The BOSS has arrived. More specifically, the British Occult Secret Service has arrived. In this supernatural – buddy cop – steampunk detective tale a very unlikely duo protects Britain from all sorts of monsters. Of course, the dynamic duo of this story aren’t exactly your run of the mill heroes. A steam powered robot with a human soul drive and a demonically possessed mouse combat dangerous spirits that look to rip everything about our world to shreds.
This book is a delightful look into a very complex time in history (though a completely fictional tale). Victorian England saw rapid industrial growth and experimentation while its people still held very strong spiritual and supernatural beliefs. The time frame allows for a natural suspension of reality that brings our detectives that much more to life. This was an excellent way to add an extra layer of life to the two main characters. The oft sarcastic demonic mouse is allowed to explore a dynamic within himself and outwardly with CAL (the cut little steampunk robot that is the helm of the story). CAL himself is an exploration of person as well as the experimentation of the industrial revolution that was happening during Victorian England. The long standing rivalry of scientific factination (yup, made that word up) vs spirituality gets a brilliant exposition by NOT being the focus of the tale.
The heart of the book is the dynamism that exists between our little robot friend and mouse. Through their back and forth a Holmes-esque-capade unravels while the sordid underbelly of society is laid bare through a string of horrific murders. It isn’t just CAL and Sigma (our demonic mouse) though as Hattie (CAL’s creator), Silas (the head of BOSS), and Schuck (our ghostly pup) all of plenty of story to themselves. As much of a tale of CAL and Sigma that Cognition is, there’s plenty set out for much more in depth storytelling for these other characters. This is the beauty of the world that has been laid out in COGNITION. We’re given an excellent detective story with dark tones but also an expansive world that leaves plenty to be explored.
The excellence of COGNITION sits in the step by step approach that allows the larger picture to come into its own. Each issue of the book serves of itself but also builds framework of a larger narrative. While there are passes given to our two heroes themselves (the steampunk tin man detective and his demon mouse are a given in the world all of this takes place) the concept and integration of the entirety of the premise is woven together in such a way that it allows the characters and the story to develop on their own. I guess you could say it is over itself but I don’t want to make it sound pretentious because it is anything but. Rather, it grabs hold of the fantastical elements it contains and uses them to enhance the underlying genius of the storytelling.
The book looks phenomenal as well. It’s black and white and the lack of color gives it a charm all its own. The talent is beyond evident and honestly I feel the black and white interiors allow for the artwork to do more story telling given the approach of our heroes. Occult and detective stories provide their own shades of grey and the stylistic choices go hand in hand in creating a whole package.
ONE WEEK LEFT ON THE CAMPAIGN! Funding closes August 11th 2019 9:30 AM EDT