."
Yep, that's pretty much how I feel every single week when I start reviewing a new batch of comics...
But enough of me... here is the publisher to try and make some sense of this artistic slice of Euro-madness.
"A heady perfume of blood and rage across the stars featuring Philippe Druillet's legendary Lone Sloane. In the third century BC, mercenaries employed by Carthage during the first Punic War rose against their employers, who repeatedly postponed their pay. Two barbarian clan chiefs, Matho and Narr'Havas, fell in love with the beautiful and ethereal Salammbo, daughter of Hamilcar of Carthage. A bloody conflict arose.
Based on the 19th century novel by Flaubert, Salammbo was reappropriated and recontextualised by Druillet in this masterwork. Transposing the ancient Punic Wars into his space fantasy universe, and splicing the identity of the novel's Mathô with his favorite character, Lone Sloane, Druillet works his intoxicatingly psychedelic magic on a literary classic, reinvigorating it from the inside out with his own transcendent storytelling."
It's quite something, that's for sure. The word psychedelic is frequently over-used, devaluing its proverbial psychoactive coinage, but it certainly applies here, let me tell you. Be in no doubt of that whatsoever.
In fact, I'm rendered slightly speechless by the sheer kaleidoscopic insanity of what I've just... absorbed.
If in artistic terms you like Bryan Talbot's (frustratingly still out of print) NEMESIS THE WARLOCK, Brandon Graham and chums' PROPHET, Kevin O'Neill's LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, Mike JUDGE DREDD McMahon, then I think this is going to hit all those notes for you in a cacophonous, riotous rhapsody... with additional ultra-vibrancy included of the sort that only an entire extra-large set of felt-tips can produce. It's bright... It's Brendan McCarthy bright...
Storytelling-wise it is also as out there as GARDENS OF GLASS by Lando, PICNOLEPTIC INERTIA by Tsemberlidis, and Moebius' more philosophical stuff such as THE WORLD OF EDENA. Yet... this also has its own strangely urgent, precise tension that is almost certainly due to the accompanying staccato narration that frequently appears in intense, rather substantial chunks.
Consequently I felt like I could either just look at the pretty mind-bending pictures or simply read the prose story. The two definitely feel like a parallel attack. They work together certainly; it just felt like a perversely, deliberately incongruent approach. Like, "I've just drawn this brilliant artwork, so, I suppose I better come up with some suitably mesmeric words to go with them." As I say, it works, it absolutely works, it is just not what one is typically exposed to. Which for this material is entirely apt.