Illustrated by INJ Culbard
Published by 2000AD/Rebellion
In a world that's quite literally part of a giant machine, the sun that sits at the heart of it all is dying. Linked physically and culturally to the heart of the system, doomed men grasp for power and kill all who might look for a solution outside their control. When Wren, granddaughter of a fallen cleric, is tasked with saving her world, she finds it a daunting task in this mini-series from the long-running and well-respected British anthology series, 2000AD.
First appearing in 2000AD itself, this storyline immediately grabbed the attention of the serial's readers, and it's easy to see why. From the opening pages, where we begin with a tight shot of many, many gears, colored yellow to reflect their celestial origin (see below), it's clear that this is going to be a science fiction story that blends elements from fantasy, history, and contemporary into a whole that quickly draws the reader into the action. We quickly sense that something is wrong, that power has corrupted, and that if things don't change, all is lost.
|Just marvel at the amazing design of this panel.|
Sometimes I feel like plots where all is lost and only one person (or a plucky few) can save the day are boring, but I really enjoyed Brass Sun's opening. Instead of making the situation completely improbable, the creative team makes it plausible, thanks to little touches like linking the grandfather to the establishment, which goes a long way to explaining how he's able to manage some of the underground work we see here. There's nothing wrong with high stakes and long odds, provided you set it up the right way. Brass Sun does, and it makes it a quest I want to stick with.
Artist Culbard really does an amazing job here building up the visuals for Brass Sun, starting with that opening sequence I praised earlier. After showing the universe in its connected complexity, we're lead into a world with looming architecture, robed figures, and soldiers who are mindless and cruel. The figure work is a bit on the stiff side, but Culbard makes up for it with backgrounds that are simply outstanding and facial expressions that vividly capture the dialogue that Edginton gives them. The confrontation between the grandfather and the religious leader radiates tension, while Wren's first moments alone show so much of her emotional state, even without doing any special visual tricks. There's a grace in the simplicity of the linework on the people that makes the intricate workings of the buildings and space views really pop. It's a great design choice, really, that suits Brass Sun well.
Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury of clever plotting to give us a chance at hope, the way that Wren may be able to find a solution to her world's problem. What we do have is a great reprint of an innovative world who takes the idea of a scale model universe with all its tiny wires and gears and turns into a living, breathing thing on the printed page. If you, like me, missed this in its original run, make sure you take a look at this in your local comic book shop or on your favorite digital device tomorrow. I think Brass Sun will rise to the top of your favorites list quickly.
*Sorry, anyone reading this who is stupid enough to think climate change isn't real. You're an idiot, and thanks to you, we're all gonna die.