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The Iron Moon by Stephen Walsh and Keith Page

1/04/2011. Contributed by Gareth D Jones

Buy The Iron Moon in the USA - or Buy The Iron Moon in the UK

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pub: Print Media Productions. 64 page graphic novel extra enlarged hardback. Price: GBP 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-95671-210-3.

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Recently I’ve been enjoying a bit of steampunk and my new discovery, graphic novels. ‘The Iron Moon’ is a steampunk graphic novel, so I was pretty excited about reading it, turning out to be great fun, mixing marvellous Victorian steam-powered inventions with aliens, Brunel-style space stations and cyborgs.

The Napoleonic wars have led to the annexation of France, so that the lead character is British Space Navy officer Lieutenant Charlotte Corday from Marseille. This leads to lots of amusingly French-accented dialogue and chance for the plot to be complicated by anti-French sentiment amongst the other British characters. This is just one example of the way what could be a fairly simple story has been made far more interesting, with plots from within and without the British Empire and several other factions muddying the waters. The basic story follows Lieutenant Corday as she is sent on an undercover mission to discover the fate of the Iron Moon – a huge British space station that has lost contact with the Earth. Beyond that, it gets convoluted.

There are plenty of lovely touches to look out for, both in the story itself and as background details in the artwork: famous characters kept alive in steam-powered life-support chairs, a cross-channel railway bridge and marvellously Nemo-esque British spaceships. The art is bright and cheery, supporting the fun and adventure of the tale. That said, there are some traumatic and touching scenes when the British squaddies encounter an implacable foe and the dramatic voice-over constantly hints at things to come.

I certainly enjoyed this graphic novel and the chance to escape to the Victorian space age.

Gareth D. Jones

Editorial note: We should point out for Shunters that The Iron Moon, isn't an illustrated version of Stephen Hunt's steampunk novel 'The Rise of The Iron Moon' (2009 from HarperCollins), or a tribute to the steam-father himself. Different universe, different heroes, different story, even though Hunt's earlier novel also featured a space station called The Iron Moon.

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