For yet another volume Tony Chew is relegated to being a bit player in his own comic. This could be seen as worrying as Tony has made an excellent vehicle for us to ride along with in Layman’s convoluted plot. But Toni Chew steps in – even though she is dead – with her unique sense of humour and shows us a good time.
With so many wonderful characters at Layman’s disposal he can’t resist ditching the humorous detective story for an ensemble family drama. Unfortunately many of these characters get so little screen time we are in danger of forgetting what made them so great in the first place.
The series seems to be in an awkward middle ground, trapped between characters and plot. Speaking of which we do take a step forward in the Avian Flu thread that was the set-up for the whole story in the first place. There are so many balls in the air at the moment that we aren’t really sure where we should be looking.
The great art performs its dependable magic once again. No one uses colour as boldly as Guillory with every panel dripping with vibrant power. His faces are dynamic, packed with elastic expressions that make the figures move as you read. Dream sequences, flashbacks, trip-outs, and science fiction daydreams are all mastered with aplomb. Never was an artist and a series so perfectly matched.
Despite appearing unfocussed and overburdened, and having lost the incredible narrative trickery that launched this voyage, it is still better than a lot of its competitors. There is heart and humour at play and you won’t want to give up on it.