A Man Steeped In Multiple Possibilities
Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows takes a look at Bryan Talbot’s The Legend Of Luther Arkwright, out now from Jonathan Cape…
The Legend of Luther Arkwright
Writer/ Artist: Bryan Talbot
2022 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Bryan Talbot’s Luther Arkwright. Created as part of the UK’s nascent indie comics scene, Arkwright, a Moorcock-like sci-fi epic has gone from strength to strength from the primitive Adventures Of Luther Arkwright to its second series two decades later Heart Of Empire, which was published in colour by Dark Horse in 1999.
The Legend Of Luther Arkwright sees Talbot return to black and white in a 235 page hardcover adventure, wrapping up Luther’s story. Introduction by British sci-fi novelist Adrian Tchaichovsky helps to set the context for this third tale, pointing out all of Talbot’s unique facets as a comics creator. His work has always been dense, very cerebral and rich, very much a product of his era.
Arkwright has always been one of British comics’ most complex and intriguing figures, a man out of time who could have used his powers for ill but thanks to his scruples he is always on the right side of history.
The rest of the dramatis personae here also lend depth and breadth from Arkwright’s slightly crotchety eccentric lieutenant Harry Fairfax to genderless villain of the piece Proteus who is first introduced as a misguided figure but it soon becomes clear that its intentions are anything but benevolent.
Talbot also introduces us to a number of alternate Englands – some feel outlandish while others are scarily credible.
Bryan Talbot has always been one of the most cerebral and thoughtful comic creators of the modern comics era and The Legend Of Luther Arkwright looks at questions like the danger of allowing a demagogue to control us, the problem with giving those who govern us too much control over our daily lives and much more.
Visually Talbot has of course lost none of his flair over the decades with this third Arkwright tapping into his impressive artistic palette to tell this ambitious tale.
Luther Arkwright began as a series that owed a great deal to the work of Michael Moorcock but over the years, Talbot has crafted a piece of work that continues to transcend its influences. You can still see Moorcock in there but Arkwright also brings cinema very much to bear here with Talbot’s versatility as a comics creator very much at the fore throughout. He is as much at ease with a talking heads scene as he is with a full-blown action setpiece.
Luther Arkwright was always a slightly unlikely hero and Talbot uses him here as ever with subtlety and nuance to tell what appears to be his final tale. There is a cerebral intelligence on display here which marks Arkwright out from other works of comics science fiction.
With many decades in the comics industry, Talbot has displayed his range of abilities and The Legend Of Luther Arwkright is a bold and exciting sci-fi adventure tale with real heart and real brains. There is no one else quite like him in the comics industry.
The Legend of Luther Arkwright is out now from Jonathan Cape
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A Man Steeped In Multiple Possibilities Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows takes a look at Bryan Talbot’s The Legend Of Luther Arkwright, out now from Jonathan Cape… The Legend of Luther Arkwright Writer/ Artist: Bryan Talbot Jonathan Cape 2022 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Bryan Talbot’s Luther Arkwright. Created as part of the UK’s nascent indie
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