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‘Steam Man #5:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Pain is just weakness leaving the body.  That’s…a LOT of weakness.

Holy crap.  I have no issue watching Game of Thrones and the violent and sadistic stuff that happens there – rats to the belly; Jamie’s hand; basically everything that Joffrey and Bolton’s bastard do – I can watch without too much distaste.  This final issue, though…in the last issue, we saw someone getting impaled voluntarily to accelerate the process in a horrific way to end the suffering, and that seems almost normal compared to what this one’s got packing.  If you’re a horror fan and have not been reading this series, you need to get to a shop and collect it post haste.

I felt that the fourth issue was setting us up for a no-win ending, and I’m pleasantly surprised by the unexpected nature of the final issue.  Mark Alan Miller finishes Landsdale’s tale with a huge bang, and it’s all character driven.  John Feather is the inarguable hero of this whole thing, and I think it’s phenomenal to have a tribesman take on the unsuspecting hero status of the story.  The Captain who has lead his crew of misfits gets neatly trumped at the end and made me realize the story was never his. It’s a great final cap to a series that makes you rethink the whole arc and want to start over again.  The dialogue is kept tight; there’s nothing superfluous at this stage of the game, though we still learn things throughout.  Feather’s problem-solving skills are straightforward and pitiless, and he’s become one of the standout characters in any comic I’ve read recently.

Piotr Kowalski has seen some terrible things, even if just in his own mind.  He shares these images with us in what I can only describe as the most painful artistry that I’ve seen.  There’s a very fine line he rides; the acts he depicts are horrendous, but nothing is deliberately over-the-top gore. It just happens that what he’s drawn is incredibly graphic and true to a calculated sense of the damage that can be done to the human body.  More like Holmes’ sense of the destruction of the body than an Eli Roth splatterfest.  Kowalski’s work is what elevates John Feather to the biggest heights. The steely determination in the face of what he has to go through is impressive, and from the combo of the art and dialogue, this guy flies off the page and into legendary status.

I’ve been a huge fan of this adaptation of Joe Lansdale’s work and am now interested in picking up the source material to see how they compare.  Fans of the run will not be disappointed with the incredible final act, and folks who enjoy a good Lovecraftian adventure will have a hell of a good time with it as a whole.

Share the stories that move you.

Erik Cheski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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