“Noah Zark” Writer Mark Waid, Artist Lanna Souvanny, and Letterer Rob Steen
“True Identity” Writer Tom Peyer, Artist Alan Robinson, Colorist Lee Loughridge, and Letterer Rob Steen
“Bright Boy” Writer Stuart Moore, Artist Peter Gross, Colorist Giulia Brusco, and Letterer Rob Steen
Cover art by Elsa Charretier
Thanks to AHOY Comics for providing a copy of Steel Cage #1 for review!
Synopsis: Three dazzling short “pilot” stories from AHOY’s finest – and YOU get to vote on which series continues!
In “Noah Zark” by Mark Waid and Lanna Souvanny, an alien boy is kidnapped into an interplanetary zoo-and becomes the protector of the animals.
In “True Identity” by Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson, we learn what secret anguish drives the most beloved superhero on Earth!
And Stuart Moore and Peter Gross’s “Bright Boy” tells the grim tale of the world’s smartest human and the havoc he leaves in his wake.
Steel Cage is a book unlike many others I have read. The publishers ask you to read 3 graphic novel short stories and decide which one will continue. Each story stands alone, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. They appeal to different types of readers, though they all have an element of Science Fiction. Personal preference will play a huge role in which story readers prefer, as the artistry and writing are all on a fairly even keel.
In Noah Zark a young boy from Earth finds himself caring for a menagerie of interstellar creatures. Basically, think Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them mixed with a bit of Firefly. His mission is to help each creature to the best of his ability. It’s a heartwarming story full of unique fantasy creatures, and interesting alien worlds.
Bright Boy follows a day in the life of the world’s most intelligent man. Just like with magic, great intelligence comes with a price. It quickly becomes clear that the titular character struggles a great deal with his humanity. This is the darkest of the 3 stories, and fans of really heady and deeply thematic stories may place their vote with Bright Boy.
The last of the stories in this issue of Steel Cage is titled True Identity. This is the story that earns my vote, though I also have some doubts about the longevity of this story. I think it did the best job of introducing the central character and providing context for his way of life. It’s possible that the bulk of the thematic reveals already happened in this brief glimpse of the story. I would love to read more and see if that is the case.
If you are a Science Fiction reader, there is something for you to enjoy in this book! It’s so interesting to see 3 different tales battle it out for survival in this format. It’s also a great way to introduce yourself to a big group of new writers and artists. Steel Cage #1 is available on 6/26.