Brass Sun #2

Some comics place you in a world like ours and allow normality to gently bleed out, a transfusion of the fantastic into the familiar. Some comics drop you into a comfortingly recognisable un-reality, the soft embrace of a well-established canon. And some comics reveal an alternate world so different and fascinating that you want to explore every nook and cranny. Brass Sun is like that. It’s a story about a world not like ours. A beautifully realised world teaming with ideas, breathed effortlessly into life by the Culbard’s stunning art and Edginton’s haunting prose.

Issue 2 opens with a brief history of Brass Sun’s universe, from then until now. It’s a place of impossible scale, Kirby-esque artificial life, and warring factions. At the heart of the story are Wren, orphaned by fanatics, and Conductor 17, a trainee monk. Both are on a journey to ensure the future of the many worlds which orbit the Brass Sun.

There’s a real pleasure in reading a comic whose creators are clearly in love with the medium. This is a comic filled with wonders, gleaming with “otherness”. Edginton and Culbard present a vision of a place that could never be adapted for the screen. Not a storyboard. Not an illustrated screenplay. A comic.

Edginton’s writing is a treat. The book rings with tiny turns of phrase that I can’t shake out of my skull. “Celestial Increments” “The Blind Watchmaker” “Widow’s Mite”. Every character’s voice feels distinct. Their speech patterns as much of making them feel real as Culbard’s wonderfully expressive line-work. The pompous blather of the Scarlet Duke veering between rosy nostalgia and vile threats was a real highlight. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s keen to use “CHURLS, SCULLIONS AND KNAVES!” in conversation. It’s definitely how I’ll begin every Christmas card.

Throughout the whole issue there’s an economy of language which treads the fine line between exposition and mystery. Scythes, Mechanics, Binary Code. These are familiar things rendered strange within the worlds of Brass Sun. By not over-explaining every piece of their creation, Culbard and Edginton allow us to fill in the gaps.  This makes the reality of Brass Sun feel vast. As limitless as our imaginations. We are exploring with Wren and 17, their wonder is our wonder.

Culbard’s art is gorgeous. City sized buildings and cyborg abbots are rendered with precision. It all feels solid, constructed, feasible. Just like the language used, it makes the universe credible. It makes Brass Sun feel like an alternate place not imagined but revealed. For me though, it’s Culbard’s work on facial expressions that deserves particular praise. The tiny frowns of determination, the slowly widening eyes of panic, 17’s grin when lecturing Wren. Subtle acts of genuine emotion which make these characters relatable. A stand out for me was the act of kindness (avoiding spoilers) towards the end of the issue. 8 panels the last of which is silent. Two characters in a room. A perfect blend of art and words. Ordinary believable kindness in an extraordinary and unbelievable setting.

Brass Sun shows comics at their best. From the infinite vastness of crumbling worlds to the simple shared look. It is a must-add to your pull list. Go, seek out #1 if you missed it.

This is a journey through the rusting remains of a once-beautiful multiverse, and I’m itching to find out where it’s heading.

Rating: 5/5

GS Blogger: Tom T – @Silent_Tom_T

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