Sunday 02nd August 2015,
Comic Booked

Review: Madefire’s The Irons Episode 3

David Gillette 02/22/2013 ZDONOTUSE

Madefire’s The Irons, written by Haden Blackman and drawn by Gary Erskine, offers up a dystopian procedural on a fictional planet no one gets off.

The story focuses on a detective named Leto whose goal is to make enough money to teleport off the quarantined planet known as The Irons. She’s just one big score away from being able to find a new life when an opportunity to catch a serial killer known as the Hijacker comes her way.

Taking advantage of the futuristic and sci-fi elements of the story, Blackman crafts an unusual and interesting serial killer in the Hijacker, a person who hijacks random people while they’re teleporting and then teleports them to a new location in pairs. The process fuses them together and kills them. In the first look at the Hijacker, he appears to fancy himself as an artist in the way that he crafts his grotesque monuments of human flesh into death.The Irons Haden Blackman and Gary Erskine

Leto works with a member of the Governor’s Guard named Saule who happens to have cybernetic and bionic parts that make him a formidable ally in this future world while hunting for the Hijacker. The bounty on the Hijacker is so large that every detective hoping to get off The Irons wants a shot at it.

Blackman does a nice job putting the right kind of plot elements together to help drive this story along. His pacing works like a yo-yo that places action in the right spots in some spectacular rushes, but pulls you back to the heart of the story with the procedural aspects of the detective work.

Episode 3 is where the action really takes off as Leto identifies a perp who has been at many of the crime scenes where the Hijacker’s prey are left for dead, taking off after him in a mad dash of teleporting jumps around the city. Each panel represents a bit of a cliffhanger as the certainty of what’s going to be awaiting Leto at the end of each jump heightens the tension.

The end of the episode places Leto in danger as she teleports into a part of the city where she’s vulnerable to being caught off guard by an unsavory looking pair ready to get the jump on her. This feels like a good set-up for Leto to finally confront the Hijacker in the next episode.The Irons Haden Blackman and Gary Erskine

Artist Gary Erskine really has the hang of Madefire’s motion book tool in the way that he makes certain panels fade in and out. It’s almost as if he’s using a camera to render each panel. He also chews up the scenery, capturing every gritty aspect of the large cityscape in terms of scale and detail. His work is visually stunning.

The character designs are also unique and fit this future world Erskine and Blackman have created. There’s a little dash of Blade Runner in there, but it’s unique with their own personalized stamp on the unique quarantined planet and its denizens. Erskine’s great line work gets a nice lift from Yel Zamor’s fantastic colors that capture the dirty grit of The Irons.

Overall, this has been a surprise of a story in a pleasant way. Futuristic sci-fi generally suffers from cliché and predictability. In the case of The Irons, Blackman and Erskine are smart and fresh in their approach.

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About The Author

Unofficially a I'm a musicologist, journalist, and comic book/prose writer. Officially, a teacher and father of three. I also have a big nose. When I'm not teaching or writing for Comic Booked, I'm writing my new series The Ghost Notes. +David Gillette

  1. jeffhillwriter 02/27/2013 at 1:23 am

    Looks and sounds pretty original, which is really tough nowadays for this particular genre.

  2. davidgillette 02/27/2013 at 11:30 pm

    It's a great read. I chose an iPhone just so i could read the titles. I'm glad they're free.

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