COMIC BOOK REVIEW: BRASS SUN: THE WHEEL OF WORLDS / AUTHOR: IAN EDGINGTON / ARTIST: I.N.J. CULBARD / PUBLISHER: 2000AD GRAPHIC NOVELS / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 4TH
Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds is a monster of a steampunk-like release, capturing three years’ worth of strips from 2000 AD, thirty six in all. It is the creation of Ian Edgington (regular writer of 2000AD and other titles such as DC’s Hunterkind), wonderfully illustrated by I.N.J. Culbard (Picture of Dorian Gray, DC’s Deadwardians and now a 2000 AD regular).
First the story; and here the simplicity of concept has to be admired. What happens if you have an orrery the size of a solar system? This gives a wonderful vista of connected yet separate worlds to explore. Into this comes young Wren, a girl from Hind Leg whose grandfather dies, leaving her a mission to travel between the worlds, assembling a key that will allow her to restart the sun.
Ian Edgington explores this epic concept in depth and even the more-than 200 pages of Brass Sun only allows for exploration of a small part of the orrery. As Wren travels, she finds each world is distinct in environment and in the range of characters she encounters. The story is rich and, despite the formulaic nature of the thirty six slices, flows well most of the time, with more of a jump between years. There is also a love story moving along and here the narrative is a little bit Studio Ghibli and some of the art echoes that.
Artistically this is a thing of beauty. Much of the style is simple, yet every page is laid out with an eye to overall effect through use of distinct colour palettes and clean lines rendering the essence of each scene without extraneous detail. This style works well for Brass Sun.
Overall this feels like steampunk-lite meets something Japanese in a way that works – we have clockwork, robots, airships, and young adult characters in a world of mysticism and dark secrets. Great stuff!
If you are new to the story, this is something you will need to read twice to get the full picture - something you won’t regret. What you will regret is having to wait to find out what happens next, and let’s hope it isn’t three more years before the rest of Wren’s tale is collected for our reading pleasure.
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