Warren Ellis must have been crazy if he thought that a short story about 19th century coppers in a steam-punk London would have been serious competition against the iconic sales records of the decades old Captain America and Batman. Honestly though, if Ellis’ own celebrity didn’t make the books fly off the shelf, the concept should have. And the execution of said concept is well….
Raulo Caceres’s art in Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island is more than comparable to anything The Big 2 produces and he could pick up art duties on their titles tomorrow. Caceres captures a steam-punk London incredibly well with mundane details that set this title in reality and super-future/past technology that makes the book soar beyond reality on a giant wooden row-boat floating on electricity. Caceres doesn’t collide past with alt-tech, he mexes them like fine blended whiskey.
Even in the name of the book, Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island has Ellis’ early morning whiskey breath all over it. It’s crazy and wonderful and imaginative. He uses his successes in writing to take chances that many others can’t or won’t. Ellis is inspiring with his single pages of text that happen every so often, letting the reader gape into the protagonist’s mind. Even with his unnecessarily too-well-endowed female lead, Ellis writes characters that are special and driven.
In the end, Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island makes for a welcome and much cooler alternative to the majority of what appears on comic book shelves these days.