“The Greys provide so we survive. The Guard protects so we may serve.” With this mantra taught to the underclassed workers of dystopian Lantern City, the first issue of what may well be the Steampunk tale of the year begins. From high above in their lofty towers, Killian Grey and the Grey Empire rule their isolated and walled-off city with an iron fist. Their Lantern City Guards keep order in the Underground, the lower levels where the poor and forgotten toil to make life better for their Imperial masters, while everyday is a struggle to keep their own families fed. In this issue, we meet Jander Sorve, one of many oppressed workers in the Underground of Lantern City. And from the first page, we see how grim the Underground is, and how very rough the trod-upon citizens of Lantern City have it. And when Sander gets caught up in the workers’ rebellion against the elite, he is forced to make a powerful decision that will not only affect himself and his family, but the future of the oppressed of Lantern City.
Lantern City‘s creators Trevor Crafts, Matthew Daley, and Bruce Boxleitner, who have appeared on Krypton Radio’s The Event Horizon talking about their project, have given comic book readers and Steampunk fans a sprawling new world, which is a mystery all its own, to get lost in. And tapping writer Paul Jenkins to work with Daley was genius, as they capture the city’s social order, and succeed in causing you to care about Sander Jorve with a series of flashbacks to his childhood. But the issue’s real strength comes from artist Carlos Magno’s portrayal of a sprawling Jules Verne-esque metropolis. Airships, the Lantern City Guards who resemble and have the sunny disposition of Nazi stormtroopers, and Sander’s cramped hovel are all rendered beautifully.
Chris Blythe, who provides the coloring duties for the first issue, also does a fantastic job, providing dark and muted tones to the seedy underbelly, and even stifling the colors of clothing and objects, as if not enough light gets down to the Underground.
Lantern City is a grand undertaking by its creators, originally planned to be a television series, epic in scope, and according to its creators simply asks two questions: how far would you go to be with the person you love and what lengths would you go to in order to survive? The comic book series is only 12 issues, but it gave a solid start to a familiar tale, and stands to be a hit for Archaia Entertainment. And if you have further interest in the Lantern City Project, you can check out the Lantern City website.
Next week concludes the DC event Convergence, which in my opinion has been an enjoyable story thus far. Now, the tables have turned, enemies are now allies, allies are enemies, and all of reality is at stake. And I will review the remaining three issues that will conclude the event, and give you the lowdown on the DCU’s new status quo. Until next week, keep those pull lists empty!
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