Rating: 4/5 – Carlos Magno’s Art Defines a Wonderful World.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Lantern City got my attention when it was first solicited because of the interior artwork of Carlos Magno. I had remembered his great work on DC’s disappointing (aside from the art) Countdown series and his art on this premiere issue is even better. What was surprising was opening the inside cover and seeing that the world was created by a writer, a producer and actor/writer Bruce Boxleitner. Lantern City was originally intended to be a television series that was previously announced at the San Diego Comic Con in 2012. Since that announcement the series has yet to make it to the airways, but the first issue of the comic has now been released and it has me excited this series’ future and hopefully a brand new television series.
Lantern City is clearly Steam Punk. The steam punk genre has its fair share of fans and detractors, but the story within the world of Lantern City should appeal to most readers. The world feels well thought out with a sense and scale of history. Written by the co-creator Matthew Daly and longtime comic book writer Paul Jenkins, we see the world of Lantern City through the eyes of laborer and main character Sander Jorve. As we see him working in the lower levels of the thralling city, we get to know him as a kind and caring character who will do what he needs to in order to keep his family safe.
That family extends to his brother-in-law who’s speaking out against the governing body who serves as the villain of this first issue. Although unoriginal, it’s smart to sow the reader the world through the eyes of a commoner, showing us just what type of effect the government is having on the world. Walls have gone up around the city to not necessarily keep threats of the outside world out, but to keep the people in. There’s a caste system within this world that we get a brief glimpse of, but it hints at a corrupt world that’s hiding more than what we see.
What we do see is all wonderfully drawn by Magno. His art is lush and full of details. Although I really enjoyed his past work, his art here seems as though he’s inspired by the concepts and story. Each panel stands on it’s own and there are absolutely no shortcuts. Each character has their own distinct look, the world is packed of people and machinery, and the colors by Chris Blythe make the world have a realistic, but definitely steam punk feel. I’m impressed by the effort Magno is putting forward here and I think he may be an artist to watch.
The end of Lantern City will have you coming back to see what’s next, but it’s Magno’s art that really makes this book come alive. Whether or not this becomes a television show remains to be seen, but I’m glad it’s found life within the pages here. The production quality of the book is top notch with high quality pages and cover stock and although the cover art isn’t as strong as the interiors, it’s still enough to stand out and make you take a peek inside. I’m hoping this book finds an audience as I’m definitely interested in the world that’s being built both out of and inside the world of comics.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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