Set in the mythical land of the Aquilan Empire, the story starts at Port Prince, where a cargo dirigible lands and begins to offload. The town and the airship are immediately subjected to a vicious attack by pirates who use their airship to destroy and kill what they can’t steal. Their attack is cut short by the arrival of one Captain Pierce of the Empire’s Navy who attempts to stop them, but the pirates flee into an area known as The Expanse. It is a seemingly impenetrable area of which no naval vessel has ever returned. Called to defend her inability to stop the pirates from destroying Port Prince by the Emperor himself, Captain Pierce faces choices that will affect both her political and military future.
The art in this book by Pablo Peppinois stunning and well thought out. There is a wonderful sense of motion and proportion. Bryan Valenza, the colorist, has done a marvelous job. Definitely all hands were on deck when putting this book together, as the story is concise and you know exactly what you need to know about all the characters introduced so far. I get the sense that Captain Pierce is the only (or one of the few) female captains in this man’s navy which is fine if you’re setting up a patriarchal society, but that needs to be made a little more clear. My only major concern is that there are absolutely no people of color anywhere, not even in the background. I think this is a missed opportunity, as the Steampunk community is very inclusive and for a book so well done not to have them is just a shame. I do hope the creators rectify that in future issues.
Published by Mythopoeia, the issue also includes an amazingly detailed map of the Aquilan Empire on the inside back cover. If you like Steampunk or just the beginning of a good adventure story, I’d highly recommend this book.