Adventures of Luther Arkwright (Luther Arkwright, #1)

By Bryan Talbot

Rating: 4 stars

I’m really not entirely sure what to make of this graphic novel. It was very dense, in multiple senses of the word, and I did get lost more than once. Luther Arkwright can travel without technological aid between the worlds of the multiverse, and he’s working with the stable, ordered Earth of zero-zero to try and prevent a weapon that will destroy Earths throughout the multiverse from being found and unleashed.

The first thing that hit me here was Talbot’s art style. As someone who’s only really familiar with his work through Grandville and its sequels, this is very different indeed! Lots of line work and intricate detail, it’s lovely but in a way that requires more effort than the clean lines of Grandville.

The story itself is a twisting, turning tale encompassing parallel universes, variations of Earth where the British Empire never fell or where the English civil war waged for three hundred years. It’s on this latter plane that we spend most of our time, as Arkwright manipulates the nations of this world into a position where the enemy will be forced to reveal themselves, rather than to work through shadowy agents. And that’s another facet to the book: conspiracy theories to your heart’s content, along with secret societies and hidden manipulators of worlds. It’s all here.

Oh, and, of course, the religious symbolism is fairly intense, especially later on. The recurring motif of the figure dying with their arms outstretched (not to mention Arkwright’s little resurrection trick!) is a powerful image.

There’s a lot to digest here, and I suspect it’s a book that would reward rereading.

Book details

ISBN: 9781593077259
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Year of publication: 1989

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