Comics Anonymous

September 13, 2012, 12:52 am
Filed under: Arcana Comics, Comic Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

The steam punk release from Arcana comics hits its third issue and we get to see if the momentum keeps on going with our hero John Henry.

You’ll remember from issue #1 & #2 that John Henry is trapped in the strangle hold of one of our steam punked automatons… a perfect time to introduce one of John Henry’s old buddies – Osaka.  Wielding hammer and nail and another set of helping hands to bring down the first assailant.  Another high action start for issue #3 as more of John Henry’s friend’s, seem to have scavenged a survival.  Giving us a further chance to tap into that man vs machine vibe.


Automaton defeated, friends caught up with and daughter safe from harm, all in the matter of those first seven pages.  We now have our main character firmly on his way to being reunited with his wife in the underground city of Chinatown, a city built by the banished immigrant, ex-railroad-working Chinese.

A sleazy underbelly to the city that now houses a mixed bag of survivors from the machine uprising  and we have our core cast of characters together at last – like putting the band back together.  What follows here is a much more speech and narrative heavy section to the title but rather than feeling overwhelmed with this extra detailed we’re actually able to savor it as we switch between the relationships of our main characters.  John gets to be husband again, gets to be father and all within a strange new world he’s been thrust into.

A moment of calm that’s shaken by the sinister edge of their daughter being attacked by her favourite soft toy and the plot thickens.  Tiberius Rand rear’s his ugly head again as we find out this soft toy is actually an automaton spy sent to find Chinatown and send an invading army to wipe them out……John Henry has lead them straight to it.

That being said, what else can he do but come up with a plan (after destroying the soft toy’s communications) that leaves his wife defending Chinatown while he rallies a ramshackle bunch together to attack Tiberius head-on…..the last thing our villain would be expecting.  Dwayne Harris gets to broaden himself in this issue with the additional, much-needed detail of the narrative & speech between the characters, as well as much more options on the art side too.  Getting the chance to step away from city ruins and few key machines to broadening the cast, the surroundings and the details surrounding them.

This offers us much more depth on a number of different levels and there’s a significant chance to see the amount of detailed face work that goes into our hero, the villain and the multiple new faces we have on show.  Oddly enough, I particularly loved the soft toy turning out to be a trap and the head-in-a-jar president at the side of Tiberius with his reminder to “Please don’t tap on the glass”.  Not sure what that says about me and my warped ideas of entertainment but there were just more and more elements to this issue in comparison to the first two but we’d expect that as the story grows and we reach the end of our story.  This looks to be stretching to a fourth issue and here’s the only place I am getting frustrated…..I have to wait until that fourth issue comes out……what’s worse, this third issue ends with John and the gang getting ready to attack while the automaton army gets prepped with the tagline “Hell itself marches to Chinatown….”  Kudos to Harris for entertaining/frustrating me 😀  Roll on issue four.



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