Tag Archives: aether & empire

Review: Æther and Empire #6

My maternal grandfather was huge movie fan. He watched all the requisite action movies from PI, but also loved his movies from elsewhere. He loved Charles Bronson movies, and watched every single Death Wish movie. He also loved every single movie Michael Caine, was in. One of his favorites being Get Carter, as it was the quintessential high octane tough guy film.

The other one of Michael Caine’s movies that got his eye, was the war movie, Zulu. The movie was about a skirmish between British soldiers and Zulu warriors at Rorke’s Drift.  Now, looking back at that film, it was as problematic as Black Hawk Down, but as far as entertainment value goes, it was pretty good. When I read the sixth issue of Aether and Empire#6, it reflected many key scenes from that film, which still influences war scenes in many movies.

We catch up with the crew of the Jules Verne, as they go to battle stations as they must defend against the Martian fleet headed their way. The crew on the ground try to get back to the Martian headquarters, which the Lillian soon finds that her old friend turned Martian hybrid, Douglas, is the leader of the Martians. Lillian makes fate changing decision, which may leave the crew on the ground for the dead. By Issue’s end, the crew escapes safely, but as they all find out the truth may not be what you want it to be.

Overall, an excellent ending to this first volume of this epic series. The story by Mike Horan is pulse pounding, cerebral and intense. The art by Bong Ty Dazo and Tim Yates is gorgeous. Altogether, an excellent swashbuckling space opera that which stands as a prime example of how to do steampunk high adventure.

Story: Mike Horan Art: Bong Ty Dazo and Tim Yates
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Æther & Empire #5

I just finished re-reading Dune, as part of ComicBookGirl19’s Dune Club, which reminded me just how epic a writer Frank Herbert was. Not too many writers, that I grew up reading, whom made details sound so enticing. His research showed not only in Middle Eastern culture but also in science fiction.  That whole world he created in those books, was so immersive and palatable, that you would believe sand worms existed in a planet called Arikis.

The worldbuilding and the character development in these books are what all writers should aspire to.  In these desolate worlds, many writers have written similar settings, showing Herbert’s influence in setting and storylines. Most of them fail, and even fewer do the research necessary for successful world building. This brings me to the fifth issue Of Aether and Empire, where the crew of the Jules Verne looks for the enclave on Mars.

We catch up with the crew as they land on Mars, looking for the enclave, where they run into something resembling large sand insects. Eventually they run into Professor Teague, who has monstrously developed into a alien human hybrid. The crew quickly finds out the Martians have been harvesting humans as slaves for labor. By book’s end, the crew that was left on the ship, soon realize they must go to battle stations.

Overall, the story gets better and better with every issue, as this issue makes it more than your typical science fiction fare. The story by Mike Horan is exhilarating and fascinating. The art by Bong Ty Dazo and Tim Yates is gorgeous. Altogether, a haunting space opera that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Story: Mike Horan Art: Bong Ty Dazo and Tim Yates
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Æther & Empire #4

I remember the first time, I watched Aliens, I was just as terrified of them as everyone else in the theater. These monsters with sharp teeth and elongated bodies, dripping goo, looking only to annihilate whoever lies in front of them. Fr some reason, these movies stayed with me longer than any horror movie, and not for the reason horror fans usually love movies. The moments that made whole theater jump, was not when we saw the monsters, it is rather, the disquiet, the composer lets settle in.

These moments before the action takes place, gives the viewer a certain purgatory of anticipation, that you never know when to expect. These moments of silence, where the viewer only relies on the character’s words and actions, allows us to connect to them on subatomic human level. This where we as the viewer, ask what would we do, in their shoes, how would we react and if we would end up with the same outcome. This is what the fourth episode of Aether and Empire, reminds me of those moments of disquiet, in those Aliens movies.

In this issue, we catch up with the crew of the Jules Verne, as they get onboard the abandoned where they find two bodies, one, a scientist and the other, a Martian. They bring one body, on board, the body of one of their fellow scientists who has been transfigured by whatever happened on that ship. What they soon find out, in the middle of his autopsy, is that he is not dead. By issue’s end, a question of morality is at odds between the scientists and the ship’s crw, one that will not soon dissipate.

Overall, an interesting issue that gives this story quite an interesting twist, one that I have not seen in other steampunk fantasy stories. The story by Mike Horan blends genres in the most fascinating way. The art by Bong Ty Dazo elevates the story to new heights. Altogether, a great story that only gets better with this issue.

