Rocksalt by Mark Withington
Welcome to Record Cove, a cozy little northern New South Wales coastal city. It is a typical and mostly unremarkable municipality in many ways. And that is one of the reasons it has been... chosen. On the golden, glimmering beaches overlooking the mighty Pacific, lies the Oceanview apartments. Home to Gabrielle and her brother, Kordan, they are about to get some new neighbours. And nothing will ever be the same again. Ever. Forever? Forever ever. Rocksalt is a hybrid of action, comedy, drama and obsessive pop culture referencing. If you enjoy a cheer, a laugh, a tear or Nintendo. There’s something in here for you.
Do you remember when comics were fun? I do. I think it was around the time the Berlin Wall fell. Thankfully I have just discovered the work of Mark Withington - and he knows very well what fun is. This story of brother and sister Kordan and Gabrielle who enjoy console gaming and quoting dialogue from movies like A Few Good Men and Pulp Fiction feels initially like a love letter to lazy, carefree summers spent eating pizza, watching DVDs and playing Mario Kart. Then one of the siblings while falling down drunk is approached by a dog who appears to have the voice of Samuel L. Jackson demanding to be let into their apartment building. It gets weirder from there.
While Kordan and Gabrielle befriend the new girl in the building Jackie, introducing her to their patented time-wasting antics, a parallel storyline emerges of our aforementioned talking dog (there's a very good reason for that rest assured) and a woman named Madison, with extraordinary abilities and a few skeletons in her closet. Possibly literal ones. The highlight of the first volume for me is when Kordan's rather unlikely guess as to her identity proves to be spot on - the expression on his face is priceless. With Madison's cover blown, and her three young neighbours exposed, the group are faced with deadly threats such as remote controlled war-robots, assassins and more high-tech military hardware than you can find outside of a PS3 title. Fusing pop culture, gaming, anime and that good old fashioned sense of fun I mentioned above, Withington serves up an effortlessly likable action fantasy that is extremely funny. A must-read.
– Emmet O'Cuana, The Momus Report