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March 5, 2010

A Dandy Review: Captain Swing #1

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Written by: DecapitatedDan
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Title: Captain Swing #1 of 4
Publisher: Avatar Press
Writer: Warren Ellis
Art/Inks: Raulo Caceres
Colors: Digikore Studios

“This crackling new mini-series is illustrated in a stunning woodcut style, and presented in full color. London, 1830: newly-minted copper Charlie Gravel keeps seeing things he’s not supposed to. A crooked Bow Street Runner with a flintlock revolver, flying things that are not supposed to fly, and the violent Scientific Phantasmagoria that is christened Spring-Heeled Jack, but is known by other names. It is the time of Captain Swing and his Electrical Pirates, and history will never be the same.”

Welcome one and all. Your glorious goofballs, Andy Liegl and Decapitated Dan, sat down and read last week’s Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island #1 for another Dandy Review! Here is what they thought of it…

(Spoilers lightly sprinkled throughout)

Dan: Ahh Avatar Press, how I love thee, let me count the ways…Crossed, Black Gas, Chronicles of Wormwood, The Unfunnies, Friday the 13th, and on and on. So when I sit down to read Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island #1 will it go onto my love list of your titles?

Alright enough of the sappy crap. I like Avatar books for a few reasons, the main one being they are not afraid to give me what I want in a comic and that is adult material. Gore and mature situations always seem to be found in the pages of their tittles and I just get all giddy when a new one comes along. So without more stalling lets get this show on the road!

Andy: Yeah, I haven’t read any of those titles you mentioned and I usually turn to Vertigo for my violence kick. I know jack crap about Captain Swing other than it’s written by Warren Ellis, which means we may see the final issue before this decade is over…it is a mini-series right? If it weren’t, we may not have seen the conclusion in my lifetime. Ok, so spill the beans Dan; who is Captain Swing? A pirate? A vagabond? …a male hooker?

Dan: Well Andy if we look at the history books Captain Swing is a the name of the imaginary leader of the Swing Riots that took place in London in the early 19th century. Which just so happens to be the time and place that this comic finds itself. Captain Swing in this case has a face and some nice toys at his discretion. Is he the one and only Jack the Ripper or the leader of a movement?

I want to start with the artwork. I love the look of this issue. It is nice and dark and sets such a nice tone for the events. It just has that London feel that you see in the movies and it added nicely to how Captain Swing was presented. The electrical elements just flew off of every panel with great color work. Even the character designs have this cool post Steampunk approach to them. I know, how do you do post Steampunk right? This is how. What do you think Andy? Would you say that this is Steampunk in nature or possibly one step further?

Andy: Oh, it’s total Steampunk, there’s no doubt about that! And I totally agree about the art- it’s spectacular. The detail in every panel is exquisite and the mood is definitely captured on each page. Something that really stood out to me was Caceres’ attention to detail; holy hell did he make London look good in this one! The first two pages alone of London burning and that cop skewered on a fence, was enough to suck me in, and as the issue progressed the art only got cooler to look at. I’m not really sure who Captain Swing is or what he does exactly, but he’s got some cool fuckin’ weapons man. Like the lightbulb bullets. They were kind of like an early version of a taser, and the cop who got hit with one describes them best, “Burned a little hole in my other uniform, it did. Weirdest bloody feeling. I didn’t know if I was going to shit, spin or catch fire.” Yeah, sounds like a taser shot to me! Anyway, to sum all this up: the art kicks ass.

…eh?

Dan: Alright lets jump to the story, which is where I always know whether or not an Avatar series is really going to deliver. What I liked about this was the mix of story points that were kind of divided by a history lesson. However I found that some of the breaks at the beginning were a distraction until I got the idea behind them. Story wise this has everything I want in a first issue. A good buildup of who is who, without revealing too much, great cliffhanger ending to get me to come back and just a solid story inbetween. I love the concept of what was presented and don’t think it could have been interpreted any better. What about you Andy, did you dig the story?

Andy: Yeesh, I think Captain Swing left some of his sauce all over your face Dan…and on your Deuce McAllister jersey. Sorry man. That’s just nasty.  Yeah, I did like the story; I have this thing for stories that take place in London, ever since studying over there back in ’05, and this one definitely has my attention. Like you said, the history lesson page breaks threw me off at first too, and honestly, while I understand their relevance, I’m not a fan. They made the flow of the story choppy and made things confusing at first when I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Like you said though, as the story progressed I got the idea behind them, but I dunno…was there no other way!?

So basically what I’m getting out of this is that Captain Swing is not a male hooker but a Robin Hood of his day, right? Or is he more in it for himself? I’m not sure, but his electric powered air boat is freakin’ awesome! I want to get drunk on one.

Dan: Haha. I totally agree on the boat. Alright so lets break it all down. I think minus the story breaks this is nothing but a solid issue. The idea is really unique and has some good potential if handled in the right way. Good thing Warren Ellis has his hands on it. The artwork was the real winner here though. The way that Raulo Caceres interpreted the story was nothing short of amazing. This is a solid 8/10 in my book.

Andy: It was definitely a good one, no doubt about that. However, the execution could have been better. Once things started to flow, they were abruptly halted by a wall of beige and annoying sentences full of exposition. Then, the art would return and I’d be totally wrapped up in the story. I give Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island #1 a solid 7.5/10.

Now if you would excuse me, I need to finish burning the rest of your Saints stuff.

Dan: Don’t be hating on the World Champs bitch!

Decapitated Dan
decapitateddan@comicattack.net

Andy Liegl
andy@comicattack.net

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5 Comments


  1. Billy

    It looks like the type of book that would keep my attention but I don’t like the idea of the story being halted for a history lesson. I would much rather the book started out by telling the history, then getting on to the main story.



  2. Not the kind of story I expected from the title lol
    But it does look like an interesting read probably something I’d pick up in trade form..thanks for the heads up on this one guys!



  3. Yeah like we said, the history lesson breaks were weird, but they shouldn’t deter you from checking it out!


  4. Decapitated Dan

    It’s Avatar! Why wouldn’t you read it?



  5. […] Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island #2 (Avatar) Andy: I love it. Great art and a cool steampunk story make for a well done second issue! Hopefully #3 comes out on […]



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