I know I’m really anticipating a book’s release when it feels like it’s been forever since then last issue’s debut. That’s certainly the case for Clockwork Angels, as the first issue blew me away with its gorgeous art, intriguing story, and memorable characters. Although I can’t say I was as grabbed by this issue as the first issue, it is far from a sophomore slump. Owen starts off this issue by getting a head start on accomplishing his dreams that he expressed in the first issue: see what’s outside his quaint town of Albion. The first panel in fact shows Owen in Crown City, the home of the Watchmaker. Here, Owen still hopes to see the Clockwork Angels. But first, he wanders around through Crown City, taking in its sights and sounds. The city is illuminated by the beautiful blue glow courtesy of the Coldfire Nexus, and alchemical combination which provides energy to everything. Owen also sees the Anarchist has been spray painting the city walls with the signature anarchist symbol. He notices the cleanliness and order of the city under the watchful eye of the Watchmaker as a few men scrub off the spray paint. Crown City also clearly has some quirky individuals which add to the mystery and intrigue to it. For example, a blind hat vendor tells Owen that he could use a porkpie hat. Owen did in fact leave his hat back home. When Owen asks the blind man how he knew that he needed a hat, the man replied “Because I expected you to come. How else could I do my business?” This stuck out to me as being extremely odd-how do people in a different city know that Owen was coming? Most people are very ritualistic in their living situations, how do they know Owen is any different?
One shameless self-promotion tactic on Neal Peart’s part was adding in a street attraction called The Percussor. A man ushers people over to this machine made by a clockmaker named Dr. Russell that resembles a four-armed man drumming. The Percussor’s drum set is even as obnoxious and unnecessary as Neal Peart’s in real life! Anway, back to the story. So Owen is determined to see the Clockwork Angels, but he is informed that he should have already received a ticket if he were meant to see the show. The men at the entrance to see the Clockwork Angels are very tight-lipped and don’t seem to give Owen any help regarding seeing the show that Owen wants to see so badly. Elsewhere in the city, the Anarchist plots to set all the clocks to different times in order to instill a widespread panic.
I didn’t even cover half of the book in that brief synopsis, so I urge everyone who enjoyed the first issue to go out and get this one. We get to know Owen a bit more and uncover a bit of the mystery behind one of the places that Owen thought was so magical and intriguing. That said, more questions are raised which makes me very eager to get my hands on next month’s issue. The art was again just as good if not better than the story, as I wouldn’t want to read this book with any other artist. Crown City is brought to life through the off-kilter people that Owen talks to, the beautiful yet odd buildings and structures, and the aforementioned alchemical substance that fuels the city. My only critique for this book so far is that it’s a head-scratcher to me how the Anarchist hasn’t been caught yet. He doesn’t have any real type of disguise-he just wears glasses sometimes but has other features that make him stand out like a sore thumb. It doesn’t seem realistic to me that he can cause this much havoc in a city where everything is watched with Big Brother-esque vigor and not get caught already. That said, Clockwork Angels is gearing up to be one of my favorite miniseries this year has to offer.
Writer: Kevin J. Anderson (from a story and lyrics by Neal Peart) Artist: Nick Robles Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/30/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital