ENGINEWARD #3, available from Vault Comics on September 23rd, sees Joss and her friends embark on a mission to find the seed that could save their world. George Mann’s story takes a step back from the world-building and firmly pushes forward into the hero’s journey.
Joe Eisma’s cover art continues to impress with an original and modern take on the zodiac god, Virgo. As the zodiac sign implies, Virgo’s face is perfect. Symmetrical, exacting, precise. It’s a fine example of interpreting personality through art.
Mann’s writing takes a tonal shift in this issue from prior ones to get right into the here and now of the mission for Joss. There are less exposition and world-building, and more focus on preparing the antagonists and protagonists for the coming adventure.
Mann’s tonal shift simplifies the readability of the issue, which is made richer by the mythology and backstory introduced in the first two books. In all, ENGINEWARD #3 was a faster read. The story was more straight forward. And the progression of the plot was significantly smoother since you didn’t have to regularly pause to cross-check what the characters were talking about regarding the origins of the town, the gods, the crashed ship, and the ghoulem.
Joe Eisma’s art complemented Mann’s story well, but there was a bit of a step back in terms of the energy and pace in each panel. The character designs are wholly original, and the facial expressions of the characters adequately matched the emotion of each scene.
That said, most of the camera angles were flat and straight at eye level, lacking much visual interest. The characters expressed enough emotion to carry each scene, but just barely. The artwork is adequate to tell the story, but it lacks energy.
Michael Garland’s coloring works exceptionally well for blanketing every scene in dry, dusty desert tones while still adding enough contrasting colors to help the characters stand out in their surroundings. It’s a colorful issue that uses pastels and soft tones very effectively.
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering expertly uses word balloon coloring to express shouts or exclamations with a simple red border to maximize the emotion of the characters’ speech, using as little real estate as possible. This is an excellent strategic choice because many of the pages range from six to eight panels. This is smart and effective lettering from Otsmane-Elhaou.
ENGINEWARD #3, available from Vault Comics on September 23rd, builds on the world-building from the previous issues and finally launches into the main adventure. The story is a clear and breezy read, and the art accentuates the hot desert venue nicely.