It’s taken me a while to put the pieces together on this issue. I enjoyed the hell out of it, but trying to describe it in a way that doesn’t put people off has been challenging. It’s a story with many layers and I would even go as far to say that it borders on all-ages, but not quite due to the maturity of the material. The story is set in London in the 1800’s in a steampunk inspired era, meaning that technology has surpassed culture. The Ranbir family has just arrived from India. It follows Janav the little boy of the family as he narrates his experience. He sees hate on the faces of everyone they meet and wishes that he could have said a proper goodbye to his friends back home. Janav becomes excited after seeing the city, but it’s quickly snuffed by his stick in the mud father. His father seems to only care that he’s disciplined and behaves in public, while his mother is very caring and loving and would see her son be a little boy. Janav’s narration tells us that he secretly hates his father as he says it multiple times.
That night Janav wakes up to a bad dream and as his mother comforts him by showing him what his father is working on... a robotic man called a clockwork. The next morning Janav is full of questions about the man with the hole in his chest as he doesn’t understand that it was an artificial life form that he saw.
The story is about the size of a double-sized issue and is very unique. Everyone seems to expect Janav to grow up and surpass his father, but they’d already like for him to get a start on it. His mother is the only one that wants him to decide things for himself, but it’s all beyond his comprehension. The Clockwork’s or really the only Clockwork introduced is an interesting bunch. Janav has this fear in his eyes when he hears the gears turning and yet he’s not afraid when he official meets the one his father completed earlier.
The mother really steals the show. She’s the balance between the cold in-humanity that the other characters display in their quest for technological advancement. Janav is much like the reader; thrown into this strange world and only given half the facts. He’s expected to act like an adult, but treated like a child which makes him act upon his emotions more than usual. The writing was very good and the dialog was genuine and at times very moving.
The art style actually reminded me a lot of Return of the Dapper Men, but in my opinion better. It has a storybook quality to it that could potentially fool people into thinking this is an all-ages title, but I think the story is a geared towards an older audience. I particularly enjoyed the coloring as it had a watercolor look to it and very well may be water colored, I don’t know for certain.
Overall it’s an interesting story, but it’s only getting started. I like the ending because it leaves a huge question mark on where the story will pick up again. Will it be directly after the events of this chapter or will it jump ahead to the future? It’s a very good read and anyone that’s a fan of retro androids and a world that’s on the verge of full-blown steampunk is sure to enjoy it.
Story: Yomi Ayeni Writer: Corey Brotherson Artist: Jennie Gyllblad Price: $15.00 in print and $4.50 digital Webstore http://www.comicsy.co.uk/clockworkwatch/