Comics Anonymous


JOHN HENRY: THE STEAM AGE #2 by G-Man
August 22, 2012, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Arcana Comics, Comic Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Following on from a folklore refresher in issue #1 (reviewed here) we are dropped head-first into John Henry’s adventures in a strange new world with issue #2 of this Arcana comics steam punk release.

Having been rescued onto an airship at the end of issue #1 – we find out just who the captain is of the ship – John’s old boss from his railroad days.  The Captain fills John in on what happened in the world and to John after his exertions, telling him that he lost the race against the machine – finishing an inch short…..and John seems more upset by that than anything else.  Progress being the real winner as the head of the drive for the rise of the machines, Tiberius, sets things up so that his nickname of “Steam King” builds a hefty reputation.

Progress meets a strong protest form the workers but they were always fighting a losing battle – as the machines took their jobs and took care of the protest with a heavy, metal hand.  An uprising that ended in heavy human casualties and a steady progress that saw Tiberius takes silent control of the USA alongside the head of President Johnson…..and I do mean head as he is kept alive by Tiberius in a jar in a Futurama style.

John Henry strikes a deal with the Captain to gain his safe passage to New Amsterdam, the last remaining city for the survivors of the uprising….including John’s wife & daughter.  I say “safe” in the loosest term as Tiberius attacks the airship bringing it down in a trade of gunfire.  Most of the crew perish in the crash, as does the Captain but not before letting John know the truth about the race that sparked a legend.  John won the race and the Captain was bought off by Tiberius to make sure that the machines he was developing would take over the world.  It wasn’t really a surprise that our central character John survived the crash and that he’d be reunited with his trusty hammer just in time to take one of the automatons head-on to save his daughter.

Here at the end of issue #2 we’ve gone full circle to that opening scene in issue #1and where that initial issue eased us into the folklore of the legend we know, issue #2 has taken us much deeper into the steam punk world with what feels like much more than a single issue.  So many things happen and there’s so much more narrative and speech through this 2nd issue in comparison but it all still manages to hold in line with the developing story.  Kudos to Dwayne Harris on this as we get a triumph from a writing point of view and art that has firmly held onto a strong style and consistency that we get from few other titles.  I’m still considering the purchase of a new hammer as a result, just in case the machines DO rise.

This looks like it’ll stretch to a third (possibly longer) issue from Arcana as far as I’ve heard but I hope there’s more of this on the horizon.  A strong steampunk/pulp edge to the whole title suits me down to the ground and I’m sure there’s more people out there that would/should read it…….and I’d urge more people to take the chance with it.

8/10

G-Man


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