Story: Mike Horan Art: Bong Ty Dazo
Story: 10 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Æther & Empire #3

When I was in the Navy, I can honestly say that deployments were arduous mostly, but fun sometimes. When I was deployed on land, the usual desert air, the size of the sand scorpions, the languages you don’t understand at first, all permeate your being.  When I was on deployments at sea, they were usually difficult, because of change of schedule, the number of drills and the smell of sea water everywhere. One of the things that makes them bearable is, that you know you are not the only one.

The common misery that you share with one another, is something you take with you for the rest of your lives. Yes, us veterans do share war stories, some funny, some tragic and most of them having life lessons. Some of those deployments involved us getting ensconced with different units. In this issue of Aether & Empire, it reminds of those times, as Captain Bristow and his crew starts living and working the scientists on the station.

Bristow and his crew hops aboard the space station, as both the scientists and Captain Bristow’s crew get to know each other and the arsenals that are at their disposal. The reader gets a panel by panel training montage where both crews learn about the space station and what they will encounter. As things get when you are in such close quarters, some romances start to blossom. By the end of the issue, they encounter an abandoned alien ship, which what looks like to be the corpse of a dead alien .

Overall, this issue gets the feelings of deployments right, and the extraterrestrial element just adds to the premise The story by Mike Horan so far feels like sea tale but in outer space. The art by Bong Ty Dazo is stunning. Altogether, an excellent issue, which elevates where the story is going.

Story: Mike Horan Art: Bong Ty Dazo
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Æther & Empire #2

When the movie, Inglorious Bastards, came out a few years ago, it reminded of those movies much like Seven Samurai and Dirty Dozen, where it focused on solely and man and purpose. In Seven Samurai, the protagonists were there to save a village which needed help from marauder invasions. In Dirty Dozen, these crew of roughnecks into a mass genocide of German Officers. In the aforementioned movie, their mission was more direct, they were there to kill Hitler.

Each of these examples, always showed a couple of men, who did not necessarily want to go on these missions/jobs, some had no choice, but each showed fortitude in their bravery nonetheless. Each of these characters all came to the realization, that doing something for someone else was bigger than they were was worth it. This grit is what make most members of the military serve especially when it is scary. In this episode of Aether & Empire, Captain Bristow andhis crew’s mettle is challenged as take on a dangerous missio.

Bristow and his crew return to London to a hero’ welcome but the upper echelon of the fleet is no only there to greet him but to entrust a new mission with his crew. He soon finds out about a secret mission in space, as a crew of scientists have stopped communicating with London, and he must escort another group of scientists to their space station. As the crews get acquainted with each other, a am awkwardness ensues between the two. By the end of the issue, the airship is closing on Mars, and even closer to finding out what happened to the first crew.

Overall, this issue mixes political intrigue with murder mystery in a story arc that is starting to remind of movies like Leviathan and The Thing. The story by Horan, is rife with suspense and makes the 19th century sound interesting. The art by Dazo, is beautiful. Altogether, an excellent issue, which only proves this creative tea is rewriting how an action adventure should play out.

Story: Mike Horan Art: Bong Ty Dazo
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Æther & Empire #1 Eternal Glory

There is something beautiful about the adventure, when anyone can go somewhere new and meet new people. This is exactly what makes the human spirit so endearing. It is why we have ventured into the great unknown for centuries and take those risks which may get us to meet our maker. For those who cannot go on these adventures, they tend to get lost in the books by Robert Louis Stevenson.

These are the books I used to read as kid as his stores about pirates and battles at sea, held hostage my imagination, where I would get lost in one of his books for days. I was not the only one who was entranced by his books, as others have written books inspired by and even taken on other interpretations of the same tales. Treasure Planet, being one of the more interesting takes on his books. So, when I heard Æther & Empire, it sounded like these books but with a steampunk twist.

In the first few pages, it is 1872, and the crew of the HMSS Nimbus, are under fire by a pirate ship. Soon after, both crews fight to the death, until a mysterious airship provides support, it is the HMSS Jules Verne, where we meet Captain Bristow, the captain of the HMSS Jules Verne, and his crew as they come to rescue the crew of the Nimbus and stop the siege. By issue’s end, an airship has gone missing and the higherups in London are sending the Jules Verne to find it.

Overall, an enthralling book which provides the reader wall to wall action, as it is very much like Master and Commander. The story by Mike Horan calls back to those swashbuckling adventures of 50s, with truly adventure at every turn. The art by Bong Ty Dazo is gorgeous and dazzles the eyes like few artists can do. Altogether, an excellent comic which leaves the reader wanting to know where the adventure takes them next.

Story: Mike Horan Art: Bong Ty Dazo
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy