Long Gone Don: The Terror-Cotta Army (The Phoenix Presents) by Robin Etherington and Lorenzo Etherington

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Long Gone Don: The Terror-Cotta Army (The Phoenix Presents) by Robin Etherington and Lorenzo Etherington

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Buy Long Gone Don: The Terror-Cotta Army (The Phoenix Presents) by Robin Etherington and Lorenzo Etherington at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A comic book that is definitely geared only to the young, but one that could become the basis for a large collection.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: January 2017
Publisher: David Fickling Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781910989784

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Despite the name, there's not a lot that seems that Long Gone about this Don. He's still a lively, active and fully-fleshed young lad, even if he is dead and in the underground trying to get back to humankind. His path is going to be complex – not least of all the first step, which involves entering a giant monster whose entire mouth is a jam-packed memorial full of graves for those in the city. Once further into the behemoth he finds something missing, which will cause a large problem – but there are problems from things going wrong outside too. With his motley collection of friends, can he find that final rare element, hope, and get back to the life he remembers, or will they find that too to be vanished?

This world, Broilerdoom, has been visited once before now, but with a succinct recap we see Don die (it involves soup, and vomit, and pets, and – oh, don't ask). It's a bizarre place, full of weird characters, weird situations and even weirder events, which may be a problem. To my measured, too-mature mind a lot of this became a little too wacky. There is always an issue in creating a world in which anything goes of knowing quite what should be allowed to go, and I think the line is crossed a little here and there.

That kind of slapdash element crossed over into the presentation, about which I'd raise quibbles. The binding forced a lot of the design deep into the page fold, so I had to struggle to see everything. But that's minor compared to the key scenes where I just couldn't work out what I was being shown, the monsters I had to work hard to fully capture in my mind's eye, and the looping, flimsy speech bubble pointers that don't always make it easy to tell who is saying what. This might be a left-over from it being a reprint of a comic that may well be a larger format, but it could do with looking at. (As, seeing as this is a reprint, would be the number of printing errors.)

Still, all that said, there is some fun to be had. It won't set the world on fire, but I think there is just about enough here to show the book and the source comic have what it takes to appeal to the young reader. Certainly with the pages of the periodical would come a sense of ownership for the target audience, which these pages would speak greatly to, and they would feel proud of picking and collecting the contents. This showcase compilation, originally spread over I know not what number of issues, could well make the right child a great fan of graphic novels. This example is on the wordy side and definitely tending to the wacky, but has the exuberance, the gaudy colour and the vim and vigour to appeal.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The likes of The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud belongs on a shelf nearby.

Buy Long Gone Don: The Terror-Cotta Army (The Phoenix Presents) by Robin Etherington and Lorenzo Etherington at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Long Gone Don: The Terror-Cotta Army (The Phoenix Presents) by Robin Etherington and Lorenzo Etherington at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Long Gone Don: The Terror-Cotta Army (The Phoenix Presents) by Robin Etherington and Lorenzo Etherington at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Long Gone Don: The Terror-Cotta Army (The Phoenix Presents) by Robin Etherington and Lorenzo Etherington at Amazon.com.

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