Owen Hardy continues his journey and exploration of Crown City on a mission to see the titular “Clockwork Angels” in the second installment of Rush’s Neil Peart’s comic book based on his album and subsequent novel of the same name. As Owen comes up against obstacle after obstacle to view the Angels that he has given up everything to do, we learn more about the City, the Watchmaker, and the Anarchist. Unfortunately, this steampunk dystopian comic can present buckets of information all day in the most elaborate and beautiful illustrations with well-crafted dialogue, and yet it’s still not enough to make me want to read more.
WRITTEN BY: Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart
ART BY: Nick Robles
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
RELEASE: April 30, 2014
When our protagonist, Owen, finally makes it to the Clockwork Angels, he is unable to enter and view them without a ticket. And no one seems to want to tell him how or where to get a ticket. Distraught, Owen finds himself at a carnival where he receives mysterious fortunes and meets a real life angel, a tightrope walker by the name of Francesca, with whom he promptly becomes smitten.
Meanwhile, something is amiss. The Anarchist, in his quest for freedom, flexibility, and spontaneity (something apparently not allowed in a town run by a Watchmaker so obsessed with time and clocks) sneaks around at night and uses the skills he learned as the Watchmaker’s protégé to mess with all the clocks and challenge the very fiber of Crown City.
As Owen slips in and out of situations around Crown City, he finds himself helping the Watchmaker’s workers during which he finds out that the Watchmaker has planned the entire universe to perfection. The functionality of the planets, moons, stars, it’s all planned according to the Watchmaker, and apparently, not even the Anarchist can disrupt that. Though I sense that will change.
In a case of mistaken identity, Owen is chased out of Crown City, believed to be the Anarchist. Having no money and nowhere to go, we see him head toward the carnival where he first met Francesca and the other misfits. End scene…wait for issue three.
As I said in my review for issue #1, there is nothing wrong with “Clockwork Angels” but there is nothing really right with it either. Nothing happens that makes the reader ponder about life, seize with fear, giggle with excitement, or grasp at the edge of their seat in anticipation. It just…is. It’s a decent story with some beautiful art that doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table. In fact, by the end of issue #2, I had way more questions than answers, and not in a good way.
I wish good things for this comic, I want it to grab ahold of the genres it is toying with and play to their strengths. I want it to make me think. I want it to give me chills. And maybe it will in the future. But for now, I’ll have to be content with its simplistic and dry storyline.
Review by – Bree Ogden