I received an electronic copy of this graphic novel in return for an honest review.
Title: S.T.E.A.M. Island Under Siege
Written and Lettered by: Ashley Eric Peschel
Art by: Peter Magro
Publisher: Self-Published via Amazon
This graphic novel is set in the time of the Second World War and deals with a group of unlikely companions fighting against supernatural creatures. And Nazis, of course.
It is the first published work of the creators Ashley Eric Peschel and Peter Magro, and the result of a project which lasted over three years (according to Peschel’s bio).
It is obvious that both author and artist put a lot of work in this graphic novel. It being the first published book by the creator team, though, it is not surprising that there are some difficulties that need to be mentioned. As I read a lot of comic books and graphic novels each week, I am used to a certain level of quality in a book’s layout, overall character development and story structure. I follow a lot of artists’ and writers’ work and feel like I have reached a level of understanding comics to be able to formulate what works and what doesn’t. Still, keep in mind that everyone has their own taste – and comics are no exception. So what doesn’t work for me might very well work for you.
While reading S.T.E.A.M., I found it very hard to follow the story as the panel and text flow order was sometimes unclear to me. Also, I have major problems with spelling errors and non-existent or sparce punctuation, which made reading the first third of this book nearly unbearable to me. I suggest spell-check and a proof-reader to go over your work before publishing it.
I also felt like there was too much text cramped into one panel. This book would have profited from a few more pages and a clearer structure to assure the reader is not overwhelmed by the information in a panel/on a page. This is a personal preference, of course. A more professional letterer could have assured a better reading quality and smarter speech bubble positioning as well as more distinguished and better integrated sound effects.
Stay with me, I’ll quit nagging now.
That being said, once I got over my problems with the layout and errors in the book, and focused more on the story, I did enjoy myself. The premise of this graphic novel is very interesting and opens opportunities for more books set in this world. There was good humour in it – some of which made me laugh out loud.
While it is clear that. both, the author and artist are still learning their craft, you could clearly see the potential throughout the book. I especially loved the monster design and some of the close-up images of buildings, landscapes, airplanes etc. You can see the amount of work that was put into all the details. That is amazing. I feel like Magro is very good at design but still needs to do some work on figure drawing and perspective.
The main characters are a German priest, an American cowboy, and an English knight. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke? Maybe, but give it a go. All of them have their own set of gifts which allow them to hunt the dark creatures that threaten their lives. They are well known for their fighting skills and thus often sought after. In the course of the book, they get a mission to find a ruthless serial killer – before the Nazis find him. This ultimately leads them to a fellow gifted person, called Maria, who has to decide if she wants to join in their mission, or continue on with her normal life.
If you enjoy murder-mysteries with fantasy elements, this book may be something for you. Sadly, I couldn’t really get into it.
My rating: 1/5