Aldous Spark Review

Posted April 26, 2017 by Josh McCullough in Comic Books

Written by: Andrew Maxwell & Peter Miriani

Art by: Mauricio Alvarez

Published by: Grenade Fight Inc.

For my money, Aldous Spark is everything a good comic should be. It’s got incredibly fun action, characters that don’t take themselves too seriously, and a slick style that immediately draws you in. This first installment is a pretty great debut for a world I’d very much like to revisit and one I definitely think is worthy of your time.

Aldous Spark is described as an “anarchist magician,” which immediately caught my eye. Set in 1899, Aldous is a covert operative who’s a little Sherlock Holmes, a little Indiana Jones, and a whole lot more eccentric. Teamed with his sidekick Isiah, the two get embroiled in a plot to discover the “Devil’s Bible,” a book that could reveal many of the Vatican’s deepest secrets. The pair spring into action to find a journal that may lead them to the Devil’s Bible while up against the church’s deadly Red Priests.

Aldous Spark does a lot right for a debut issue, which I don’t see enough of. First of all, there’s no tedious origin story. You’re dropped straight into one of Aldous and Isiah’s typical cases, with the mismatched pair’s dialogue telling you everything you need to know. There’s an incredibly fun energy and quick wit to the script that sold me on the characters instantly. They have a very fun “Archer and Armstrong” type relationship, and the almost juvenile hijinks make them an easy recommendation to fans of that book.

Aldous is a comic that very much knows what it wants to be and does it so effectively it’s hard not to catch the infectious fun it contains. It’s a fast read that whisks you through an adventure at a whirlwind pace and makes for a comfortable and exciting read.

The only downside to this is that the pacing feels a little too quick, giving you very little room to breath. The opening and setup are done well–fast paced action that sets the tone–followed by a little slower introduction to our leads and a page to set up our mystery before leaping straight back into action. The problem is that once the action starts back up, you find yourself at the ending before you’ve had time to properly take the events in. There are very few quiet moments to absorb what is going on before moving to the next big scene or revelation, which can make some of the twists feel a little weak as you’ve barely any time to let what’s just happened sink in.

An extra 20 or so pages with some more time to explore the characters would’ve been nice.

That said, the book’s strongest element is undoubtedly its design. There are several clever themes that sold the book to me almost before I’d even read anything, and that again sets exactly the right sort of tone. The books designs are absolutely gorgeous, really selling the hardcover as a premium product. I’d like to give praise to the book’s design team Sonia Harris, Justin Cornell, and Adam Purett for doing some really clever and visually appealing things. The little old-time film reals between chapters especially were a touch I adored and gave the book a very visually pleasing aesthetic that made it just that little bit more enjoyable.

The art itself by Mauricio Alvarez is especially impressive. It’s a hugely expressive style that really helps sell the personality of the leads and crafts a very intriguing world for them to live in. I have a particular soft spot for books set in the turn of the century of the industrial age, and Alvarez really sells that dirty and grimy city bustling with the potential for brilliance while also being downturned and seedy. Much like the script, its interests are in being as purely enjoyable as possible and really selling the characters and their world. It’s a damned impressive show and definitely makes it stand out from other indie books.

As I said in my introduction, Aldous Sparks is a pure comic book in the best sense. It’s creative, funny, and hugely entertaining. There’s some sequel setup towards the end that thankfully doesn’t encroach on the main plot. Though I know I’d be back for more. Aldous Sparks is a great start to a character and world that is full of potential and makes for an incredibly fun read. I absolutely recommend it. The book launches on Comixology this Wednesday (the 26th), so I’d absolutely suggest picking it up.

About the Author

Josh McCullough

A writer at WTN Josh is a huge comic fan whose tastes edge towards the strange and surreal. If there's one thing he loves more than comics then it's Doctor who. Never try and argue with him that there's a better doctor than Sylvester McCoy. Any fedoras that would make good press hats should be sent to his PO Box.