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Empire and Martians

Comic book pick of the week: Scarlet Traces. Ian Edington wrote it, and D’Israeli did the art. The story is a nifty little murder mystery, and the gimmick is that it’s set in England ten years after Wells’ War Of The Worlds.

“The Martians’ unwitting bequest to their would-be slaves was a form of technology as then undreamt of by mankind. Within a decade our brightest minds had unravelled its secrets, their machineries of war and subjugation adapted and assimilated into our everyday usage. The noble steed — our companion and carriage for millenia is replaced by a clockwork toy! Homes are heated and lit by a version of the once-dreaded heat ray. The great mills and factories of the North are now vast, mechanized estates. The British Empire is now truly a world power without peer, but I cannot help but wonder if we have lost something in the process.”

It’s kind of pricy, at $15 for 72 pages of story, but I like the sturdy hardcover format. It actually rather reminds me of Tintin, which I suspect is no coincidence — Edington and D’Israeli use the same regular grid as Herge, and some of the characters have those distinctive accents Herge loved to use.

Plus the world is a completely cool concept. The big panoramic views of London are beautiful; you can see a few of them here. Very striking.

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