Suspended Animation

Michael Vance - Mark Allen
Michael Vance Books

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Rail 01            It is the future, and the earth is still reeling from a number of past conflagrations known as the "Iron Wars".  The wars were orchestrated by the "Rail Barons", eight powerful individuals who control the primary means of transport in this part of the world (rails, duh!) and have served to totally dishearten the population of Mortal City.

            A leader must be found to rally the people and defeat this evil alliance, and it appears ranger Edgar Wallace is chosen to find that champion, when a mysterious woman rises out of the lake and bequeaths to him a powerful sword.

            Another retelling of the Aurthurian legend?  Yes, and so Rail starts with one strike against it for some readers, as they will perceive it as not being "original", but, simply derivative of what has been done before.  And, while I don't believe borrowing creative concepts automatically dooms a story, there is, unfortunately, nothing terribly original here, save the incredible artwork of creator Dave Dorman. The story reads like a very straightforward, post-apocalyptic tale, though the revelation of Excaliber (it's never called by that name) is a surprise.

rail02            Rail was first solicited two years before it finally saw light of day; I know, because I waited for it on pins and needles, being a fan of Dorman's work.  The problem with this is that it would be understandable for fans to avoid it, for concern that they may begin a story, only to have the end never see print.

            The art of Rail is, of course, top-notch.  Dorman is one of the most accomplished artists in comics today, and it's nice to see him do an entire story for a change, rather than just a cover for a Star Wars comic. The art, however, is the sole reason I recommend this work.

            Rail is mildly recommended, and can be found at your local comic shop, or by logging on to

            Rail is published by Image Comics, with 48 pages at $5.95.

            Review by Mark Allen


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