Æther & Empire #1 (Blue Juice)

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CREDIT: Blue Juice Comics

Rating: 4/5 – Really Fun Sci-Fantasy for Alternate History Fans.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

Æther & Empire is the 3rd title from Blue Juice Comics (after Anne Bonnie and The Accelerators), and I would not be surprised if you’ve never heard of it, but it’s definitely worth a look if you’re into alternate history sci-fantasy.  Blue Juice is a small Publisher and this title didn’t even make it onto their home page , but maybe they’ll remedy that after they read this review. Luckily there is a  page dedicated to this title and you can to download a 5-page PDF preview of the 1st issue.  Go grab the PDF and have a look, I’ll be here when you get back…

I thought it was cool, but I like flying ships and technology inserted into the Victorian setting while still keeping the outward trappings of Victorian society.  I hesitate to call this steampunk because there are not the elaborate costumes and gadgetry that I normally (and perhaps incorrectly) associate with that genre.  Instead we have what appears to be “standard Victorian” with a few extras thrown in.  Like the fact that an expedition was sent to Mars and it’s in trouble!  Writer Mike Horan captured my imagination with this debut issue, but I’d have liked to see something a bit more definitive about the space-faring aspect that will come in later issues.  Artist Bong Ty Dazo does an admirable job on the ships, costumes, and action this issue.  I’m not familiar with Dazo’s work, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for it in future.

Æther & Empire is another title that will help measure your local shop’s “Indie Friendly Factor”.  I’m going toss out a guess that less than half the comic shops in the US ordered this series for the rack, but it should be available for reorder if you ask your shop to place an order for you.   Like high-adventure and sci-fi mixed up with fantasy?  This is definitely worth checking out.  Grab the preview PDF and decide for yourself.  I’m going to be back for issue #2 and I’ve started pre-ordering now that I’m aware of it.  This is exactly the kind of comic I love to support and I’d love to see it reach a wider audience!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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