Sander Jorve just wants to keep his wife and son safe. Living in the brutalized lower class of Lantern City means living in near constant darkness, the enormous walls of the city always looming overhead, while the upper class enjoys the elevated, interconnected towers and airships above. When Sander’s brother-in-law, the persuasive activist Kendal, convinces him to infiltrate the brutal ranks of the Guard, he’s set on a dangerous path that will test his abilities and beliefs, all in the name of making a difference for his family and his caste.
Lantern City is a sweeping revolutionary epic, set in a dystopian Steampunk styled city, ruled with an iron hand by one Killian Grey. The story centers around reluctant patriot, Sander Jorve, who at the beginning of the tale, just wishes to work, feed his family, and attract as little notice from the ruling class, as possible. Alas, it’s not to be as he is thrown into conflict with the red-masked guards time and again, in our first issue. Sander is encouraged to rebel, by his wife Karla, and her hot headed brother, Kendal. He is the typical everyman, who just wants to get by, but finds himself caught up in the tide of rebellion, both by chance and his innate belief in what’s right.
Lantern City features some lavish variant covers that depict the city, and the infamous masked guards, that capture all the elements of Steampunk culture. The city appears immense. Its towers dwarf the view of the population we get from Sander like giants striding over ants. Above we have the grey, the pampered upper class that we never see in the initial issue. Keeping the lower class at bay, are the red-clad stormtroopers, who are nameless and faceless to the oppressed working class.
This series expresses a tale that is old as recorded history, the oppression of a the common man by a tyrannical government, that must be overthrown if ordinary people are to have any sort of a freedom. It’s one that every person can sympathize with on some level. It is also a bit overdone. The first issue paints the struggle as very black and white. The plot could have been given some more depth if we had seen a few more areas of grey that had nothing to do with the infamous city ruler. Since we don’t see any of the “greys” in the first issue, or the guards beyond their abuse of the workers, we can only hope that the story develops a little more as the series progresses.
The one complaint I had in the first issue, was that this is a story that comes to a very slow boil. Lovers of quick and decisive action will find themselves frustrated by this installment, as it does little more than lay the groundwork for the world, and introduce the protagonist and his family. Lantern City is a long haul story. Readers who relish a deep, involved tale that builds slowly over time will find adore this comic. Tune in for future issues to see how Sander’s fight to free his people progresses. A good first outing, but not for the casual reader that appreciates slam-bang action out of the gate.
For more information on Lantern City, or other great offering from Boom! Studios, please visit their website. BOOM! Studios.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.