(Dynamite Entertainment, 2013)
Review by Jeremiah Kielman
Written by Bill Willingham
Artwork by Sergio Fernandez Davila
Covers by Joe Benitez
Steampunk. Up until now it has been relegated to relatively obscure writers, at least in the comic world. That all changes on New Year’s Eve with Bill Willingham’s new Legenderry- a Steampunk Adventure.
It was refreshing to read a Steampunk story that was well written and engaging. Not merely something you enjoy because the genre interest you. Rather than some all knowing voice or someone rehashing what they lived through Bill treats us to the voice of a late night social radio journalist. You can hear the crackle of static over the airwaves along with the hum of the glass tubes in your radio.
In his finest form Willingham deftly weaves in fictional characters from all over the place. We’re talking about the Green Hornet & Kato, Red Sonja’s baby sister and Vampirella, are all name dropped in this first installation of what I hope will be a long running series. There are sure to be more big fables…err Legends still to come.
Our story opens with Felix Avalon, the late night gossip radio host, setting the scene. We zoom in on the Scarlet Club where two of our heroes flirt over the topic of mixology. Until interrupted by a buxom red head and some goons with swords. Did I mention she ends up being Sonja’s sister? Or that the attacking gentlemen are after her because she won’t end her search for sister Sonja.
I don’t know about you but I have a serious weakness for anything Sonja, Conan or Kull but based on the sales in my Store I’d say it’s a love shared by precious few nowadays. But that love aside Willingham does a spot on job of making you care about this diverse cast of characters almost immediately.
By the end of the book we are treated to a taste of who the enemy will be. I was a little surprised at who was revealed. It is nice to be surprised by a comic. We have also gathered what I assume to be the core of the group of heroes. You may have to look close to figure out who’s who but it’s worth the effort (remember how fun looking for Easter Eggs in the art of Top 10?).
I’m normally not one who cares overmuch for who the artist is for any particular book. However, with this genre I think a proper treatment of the style or look of not only the characters but the world itself. Davila does a good job. If a little on the Anime side of things for me. The world is cartoonish but effectively renders the feeling of SteamPunk.
I have a soft spot for almost everything in this book; SteamPunk, Bill’s writing, legends, the fictional characters he has chosen. If you share in an affinity for any of the above you will like it too. Even if only to give SteamPunk a chance with a good writer at the helm you should read this book. You really should.