The Legend Of Luther Arkwright

By Bryan Talbot
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
ISBN: 9781787332324

We’re lucky to have Bryan Talbot, and luckier still that he’s produced another Luther Arkwright tale. Unashamedly British in its presentation, Luther Arkwright was exploring the multiverse decades before the current vogue. And it’s the multiverse that is an intrinsic part of this new tale too.

Luther is a Homo novus, a new step in human evolution that grants him certain abilities such as the ability to heal and jump across parallel worlds. But beings like Luther have been around for some time, and now an even more advanced human has emerged. This new individual poses a threat to all.

Unwilling to be recruited, Luther is almost killed in the confrontation. It’s left to his old friend Harry Fairfax to nurse him back to health on a distant version of England. Only then can Luther formulate a way to stop the coming multi-world genocide.

The book’s presented as a gorgeously oversized hardback, meaning the black and white pages are given every opportunity to show off their fine detail. And that is one of the absolute joys of Talbot’s work. Having perfected his craft in mono publications such as 2000AD, he knows how to make the most of hatching and contrast to create striking imagery.

I admit I was worried about picking up the threads of a story I’d personally last read almost two decades ago, but it wasn’t a concern. Talbot’s storytelling has it covered, with both gentle reminders within the emerging tale itself, and an interview with the son of two of the characters scattered throughout that neatly summarises everything without ever feeling forced.

It comes together as a pleasing mix of nostalgia, new ideas, and absorbing artwork to become a highly enjoyable read indeed. As I said at the beginning: Bryan Talbot – we’re lucky to have him.

 And if you liked that: Don’t forget to delve into Talbot’s Grandville series.

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