20.4.11

Aetheric Mechanics

Sherlock Holmes gone steampunk, I thought, although Warren Ellis is gracious enough to provide his own genealogy, which also includes The Prisoner of Zenda and Japanese anime. You've got to use yr deductive skills on this one. The language, it being an alternate world story, is unfamiliar, and I had to read some exchanges several times before I could piece together what was going on. The only time it bugged me was the hour-long gap between two panels, signaled by the appearance of tea and an ellipsis at the beginning of Sax Raker's dialogue. It took about five seconds for me to realize that the conversation between those panels had shifted. This either means that the effect doesn't quite work, or that I am stupid.

In any case, as with all good speculative fiction, the world starts to feel more comfortable as you spend more time in it. Particularly liked how ur encouraged to look for clues with a page of silent panels examining a dead body. Like Dr. Watcham, ur trying to second-guess the brilliant detective working in front of you. (I got none of the clues right btw.) On a related note, some of the blocking is inspired. Particularly admire the three-panel zoom thru the motor car window from Watcham to Raker. Also the page of over-the-shoulders that lead to the p.o.v. half-page spread of Raker's study. Very lovely. The artist is someone called Gianluca Pagliarani. He has a very clean unfussy style, and the detail of his crowd-scenes, ships and laboratories is impressive.

I'm no scientist, but the science here is very funky: quantum strings fired thru laptops full of old movies into the brain of Albert Einstein reconfigures reality. Or something along those lines. There's talk of 'haunted meat' -- fiction reshaping fact, characters becoming real people. But the real interest lies in the dynamic between Watcham, Raker and Inanna. Watcham is scarred by his tour of duty, but will live to see his friend taking that experience seriously -- applying his intellect not just to solving crime in London but to international politics and war. Raker makes the choice Veidt refuses to make in Watchmen, putting the personal first, and then trying to salvage what is left of the world. It's a crazy resolution, but an inspiring one as well.

Another Apparat cracker, in other words...

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