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Aetheric Mechanics
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2011
This is set in an alternative steampunk London in 1907,with a very Holmes-like detective and his very Watson-like companion,investigating the murder of a scientist.This leads to a discovery so profoundly shocking for the detectve and his world that he is forced to take radical action.

The most memorable feature here is the beautifully drawn and conceived steampunk British Empire,at war with Ruritania whoose sinister-looking bombers cruise overhead.Pagliarani's flying Dreadnaughts are impressive.All the locations are convincing.Sax Raker's room is particularly well realised and amazingly detailed.

This World is not quite what it seems.The reveal,when it comes is a good one,actually providing an explanation of the world,its technology and why the detective is so familiar.This core concept is something I have seen in more recent Steampunk works.Mark Hodder's Spring Heeled Jack book possibly derives some of its ideas from this.

This is a short work and quite enjoyable,although some of the dialogue and interactions dont quite flow as well as they could.Whilst producing some amazing detail,machines and designs,Pagliarani's people do all share very similar features.Peter Cushing's seems like a popular look here.Some pages have a slightly unfinished look to them with lots of white and quite subtle shadng.Maybe it was intended to be coloured.Small moans aside it is still top comic artwork.

The actual ending,although conclusive and logical,still leaves the reader in the middle of an unresolved story, and has us turning the page to check that it really is finished.

Overall a quick entertaining read with such detailed impressive art,the reader will be able to return to this a few times and still notice something new.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2009
I'd read a few reviews of Aetheric Mechanics, so I knew a little about the general plot and was interested enough to order it, assuming that it would be a reasonable read - yet what I got was a book full of surprises, ingenuity, classical literary references, clues and a stunning denouement. All I can hope is that there will be more from Warren Ellis based in the world he has created here, but if not, he has successfully squeezed a couple of hundred pages worth of ideas into a mere 48 page Novella - which is a sign of genuinely great writing. The art, too, is a perfect fit, with each panel showing a genuine love and affection for the story and hundreds of tiny details that you can go back and absorb time after time. Aetheric Mechanics will sit proudly on my shelf. How do more people not know about this? In an age where the demand for Graphic Novels is possibly greater than ever, there are so many books out there that sometimes a classic can get lost in the multitude of movie tie-ins, big company `event' specials and indie favourites. This is one of those classics. Don't let it pass you by - this is a book you will be glad you hunted down and hopefully, over time, will get the clamour and attention it deserves. Fantastic.
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on 28 June 2010
good story, great artwork. the story smoothly rides along with some great dialogue and lovely twists. the only reason i gave it 4 instead of 5 was because i thought ellis was trying to cram too much into one story. maybe if it was a bit longer, he would have the space to give more credibility to this fine work.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Warren Ellis presents a milieu that's becoming quite familiar - turn of the 20th century London, where somehow science has advanced so that the British Empire is stretching into space, whilst at war with Ruritania. Doctor Robert Watcham returns from a tour of duty to find London much changed. He visits his old friend, the consulting detective Sax Raker, who is investigating the case of the man who wasn't there. To go much further is to give you the whole of the plot, as the story is quite a short one in terms of incident.

However, it is based around a fun science fiction idea. The obvious parallels between Raker and Holmes and Watcham and Watson are there for a reason, so much so you begin to wonder why Ellis didn't go the whole hog. But by holding that much back, he is able to produce something that is not quite a pastiche, so that where his portrayal of the characters deviates from Conan Doyle's it's okay, because this is a Warren Ellis story not a Holmes story.

The art, which is black and white and finely inked, features impressive detail and does a very fine job of creating a familiar but different vision of London in the early years of the 20C. If there are failings it's that perhaps there could have been better use of shadow or toning, and that faces are all much the same, a point made all the more obvious when a panel of two different men with moustaches makes it difficult to pick out which is which. But that's a small niggle. Otherwise the art is consistent and never pulls you out of the story.

The ending is telegraphed just a tiny bit so that you know what's coming, but it is the only ending that would make sense in terms of what comes before and that makes it very satisfying. I read it again directly after the first reading, which is the mark of an enjoyable read and I kind of hope Ellis will use Raker again someday.
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on 12 May 2010
It seems derivative, but strangely familiar. and that's intentional. Short, Smart and with a twist
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on 17 September 2014
strange as you might wish, Ellis achieves another fabulous graphical extravaganza.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2010
"Sax Raker and the case of the man who wasn't there" would be the book title' if this were an ongoing series of novellas, like Aetherics Mechanics' most immediate inspiration source, Sherlock Holmes. Who this man really turns out to be... Well, that would be telling, wouldn't it? It's a brilliant little crime story, after all. Sax is basically Sherlock Holmes, and the down-to-earth, somewhat cynical war veteran of a doctor who's his best friend, Watcham, plays the Watson. A very weird Britain, ruled by aetheric mechanics, some weird science made of fiction and relativity, is on the verge of being conquered by Ruritania (an appreciated tip of the hat to master director Hayao Miyazaki), while in London somebody is killing the best scientists in the field. A man wo appears to be flickering in and out of existence. Sax Raker will solve the case and find out its cataclysmic ramifications, and for the few bucks this will set you back, the fun and thinking you'll get are well worth the expense. Besides, you'll get to watch in acton the Sherlock Holmes you always loved (that bastard who's always hatefully logic and wors of all, right) and a loving, endearing nod to the power of imagination and fiction. A closing thought to Gianluca Pagliarani, artist of the book, of whom I never heard of before and whose art I hope to see again soon: He really drew the hell outof this book!
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