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Captain Swing And The Electrical Pirates Of Condery Island s/c

Captain Swing And The Electrical Pirates Of Condery Island s/c back

Warren Ellis & Raulo Caceres


Page 45 Review by Stephen

"It stole everything from me. But it was worth it. I was worth everything. It proved that the future could be called forward into the present. All we had to do was think hard and care enough."

Words to live by in any sphere, including the comicbook industry where I honestly think we've made significant progress.

It's another gem for the steampunk buffs in which Warren reminds us that few relinquish power voluntarily. Take our esteemed Magistrates of the early 19th Century and their Bow Street Runners, mercenaries whom aggrieved parties would dispatch to track down other thieves and recover stolen valuables (an optimum C.V. should include casual murder, artful extortion, and "general experience in nicking stuff myself"). They weren't exactly happy when Sir Robert Peel founded the London Metropolitan Police. However shambolic and ill-equipped the Peelers were (no walkie-talkies, just a football rattle!), they still posed a threat in that they were not answerable to the Magistrates, and those who weren't hopelessly drunk might even care enough to do their job properly and see justice done.

All of which we learn in short breaks between the action which sees the dark London nights of 1930 crackling with electrical energy in the form of a flying rowboat, the boots of a roof-hopping Captain Swing whom they've dubbed Spring-Heeled Jack, and the bullets he fires, tipped with tiny lightbulbs. The police want to catch him for a murder he didn't commit and one Bow Street Runner in particular wants him dead. The Magistrates, you see, have in their possession an object of power and with it the means of limiting the future and ensuring it stays in their hands. Captain Swing, on the other hand, has formed a cooperative of craftsmen he's taught to fashion revolutionary scientific devices far in advance of their times which threaten the hegemony of the ruling elite, and the ruling elite are not happy.

Digikore's rich green and electric blue colours over Raulo Caceres heavily rendered, midnight inks are an impressive combo, and Cindery Island hidden in the densely wooded Essex creeks - as seen from above the floating pirate ship - is the sort of thing that would make early Bernie Wrightson horror fans weep with awestruck joy. An elaborate, telescopic contraption scans the skies above. Towering pylons and windmill arms crackle with live electricity while chimneys billow smoke atop the tiled roofs of workshops on stilts whose windows glow orange from the raging furnaces within. Meanwhile the slate-blue waters of the twisting creeks ripple round tiny islands and under the bridges which link them.

This is the legend of Captain Swing: who he was and who he came to be. It is the sacrifice of one man to liberate the future for the many and from the past, and the determination of another to ensure that does not come to pass.

"The future is whatever in this world I have decided not to kill."
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