Written by Kyle Strahm
Published by Ambrosia Publishing
Unfurling like a mish mash between the stark monochrome madness of Miller’s Sin City with a heavy peppering of characters that would comfortably be at home in a Tim Burton-esque nightmarish tale, Kyle Strahm’s premiere issue of this little pitch black fairytale leaves you feeling a little underfed but somewhat curious as to what he’s going to deliver next when publisher Ambrosia dishes out succeeding chapters in the near future.
Clockwork is a weird and wonderful little tale about a small town ravaged by said mysterious creature of the book’s title, which apparently has been feasting on the townsfolk. It’s at this point that we’re thrust into the story meeting Baron Von Salt, a mysteriously eerie figure who has an agenda with the ticking, tocking creature, who then rallies the townsfolk with the aid of a heavy duty machine gun from the future on a mission to take out the mysterious creature who has been gobbling not only the local inhabitants, but also farm full’s of chickens. There is a twist in this first chapter but what you’ve read is essentially all that’s being served up this time out.
At times the artwork but be a bit headache inducing, at others it serves the story really well, playing around manically with shadows, but you can’t help but feel a little cheated by the time you’ve gotten to the end of it. And oddly, getting to the end is a fast affair – sure you’d think 52 pages is a meaty read but this scribbler whizzed through it. Anyway, back to feeling slightly cheated. Why? Because you’re not entirely sure what the hell it is you’re actually supposed to taking in here. Where does the creature come from? What is Baron Von Salt’s story? Why is he hunting the creature? How did he bring the gun from the future?
All these and a whole lot more could and probably should have been answered in this debut book to hook you and have you coming back for more. Sadly they aren’t. This is where Clockwork fumbles the ball, piquing your curiosity from its opening moments then failing to serve up a story with enough substance. Still, any fans of Burton should definitely take a peak at Strahm’s book, there’s enough to here to appreciate. The book is due to hit shelves this summer and will come carrying an additional ream of pages including some bonus material that you won’t find anywhere else. And if you can’t be arsed to head down your local comic shop and pick up a copy then Ambrosia’s planning on launching Clockwork as a digital download, too, for the likes of PSP, Nintendo DS and computers so there’s no excuses if you’re still curious.
2 ½ out of 5
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