They’ve only finally collected all three of Charles Burns’ most recent books – X’ed Out, The Hive and Sugar Skull – together in one volume, entitled Last Look. Here are excerpts from what we had to say about each:
X’ed Out: “What to make of it all? Well, of course, it’s all but impossible to make a clear call beyond the fact that there is more than enough here to keep me entertained, to keep me poring over the pages until the next issue surfaces. It’s great to see full colour Burns, it’s great to catch echoes and connections in this book, knowing or hoping that there will be things here that I don’t see yet but will catch when I read this book alongside successive books. The spider plant we saw, with the odd roots? Those roots are firmly wound up in my brain. I can’t wait for what comes next…” Read more.
The Hive: “A dark interlude then with fantastical elements and no real resolution, as is to be expected from The Empire Strikes Back portion of a trilogy. Provided you can deal with being presented with more questions than answers (or, if we’re being honest, only questions), you’ll be fine. Charles Burns continues to up the ante on what can be expected from the form (Burns’ career feels like he’s channelling The Pixies in reverse – these books feel like his Doolittle). A delicious mind fuck in other words…” Read more.
Sugar Skull: “These books are undoubtedly challenging and difficult and ask the reader to try and work things out, which is no bad thing. Burns does not offer answers easily but his art and the way in which he looks at the world are savage and unique. It’s been quite a journey – and it’s been hard at times waiting on the next instalment – but it has all been worth it and these three books easily stand alongside Black Hole, the book regarded by many as the Ulysses of graphic novels…” Read more.
Any Cop?: As much grotesque fun as it was reading these books instalment by instalment, Last Look is absolutely the way it should be read. And re-read. And then read again.