... my favourite graphic novel of the year so far, and to be honest, it might just be among my favourite comics ever. I’ve already read it twice, yet still I feel that I could go back to it again some time quite soon. Healy is one of those very noticing artists, and the great pleasure of his deeply satisfying fourth book, which is about an old friendship that will shortly curdle, lies in small things: little details you may not notice the first time around; ambiguities that nag away at you. Then again, even on a first reading, it’s a stand-out: so funny and melancholy, so knowing and true. Frank and Giorgio, the two men at the heart of it, are brilliant, vivid creations, and the passive-aggressive scratchiness between them is so beautifully observed. It isn’t hard at all to imagine such frenemies as the stars of some future film or TV series, though personally I would be quite content if Healy would only give them another outing between hard covers ... a tender, intimate story, too, one in which long-repressed love and competitiveness bubble up as if from nowhere. I love the way Healy writes, his characters so ineffably droll, and their speech always so spare, and I love the way he draws, too – just enough detail in every frame to transmit character, mood, imminent jeopardy (it’s there in a shrug or a yell, the way they carry a bag or arrange themselves on a sofa). He can be hilarious, and if you are even slightly tired of the current craze elsewhere in the literary world for thinly disguised autobiography (out of which, having cleverly given one of his characters a false moustache, he gently takes the piss), then I think this minor masterpiece of a book might be for you.
... a work that feels like a formidable talent coming into his own ... A deceptively episodic narrative tackles any number of resonant themes, from arrested adolescence and the stories we tell, to the need for boundaries, and the lack thereof; this is a profoundly millennial work, infused with a deadpan sensibility that befits the anxieties of our Insta-age. That sensibility informs the artwork, its impeccable comic timing and deft, spare swagger — an extended sequence where our protagonist experiences a sudden panic attack after unintentionally placing himself front and centre in his friend’s deceptive schemes may induce flashbacks in any reader who’s experienced similar anxieties ... In its own quiet, unassuming fashion, this sad, silly and occasionally beautiful book resonates.
Many readers will relate to the men’s relationship, in which one person dominates the other. Healy’s black-and-white illustrations are spare and straightforward with some details in the backgrounds and character designs, which helps keep the focus on the emotional turns of the plot.