Review: Lantern City #1 (Preview Included)

Lantern City #1 cover A mainLantern city #1

Created by: Trevor Crafts
Matthew Daley & Bruce Boxleitner

Writers: Paul Jenkins & Matthew Daley
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colors: Chris Blythe
Letters: Deron Bennett
Covers: various
Publisher: Archaia

On Sale: May 13, 2015
Price: $3.99

What’s to Love: From the writings of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells to comics like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Lady Mechanika, the detailed and imagination-fueled steampunk movement has excited fans worldwide. Set in an original, sprawling steampunk world, Lantern City explores everything we love about the genre and what it takes to change a person’s place in the world.

What It Is: Sander Jorve just wants to keep his wife and son safe. Living in the brutalized lower class of Lantern City means living in near constant darkness, the enormous walls of the city always looming overhead, while the upper class enjoys the elevated, interconnected towers and airships above. When Sander’s brother-in-law, the persuasive activist Kendal, convinces him to infiltrate the brutal ranks of the Guard, he’s set on a dangerous path that will test his abilities and beliefs, all in the name of making a difference for his family and his caste.

When I first heard about Lantern City several weeks ago I was definitely intrigued, and not simply because Bruce Boxleitner‘s name was attached to the project. What had really grabbed by attention was this description “This twelve-issue series is equal parts science fiction epic, crime saga, action-adventure thriller, and profile of an unforgettable original universe. At its heart, LANTERN CITY chronicles one man’s decent into the unknown, and how far he is willing to go to protect the people he loves most.”

That seemed like quite a description for a comic book to live up to. After all it isn’t just can the story live up to it. Could an artist draw the reader so far into the story that the reader would get lost in the images? Could they render images that while believable would also transport us to this steampunk world? Would the writers and artist pair their skills so well that the reader forgets which parts of the story were written word and which they absorbed simply from the visuals on the page before them?

Add to all of that challenge, the challenge any first issue of a brand new series has… the challenge of having the hardest jobs of the series, introducing readers to a new world and cast of characters. The first issue of a series has to do so in a way that makes the reader want to pick up issue 2. Can this team pull all this off in Lantern City #1?

So how did they do?

The writers, Paul Jenkins and Matthew Daley, unfold the story at just the right pace to allow the reader time to discover the world, to ponder the complexities, the light and the dark of it, and if the reader desires, to even relate events of the story to some situations of our own world, even if they aren’t quite as dire in our world (yet).

Carlos Magno‘s images and Chris Blythe‘s colors are fitting the world being described, a dingy, dirty world where the “have nots” are scrambling to survive in a world that appears to be harsh and unforgiving, whether because of events yet to be revealed or simply the structure of a society that truly brings to  mind the have nots (99%) struggling so that the haves (1%) might live a good life. The reader quickly learns that life in this world is not easy, and one mis-step can have dire consequences for the those involved.

The writing and the art meld together seamlessly to draw the reader in. To have the reader lose themselves in the story until they turn the page and realize… they have to wait for issue 2 to find out what happens next to Sander and the others.

Lantern City #1 lived up to the description that peaked my interest, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing this tale unfold. Lantern City is going on the must read list with issue 1 earning a well deserved 9 out of 10.

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LANTERN CITY Steampunk And Espionage Coming Soon

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