From Publishers Weekly
This bit of tongue-and-cheek third-generation fight manga is wondrously fun, but difficult to classify. The hero, Joe, employs a magic cat, Earthling J. J. Cattingworth the Third, to do his fighting, lock picking and spy-gizmo work. (PETA members, beware—Joe makes the cat "work" by flinging syringes full of drugs at it.) Joe and his friend Pete do jobs for various shady characters, until Pete falls in love with a water-breathing alien he is charged to deliver to a club for nefarious purposes. Meanwhile, Joe is spying on mob bosses who eat cannibal sushi. Joe and his cat meet a Sasquatch named Lukashev who spent his youth "as part of a super-naut program, along with a chupacabra and a dinosaur from the future." The fun with words points to an older audience, but the humor has juvenile moments (at one point, Joe uses the cat as a periscope by looking up its butt). The art, while not sophisticated, has a funky sense of movement that suits the hilarious whole. Where Graham really succeeds is in making readers care about these oddballs, especially when Joe risks his life to save his ex-girlfriend from a bad guy (if you can imagine throwing a drugged cat at a mobster as a dramatic moment). (Apr.)
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Graham's serial pits twentysomething Joe, a punster whose cat can, given the appropriate injection, morph into just the right tool for the occasion, against a diabolical organization that deals in "chalk," an illicit drug. King City, a futuristic but wholly recognizable place of big buildings, bad neighborhoods, and elusive beauty, is crawling with problems Joe and his cat must confront; chief among them is helping Joe's friend Pete escape the bad guys after Pete helps a captive of theirs, a beautiful young woman who requires ample water and medication, to go into hiding. Graham's manga
-inspired images juxtapose light and shadow evocatively and present readers with dizzying points of view into scary alleys and from high places about town. Joe's double-jointed patter keeps the mood light despite many dangerous attacks by black-suited bad guys and counterattacks by cat-as-weapon. How chalk is "farmed" is gruesome and compelling. This episode ends with the cliff-hanging arrival of the beauty, now apparently in control of the situation, at least until Joe's cat gets some restorative soup. Francisca GoldsmithCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved