cover image Steam Reverie in Amber

Steam Reverie in Amber

Kuroimori, trans. from the Japanese by John Neal. Seven Seas, $29.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-63858-398-1

Kuroimori’s full-color steampunk art book packs in intricate illustrations, strung together by a flimsy framing narrative. Shiori is the proprietor of a flying bookshop called the Tomeship that is only visible to those who bear the gearform scar on their hearts. “Such unfortunate souls” visit the shop and peruse volumes containing images of conventionally attractive young women in varied steampunk-inspired dress, such as representations of the Western zodiac in metal underpants and corset tops or residents of a steam-powered Tokyo in micromini skirts and thigh-high boots. Kuroimori is known for drawing Final Fantasy tie-in products, but has little experience with comics storytelling, which shows in the tepid sections introducing each art-book-within-a-book. The zodiac pin-ups are Shiori’s recommendation to a schoolgirl who wants to become a serious scholar, for example. Neither Shiori’s personality and backstory nor the customers who pick up the books she offers them are particularly fleshed-out, either. But the art is technically impeccable, with an inviting design for the Tomeship full of glass and greenery and the orange-toned city it floats above. A polished removable major-arcana tarot deck is included. This will sit pretty on the Final Fantasy fan coffee table, but won’t hold much attention for readers beyond that. (Oct.)