REVIEW: ‘Engineward,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Engineward #1

Engineward #1 is published by Vault Comics, written by George Mann, art by Joe Eisma, colors by Michael Garland and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. On a distant world, the remnants of humanity struggle to survive. With supplies growing scarce they turn to their overseers, The Celestials, for aid. But will they send any? Meanwhile, a scavenging expedition may have just stumbled upon a discovery that could change the course of their world…

One of the core appeals of Sci-Fi is its ability to give readers something completely different. New worlds, new social groups and languages. In order to keep the story from going too far afield this newness is often held together with familiar themes. Good vs. evil, the triumph of hope in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and all the other literary classics. Engineward #1 looks to drive home both the new and the old as it takes its effort to separate it’s setting from the real world to levels often shunned, while clinging to a theme as old, and familiar, as society itself.

The most notable extra step that Engineward #1 takes in setting its story as far from the real as it can is in its use of language. Many terms featured in this book are wholly made up. Though, with a bit of focus one can decipher their meanings. This gives the story a feeling that great spans of time and distance separate the story from us, without leaving the reader completely clueless to what is going on. A prime example of this clever language usage can be found in on character’s statement of,” It’s been nearly  6 zodials.” Zodial sounds like zodiac. 12 signs to the zodiac, so a zodial is probably a month. That, combined with the context of the statement, leaves me fairly confident of my interpretation.

While this use of langue gives Engineward #1 a bit of character, the story itself does its best to imbue the same sense of character to its cast. Given that world, cast and scenario are all completely new and I’d say that Mann does a respectable job getting the ball rolling here. Broad motivations and situations are laid out well.  Time is spent mostly with our protagonists, who struggle with critical shortages of supplies and hope that help might yet come from a group referred to as the Celestials. But he also gives some time fleshing out our antagonists in this tale. Yup, you guessed it. The Celestials.

Engineward #1

As I previously mentioned, Engineward #1 introduces us to our setting during a critical supply shortage. One item particularly focused on is water. And that’s a bad thing to be running short on. Lines are formed in the streets, with people complaining of not getting their share for days. Cut to the Celestials and the first one we meet is soaking in a bath house surrounded by his personal harem. What more need be said, right? Everything about this group is instantly detestable. Opulence is everywhere, even as their people struggle to survive. Makes you just want to scream “Eat the rich!”

To go along with this story set up is a solid artistic presentation. The character designs of the commoners are fairly standard Sci Fi “struggling to survive in the wasteland” fair. While the character designs are not the most stand out, they are all executed well. Eisma does, however, do a better job with the emotion he puts into his characters. The feelings present on the pages are conveyed excellently. Whether they be joy, fear, or contempt, the art delivers each with skill.

The coloring job in Engineward #1 delivers a solid performance also. While the colors used by Garland feel a little washed out to me, I do appreciate the color selections themselves. Characters and objects meant to stand out to the reader to do so easily. A good contrast of color choices helps to focus the reader’s attention where it should be.

Lastly, we have the lettering. This is the one area that Engineward #1 straight up struggles. The choice of the font made by Otsmane-Elhaou is a struggle for me to read. The thinner than normal characters kept causing my eyes to go slightly out of focus. It wasn’t an insurmountable struggle, but a constant annoyance. Given that the altered font doesn’t really add anything to the presentation and I’m left wondering why something more standard wasn’t used.

Engineward #1 closes with what appears to be a startling discovery being made. While not nearly enough context is yet present to know just how big of an impact it will leave, the creative team here has delivered a strong enough story that I’d be interested in potentially finding out.

Engineward #1 is available July 15th wherever comics are sold.

 

Engineward #1
3.5

TL;DR

Engineward #1 closes with what appears to be a startling discovery being made. While not nearly enough context is yet present to know just how big of an impact it will leave, the creative team here has delivered a strong enough story that I’d be interested in potentially finding out.