Skies of Fire, Volumes 1-4

Light on plot, but worth getting for the artwork alone.

Skies of Fire, Volume 1

Massive diesel-powered airships dueling in the sky. It sounds like winning formula and there is a lot to like about Skies of Fire, the four-part (so far) comic series created by Vincenzo Ferriero and Ray Chou.

The art, by Pablo Peppino, is perfect for a dieselpunk story: crisp and elegant.

The setting — the fictional Aquilan Empire, inspired by early-twentieth-century Britain — is marvelous.

The mystery at the heart of the story — a never-ending storm called The Expanse, which sky pirates call their home — is an inspiration.

But the comic is light on plot.

The entire first volume is devoted to a pirate raid on one of the empire’s trading posts. Volume 2 shows our hero, Captain Helen Pierce, recruiting the villain’s former righthand man to track him down in The Expanse. In Volume 3, they assemble a motley crew. In Volume 4, the last one so far, we get an air battle, the only point of which is to prove Pierce’s loyalty to her new crew as opposed to the empire.

It’s all well done, but I read the whole thing in half an hour. We learn nothing about Pierce’s motivation, nor her enemy’s. What this dieselpunk story needs is to pick up a bit of steam.

At least the books are cheap: at $8 per volume, you get your money’s worth. Each volume comes with extras that tell you more about the backstory. My four parts also came with a printout and a postcard. For the artwork alone, this is worth getting.

Visit Ferriero’s and Chou’s website, Mythopoeia, for more.

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