The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of the Flying City

Jared Axelrod, Author, Axelrod, Author, Steve Walker, Illustrator, Lawrie Walker, Illustrator
Jared Axelrod and Steve Walker. Tor, $25.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3130-4
Paperback - 136 pages - 978-0-7653-3131-1
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In the afterword, Axelrod and Walker compare the world they’ve created to that of the legendary Transmetropolitan series. It’s a reasonable comparison as both are driven in part by their surrounding cities and focus on a crusading journalist. In the case of this graphic novel, the city is Amperstam, the only flying city in a world of da Vinci–like airships. The journalist is Ashe, a young reporter from the streets whose insistence on uncovering uncomfortable truths is the bane of the city’s leader, the Provost, especially when she discovers a terrible secret about Amperstam that could bring the entire city literally crashing to the ground. Axelrod and Walker take a “drop everybody in the pool and see who swims” approach to introducing the book, hurling a slew of names, places, and acts of political intrigue at the reader. If you can get past this opening section, the book becomes a fun adventure, but things work out all too easily for the main character, making it difficult to feel any real sense of danger or stakes as Ashe digs deeper into the Provost’s secrets. As the first in a series about Amperstam, it’s an adequate setup, however. (May)
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