Accent UK have been a constant source of great titles for me and the latest of their releases I’ve got lost in, are the first two issues of the Stephenson’s Robot anthology.
Making up part of a seven issue run these first two issues set up a steampunk world that bleeds in a mix of different themes and it’s the eclectic mix becomes intriguing pretty quickly.
Issue #1 stories:
Stephenson’s Robot: Part One (written by Dave West, art by Indio!)
The core story of the anthology is also the longest and the robot protector of a group of circus folk as the Nazis relentlessly pursue them. In a bizarre mix of The Iron Giant & Futurama’s Bender the top hat wearing hero is at the centre of a fairly warped story as a World War erupts around our iron hero and even while that’s coasting along at quite a pace there’s enough time to drop in a bit on his origin and it all kind of works. Indio’s art fills the pages with steam-powered energy that manages the elements well and while it may flip from serious elements to sometimes cartoony violence it still manages to steer clear of coming across as a messy mix of ideas.
Chronicles of the Great Machine #1 (written by Jon Ayre, art by Indio!, colours by Dave West)
The shortest of the stories also seems to be the most complex as Jon brings us the sci-fi tale of a futuristic race of Robot’s from Mars and while that concept may sound like some crazy B-Movie plot it’s actually got a far deeper story to it as the significance of the detail brings with it a real sense of weight to what’s unfolding. Slick art from Indio on this one and although it only covers a few pages it feels like there’s much more to take in from this one.
The Escape of the Jigsaw Girl (written by Dave West, art by Marleen Starksfield Lowe)
The third story (& probably my favourite) is a horror themed one that brings darker elements of mystic magic into the mix as a Frankenstein-like character pours out his obsession with the the mummified remains of the girl in the title. Marleen’s art has a grim beauty too it and there’s an air of Tim Burton’s Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and it’s another string to the bow of this Accent UK release.
Issue #2 stories:
Stephenson’s Robot: Part Two (written by Dave West, art by Indio!)
Building on the ideas from the first part of this story the war elements are still there, the back story elements and new additions of magic & mysticism start to creep in to show that there’s more depth in this Robot story than was first expected. Indio continues the same sense of power behind that main character while stoke the fire of momentum in the story with his definite style.
Chronicles of the Great Machine #2 (written by Jon Ayre, art by Indio!, colours by Dave West)
It’s another glimpse into the complex world of Robots from Mars as the ties to the previous story and Stephenson’s Robot in particular start to creep in. Still rich, still deep and still part of the hook for sticking with this title.
The Carnival Master (written by Jon Ayre, art by Gary Crutchley, colours by Matt Soffe)
The life of a young pick pocket is only the beginning for The Carnival Master as we see the early days of a street kid that took a turn when he chose to target Prince Albert. Albert chooses to take the young boy in and mentor him as he ascends to a position that aides the country but more importantly Albert as the youngsters powers as the Hider of Truths start to influence those around the prince. Still in line with the rest of the stories one offer the only downside of this one is how word heavy it feels at times, cramping up some of the pages but once you get passed those elements you can see this adds another dimension to the Multiverse being built around this title. Gary’s art is moody throughout and is another reason for sticking through those heavy reading moments.
All in all, these two issues kick off another cracking Accent UK series and with #3 being released just recently it’s a good time to jump on-board and catchup before this really kicks in.