The first four episodes of The Engine have been building towards episode five with a slow burn of the fuse ready to set off an explosion. Adams and Broxton did well to introduce all of the supporting characters before putting the story to its first true test – freedom.
To this point, the motley assortment of criminals, activists, and political prisoners have had nothing to rally behind with dissent gripping their ranks. Mind that from this point forward, there are some spoilers.
While it’s no surprise that this is the episode where the Engine finally takes a more prominent role in the story, especially considering how episode four ended, it’s nice to see it happen. Unlike each of the other characters introduced by this junction in the story, the Engine has no alliances or friends. It has no words or thoughts, only actions.
Working off a story created by Liam Sharp and Christina McCormack, Adams and Broxton have taken The Engine to great heights as a story by establishing realistic drama and characterizations that make the reader forget a robot is at the center of this story.
Adams and Broxton use this shift in the story’s focus to tell a sparsely worded tale emphasizing imagery and movement. This creates a dramatic tension that sets the momentum for the feel and pace of the story.
Leading the way for the ragged band of survivors of the mine’s collapse, the Engine unites the prisoners in a drive to the surface. Each subsequent frame brings them closer to freedom as they unite behind the Engine to finally break the surface and find daylight.
Broxton’s art and Adams’ tight script make for a sharp characterization of the Engine in this sequence, showing it as a symbol of what it was created for – hope. However, Adams flips the script and shows readers that freedom is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
The push and pull between script and art keeps episode 5 of The Engine lean and tight. Broxton’s pulpy approach to the art captures the dark, gritty layers of the story while Adams delivers the climactic cliffhanger like a death of a thousand paper cuts.
Upon cracking the surface, the survivors find a wasteland awaiting them. Their brief moment of unity and happiness will get tested in the next episode as the mine collapse survivors try to figure out their next step.
Even more fascinating will be the answer provided to the Engine’s transformation from automaton to silent hero. Will there be another evolution in this character bordering on sentience as the survivors figure out what’s next now that they’ve seen the surface in shambles?
Overall, Adams and Broxton deliver another solid story that compels readers to come back for another riveting installment of The Engine. Check out Madefire’s Motion Book section here at deviantART or download the latest episode on your iPad or iPhone with the Madefire app.