As I dug into my Kickstarter pile, I thought it was time to dive into Pneumatic Cases, a Victorian Steampunk mystery by John Wilson. If you’re a fan of The Thin Man movie series (1934) based on the novels by Dashiell Hammett, then you’ll immediately recognize the similarities between the two lead characters in the comic and the movie. They are married. They love each other and work as a team, and the female character is the snarky one. Why do I point this out? Because we don’t see enough of this type of relationship in storytelling, and I think it’s important to see relationships where both parties love and respect one another. Now, on with the show…
Lord Percy and Lady Anastasia Ravenscroft (I love that name.) are two wealthy aristocrats in Victorian-era London who are brilliant detectives that use science and technology to solve cases. On a morning stroll, they stumble across a crime scene and leap into action, much to the chagrin of the local constabulary. A clue leads them to an All-Men’s Club and another powerful aristocrat. But, will it also lead them into danger? I’m thinking yes.
The story is light and fun. You meet a robot butler who appears to be their only servant. His appearance was brief, but I’m confident we will see more of him in later issues. Though I have no idea where their wealth comes from at this point, it would be interesting to know what it is and how it plays into their lives. Right now, this story follows a pretty standard Steampunk Victorian trope, and I would have liked to have seen more resistance to their interference by the constable in charge of the murder investigation; it would have made for some good organic conflict. As it stands, they pretty much railroaded him without a second thought; however, I really liked that Percy and Anastasia traded off saving each other.
There is a lot of potential in the series, and I’m hoping that in the next few issues we will see something that puts a wrench into their marriage and their lives.
Creative Team: Writer: John Wilson (writer), Rowel Roque (artist), Lisa Moore (colorist), Brant Fowler (letterer)
Publisher: Last Ember Press
Click here to purchase.