Friday, April 14, 2017

Review - Aldous Spark: Meddler In History And Other Unsavory Affairs #1 (Grenade Fight, Inc.)


"I don't recall the boat being ablaze when we left it..."

An adventurer's lifestyle isn't quite what it used to be. There are still adventurers for sure, but a lot of the glamour that comes with being such a person has sort of fizzled out. That changes in Aldous Spark: Meddler In History And Other Unsavory Affairs #1 from Grenade Fight, Inc. The issue is written by Andrew Maxwell and Peter Miriani, illustrated by Mauricio Alvarez, colored by Derek Dow and lettered by Bernardo Brice.

The year is 1899. A secret war is being fought for the control of the 20th Century. At the center of the conflict is Aldous Spark, covert operative of the Black Moth Society, an underground collective of anarchists, saboteurs, and other deadly eccentrics. Together with his apprentice, Isaiah, Aldous wages a silent battle against the forces of power in an attempt to reshape the industrial age for the good of all.

There's a much broader dynamic at play in Aldous Spark: Meddler In History And Other Unsavory Affairs #1, but for the first issue Maxwell and Miriani are content to let the reader sit back and go along for the ride. Much of the first issue is focused on globetrotting as Aldous Spark and Isaiah venture around the world. Maxwell and Miriani use this to their advantage in that it allows the reader to learn a lot about the two main characters and the company they keep. This approach is also very frenetic, mirrored by a pacing that accelerates faster and faster as the duo is thrust from one calamity to the next. The first issue is also an oversized one, giving the writing duo plenty of time to give the character duo a good amount of action.

Considering the era, Alvarez does a bang-up job in rendering the world of Aldous Spark. Alvarez illustrates the actions with relatively soft lines that allow the atmosphere of the era to shine through exceptionally well. The book feels appropriately Victorian in its presentation and Alvarez uses a straightforward panel layout to keep up with the action as it unfolds. Alvarez throws a variety of panel layouts at the reader that differ from page to page, all of which is somewhat disorienting but at the same time fits the style the writers are going for. And Dow's colors are bright throughout the issue, casting a finish over the book that reminds the reader of what they might see in an old-school comic strip.

Aldous Spark: Meddler In History And Other Unsavory Affairs #1 wears its influences very plainly on its sleeve. The main characters Aldous and Isaiah are adept at getting into (and out of) trouble making for a pretty thrilling ride. Maxwell and Miriani have crafted a tale that's part Indiana Jones, part Sherlock Holmes and all-in a steampunk tale. The artwork by Alvarez is clean and offers much in the way of emotive expressions on the part of the players involved. Aldous Spark: Meddler In History And Other Unsavory Affairs #1 is a pretty lighthearted issue that gives the reader plenty of action, adventure and intrigue as the main characters traipse the world in search of adventure.

Aldous Spark: Meddler In History And Other Unsavory Affairs #1 is available in May.

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