Steampunk seems to be a hyped term in pop culture landscape of today. Now, so many books try to take advantage of this deeply rooted movement by wrapping a floundering story in steampunk when the book at its heart has nothing to do with the alluded era. However, every once in a while we get a story that brings out the right mix of sci-fi and Victorian to truly merit being worthy of the moniker. We just got one of those books dropped in our lap and TheSteamworld Chronicles: The Constantine Quest is one of those books.
A good steampunk tale doesn’t need to overpower you with wood, cogs, and gaskets; because at its core it’s still a story that in the end has to leave you with a resonance other than the pretty visual. Here Steamworld’s visual sensibility is a compliment to the books protagonist, Quentin Bowlsby, a character shaped by the imaginative world he galavants around in. Bowlsby is part Bond and part Barry Allen. He solves mysteries, knows how to get out of sticky situations, inadvertently hits it off with the ladies and (as you’ll find by the end of this book) has a past the audience is intrigued by.
But of course no good steampunk story is without its eye candy. Risbeck’s illustration finds a style the doesn’t over flash the heart of the book by using elements of sci-fi in combination with Victorian ascetic sparingly where it serves to move the narrative. It plays like watching your favorite movie where every cut is there to ask you, what are you feeling now.
The books creators, writers Mike Scigliano, Steven Hoveke, and artist Ben Risbeck may not have a ton of experience with the tights and capes but there’s little doubt within the pages that this venture is a passion for them. Quentin Bowlsby’s debut feels like a book their team has invested sleepless nights over and by the end of the first chapter readers will see how Steamworld Chronicles lands Steampunk powered insights to storytelling.
You can find more information about Steamworld on their website SteamworldChronicles.com you can also find them at their booth during this year’s New York Comic Con.