A clever mishmash of your favorite genres, The Steam Man #1 is a refreshing and entertaining first installment. When you mix steampunk, horror, sci-fi, and westerns, the final outcome is undoubtedly an awesome reading experience. “The Steam Man” is clearly having a lot of fun with its ideas and imagery.
WRITTEN BY: Joe R. Lansdale, Mark Alan Miller
ART BY: Piotr Kowalski
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: Oct. 21, 2015
In 1899, the western settlers have lost the frontier due to the heavy alien invasion. In order to fight back, Captain William Beadle drives The Steam Man straight into battle against the invading extraterrestrial creatures. With the fate of humanity headed close to extinction, William has to keep his steam-powered robot running and fighting, even while his machine is falling apart. With his eye on the prize, William will stop at nothing until he finally gets his hands on The Dark Rider.
Because you have “The Drive-In” author, Joe R. Lansdale, and the co-writer of “Next Testament,” Mark Alan Miller, working together, there is such a huge emphasis placed on the snappy dialogue. Told from a first-person perspective, William describes the narrative as if he was having fun and suffering from pos-traumatic stress. We have a trigger-happy cowboy leading the way, who knows his his next shootout will ultimately be his last.
Artist Piotr Kowalski keeps the camera close when the action kicks into high gear. In an action sequence, Kowalski manages to pay homage to “War of the Worlds” and those old-school “Star Trek” episodes as the Steam Man takes on the Tripod. Without any seat-belts on, William and his crew are rocking back and forth on deck, as their robot takes another hit after hit.
One of my favorite parts of the narrative is the relationship between William and the Native American, John Feather. Feather plays his right-hand man, which is a different take from what you’d regularly see in Western movies. I really want this aspect of the narrative to play out.
With the heart of a western and the appeal of monster-extravaganzas, “The Steam Man” #1 is a genuinely engaging read. I can’t wait to see what the second installment holds.
Rating: 4.5/5 skulls
Reviewed by Jorge Solis
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