The Phoenix Weekender – Issue 130

Published On June 28, 2014 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Comics For Children, Reviews, The Phoenix Weekender

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It’s Friday, which means it’s time to relax with a coffee and a copy of the Phoenix. Sometimes it’s the small pleasures in life that make everything rosy. Shall we? Lets…..

Red Jack by John Dickinson and Sally Jane Thompson

Well, isn’t that a great cover? Thompson doing the business, a new story and a new artist for the Phoenix, another great artist whose work we’ve already highlighted a couple of times here on the blog with Atomic Sheep and Now and Then.

Her art for Red Jack has a thicker line that really suits the story, especially during some fabulous looking night scenes. As for the story itself, well perhaps it’s too early to judge, just 4-pages in, but there’s intrigue and adventure and very high stakes card games involved in this tale from foreign lands ruled by Count Vassili, although foreign lands and foreign soldiers that look very London in the 18th Century, red-coats and all. A young girl whose father taught her cards, a resistance leader called Red Jack, killed for carrying the dethroned young king to safety… the same man? perhaps… but it’s conjecture at this point. Whatever, the girl’s drawn into the resistance, into danger, into a cad game with very high stakes.

A good start, lots of questions, gorgeous artwork.

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Tales Of Fayt: The Crooked Imp by Conrad Mason and David Wyatt

The adventure moves on, the Demon’s Watch go looking for ‘the actor’, leaving Tabitha behind, just in time to catch a message from the Fairy gang holding the Rattigan’s baby hostage, whose contents finally let uss all know what this is all about, fairies looking for freedom, baby snatching meant to speed matters along….

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Whatever happens from here, I’d imagine Tabitha’s going to be right in the middle of it. I have a feeling we’re just getting over the mid-story drag that had crept in, things moving a little faster, still looking great, that whole Discworld feel still coming through strong.¬†There’s also a great little contest this issue to get yourself drawn into a Demon Watch poster – great editorial touch from the Phoenix. It also clued me in to the fact that writer Conrad Mason has already penned a couple of Tales Of Fayt prose books, something I hadn’t realised until now. Bad me.

Bunny Vs Monkey by Jamie Smart

“Please do not imitate anything Monkey does. He is a trained idiot!”

Sums it all up really. Bunny Vs Monkey still rocks, still delivers the yucks, the guffaws, the whatever else laughter based you might want. Funny? Oh yes.

It’s another BvM where practically every single panel delivers a great gag, visual gags, verbal gags… just brilliant. Watch Nurse Monkey (‘Kwalificay-shuns – Monkey is a nurss!’), whisk in hand, tenderly care for Bunny, bed-bound after a spade related accident…

It’s one of those episodes that has quotables in every darned panel, but I’ll leave it with this…

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“For now I think this patient could do with some fresh air!”
“What? No! Put me down!”
“And a hedge!”
“Oomf!

Tales To Give You The Shivers: Duck Pond Of Doom by Daniel Hartwell and Karen Rubins

Shivers you might not get from this one, but you will a fun four-page adventure featuring a park where ducks and dogs are mysteriously vanishing, a park keeper with a shocking tale to tell of unlikely duck pond invader and a couple of brave young kids with a plan to deal with it all. All very nicely done as well from both Hartwell and Rubins.

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Long Gon Done by The Etherington Brothers

Long Gon Don sometimes suffers from trying too hard to keep the story moving forward, the risk for comedy quest adventure things, but occasionally it stays put long enough for the Etheringtons to simply enjoy playing with their cast. Here’s one of those occasions, the first few panels of page one are a joyous pause, a great gag involving General Spode and his faithful spy Valush…

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Then it’s swiftly back to the business of shifting the plot forward, as a comedy of errors and missed connections ends up with Don and friends in serious trouble in the palace of Queen Phatcheekia, with crow companion Castanet letting the side down yet again.

Corpse Talk by Adam Murphy

Last week Murphy profiled Emily Wilding Davison, suffragette, this week it’s something completely different,, wholly unexpected, and an absolute delight; Suffragette: The Board Game. As with so much of what Murphy does in Corpse Talk, I learned something new and fascinating here, that board games were made as ¬†propaganda pieces to advance the Suffragette cause. However, I don’t imagine they ever made something as fun, as funny, as interesting as the one Murphy delivers here.

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Use acid to burn your message on a golf course? Go to Jail. Hack up a priceless painting? Go to Jail. Set soem postboxes on fire? Go to Jail. Heckle politicians? Go to Jail. There’s certainly a lot more chances for incarceration here than there is in Monopoly. More laughs and better art too. Great approach to things, entertaining and enlightening, education should always be this funny.

Murphy also has the first season of Corpse Talk released next week ¬†– review coming very soon (but without spoilers – it’s extremely good!).

Von Doogan – The War Of The Robots by Lorenzo Etherington

More great comic adventuring and puzzle solving conundrums, this week Von Doogan and his gang are hiding out from the robots and you’ll need to decipher the messages to work out where we’ll head next episode…

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Finally, some great news for all those fans of Tamsin And The Deep… the adventure from Neill Cameron and Kate Brown starts a new chapter next week….

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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