Thursday, 26 October 2017

MISTY VOLUME 2 - Graphic Novel Review

After the relative delights of Misty Volume 1, it's nice too see further stories getting the same treatment, and as ever Rebellion publishing have been quite careful with their selections.This time they've concentrated on writer Malcom Shaw, who penned both of the serials contained here, and once again it's a nice treat for anyone who misses the comic.

Whilst Misty was ostensibly aimed at the fairer sex, it was still highly accessible to boys, a fact evidenced by the sheer amount that have since admitted to reading their sister's copy each week. It ran for an impressive (for the late 70s) 101 issues before being swallowed by Tammy, and because it never had any regular stories it's influence on the sister title was minimal. What it did have was plenty of dark, horror themed serials that have left a mark on many people's memories. As we all know, girls' comics could be very nasty, and Misty was almost a bit of relief from some of the sadistic stories of other titles, as rather than have cruelty for it's own sake the emphasis was on storytelling, and if a bit of nastiness was there too then go for it.

The first half of the book is taken up by a story that many readers have been clamouring for, "The Sentinels". The sentinels of the title are two identical high rise tower blocks (proper 70s stuff here), one of which is empty because, you know, strange things happen in it. Our heroine is Jan, and her family is made homeless. Desperate, they move into the deserted tower block and, well, strange things happen in it. Where the reader may have expected a spooky tale, the reality was far more bizarre, unexpected and creative. You see, it turned out that within the tower block there was a portal to an alternate Britain where the Nazis had won the war and still ruled over us, the bastards. Unsurprisingly, Jan goes through and get mixed up in all sorts of stuff, including meeting her own alternate world double, and the drama unfolds.

"The Sentinels" truly is a bizarre, dark and highly entertaining read. Mario Capaldi's art is decent and effective, whilst Shaw handles the script deftly, never allowing the reader to second guess the plot or give up due to any inherant silliness. It's the first time I have read it, and I'm not surprised that it's so often touted as one of Misty's best tales.

The second half of the book is taken up by "End Of The Line", a decidedly more bonkers story in every respect. Yes, more bonkers than a 1970s tower block with a portal to an alternative earth in it. In this one Ann is a young girl still mourning her father, who disappeared (presumed dead) whilst healping to construct an extension to the London Underground. He's alive, naturally, and Ann has to investigate and put herself in all sorts of danger before she uncovers the truth. Interestingly, the blurb to the story says she encounters a time portal, but this is actually not correct, as you will see when you read the story. I don't want to go into too much depth so as not to spoil the plot, but trust me when I say the reason for her father's disappearance is probably the last thing you would expect.

Whilst "End Of The Line" is again entertaining, the sheer insanity of the plot makes it by far the lesser story of the two. It doesn't help that John Richardsoin's art is not all that great, although it serves it's purpose. Unlike with The Sentinels, I found my mind wandering, and the convoluted plot means you'll be thinking "What?" to yourself more than once. No wonder the copywriter got confused!

Overall, Misty Volume 2 is well worth picking up. The quality of The Sentinels more than makes up for the average End Of The Line, and it's a delight to see stories like this reprinted with due care, if not neccessarily attention to detail.

Pre Order HERE

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