Page 45 Review by Stephen
How did I let things get so out of hand?
Within days I have destroyed everything.
Why did all this happen to me?
Not, you'll note, Why did I do all this?
By the very last page Joe has indeed destroyed everything - more than you could possibly suspect, even though there's a clue halfway through! - and it takes less than a week.
If you really are after an answer, though, Joe, it's because you have no self-control, no sense of responsibility and ignore what little better judgement you have, so giving swiftly in to every ill-advised temptation that comes your way.
Noah Van Sciver's Joe is one big car crash and there he is on the third page, weak, wet and bedraggled, staring into the abyss you'll only find out about right at the end. The only things left are Joe's constant sneer lines on each side of his nose.
I love Sciver's heads, often sitting wonkily on shoulders like the protagonists' necks are broken, and Joe's mother-in-law is the most brilliantly repulsive, lager-swigging, pot-smoking, baggy and saggy waste of space - space that used to belong to Joe, Nicole and their baby. No more.
With thick, curling lines emanating from Joe and swirling round the innocent, oblivious customers, Noah's also a dab hand at the sweaty delirium of drunk, which is what Joe is during most shifts at the pizza place where he works as much overtime as he can get in order to feed his missus and kid.
So you've got to give him that: he does work long hours in order to provide but with all sixteen fingers on the self-destruct button. Also, get a load of this:
I'm 28 years old, working everyday to take care of my girlfriend - who will not get a job - and our child, who was unplanned and is more expensive than we thought.
Nicole is the mother of your newborn babv, Joe! How is Nicole supposed to get a job? And more expensive than we thought..? Slightly more time consuming as well, I expect.
Joe doesn't really do reality, as you will see. Nor forethought. He does boorish, belligerent, bad-tempered and what could possibly go wrong? The answer is everything.
Expect: sheets and puddles of dirty wet rain, clouds of sickly-sweet smoke and a punch in the face or two. I know I would, and I haven't hit anyone in my life, I don't think.