Bit of an engaging shambles, this, a collection of strips from siblings Louise and Trevor Smith which might more appropriately have been titled 'All Fall Apart'.
'Suburban Tales Of Horror' and 'A Teddy Bear's Revenge', both courtesy of Louise, seem plagued by an insecurity-fueled panic which cripples these potentially rewarding stories with a deus ex machina disguised as off-the-wall craziness. The former displays some lovely detailed cartooning that is modestly ambitious; the latter, some sound writing ('til loss of composure) that succeeds in involving the reader. Trevor's series of 'Mix Tape' one-pagers prove the more satisfying read, being of a taming brevity. In essence the observations of a fledgling cynic not yet resigned to his lot, they're nicely understated and adequately illustrated. Of equal appeal is Trevor's short text piece 'Crowd'; a clever, lyrical contemplation on interrupted gatherings. Joint and further solo efforts account for the remainder of the issue, but only worthy of note is the sloppily realised parable of 'Jethro Meed', a boy who harnesses, then misuses the power provided by a build-up of sulphur in his fingertips.
Mostly under-developed and with impatient scripts that often drift into an irritating 'zany' or an irritating 'meaningful', All Fall Down #1 offers some polished if unremarkable cartooning, and afflicted flashes of potential. Colour cover, 36 A4 pages, £2.10 - available from Smallzone. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org