GRAPHIC NOVEL
Vimanarama

Author: Grant Morrison
Artist: Philip Bond
Titan Books
RRP 8.99
ISBN 1 84576 207 X
Available 23 January 2006


Beneath an undistinguished corner shop in Bradford, England lies a world-shattering secret - a buried city of wonders, where an ancient evil has been imprisoned for 6,000 years. That evil is about to be awakened by Ali and Sofia - two teenagers nervously anticipating their arranged marriage - and they must call upon the equally ancient Prince Ben Rama and his Ultrahadeen, avatars of light and joy, to drive the darkness back. But will Ben Rama be able to triumph without the love of his immortal soul mate? Or will evil cover the Earth with destruction and despair? One thing is surely true - their final battle will shake the very pillars of heaven...

Vimanarama is a breath of fresh air to the over crowded comics market. The heroic individuals at the centre of this tale are the most unlikely of characters - a family that run a local corner shop in the North of England.

As our story opens the father of the family gets a call from his eldest son, Omar, who is minding the shop. All hell has broken lose and Omar finds himself trapped under several boxes of Turkish Delight. For some strange reason their premises was built on the top of a strange alien city, and the shop floor has collapsed under the weight of so many Western confectionery products. Omar's younger brother, Ali, enters the city, but also manages to free a trapped evil that has been held captive for thousands of years.

At it's heart, this is the timeless story of boy meets girl; boy fall for girl; girl's destiny is with the gods and so boy sacrifices his happiness for the greater good; girl won't let him; girl loses boy; girl gets boy back again... kinda thing. It's laugh-out-loud funny, trippy and a little insane. But above everything, it is a beautiful tale based in Bradford - how many of those have you read?

Grant Morrison pulls out all the stops to deliver a hilarious modern fantasy, and I can think of no one more suitable (except maybe Jamie Hewlett back in his Hewligan's Haircut days) than Philip Bond (Wired World and Angel & the Ape) to bring this bizarre tale to life.

Those of you fed up with American based superhero nonsense will find this a welcome diversion.

Pete Boomer

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