Review: A Dreary Dieselpunk Landscape Awaits In ‘Broken Gargoyles #1’

by James Ferguson

In an alternate world where the Great World was fought with Dieselpunk technology, society has seen better days. The perils of war still leave untold trauma and people handle that in many different ways. Broken Gargoyles introduces us two two men affected by war. One is fighting for justice by any means necessary while the other may undermine everything he’s done.

The world of Broken Gargoyles is fascinating. Writer Bob Salley slowly pulls us deeper and deeper into this universe, revealing the troubles and trepidation society faces here. There’s a dystopian quality to it, despite the nature of the big bustling cities. They may have some technology, but it’s battered and beaten. It’s not a bright, shining future. It’s something far more dismal.

Artist Stan Yak paints an amazing picture in Broken Gargoyles. This world feels lived in and worn. The dieselpunk aspect really stands out with some intricate weaponry that looks just a bit futuristic, but based on what the future might have looked like 70 years ago. It’s kind of like how Star Wars is sci-fi, but it’s held together by duct tape and chewing gum, not sparkling starships.

This is matched by Robert Nugent’s colors, casting a dreary palette across every page. This is not a future like you’d see in Star Trek. This is covered in dirt and eroded by wind and sand, like trying to build something in the desert. The light may shine here, but it’s more of a piercing glow that’ll burn you up instead of providing hope.

While we get a rough idea as to how this world works, there’s still quite a lot to learn about the characters and their motivations. This makes their story hard to invest in right off the bat. One of the guys is masked throughout the whole issue and on the surface, he’s little more than a tyrannical vigilante, carving his way through his enemies out of some misguided notion of what’s right. The other comes off as a scavenger, looking to get by.

The masked man is most interesting, made even more so by Justin Birch’s letters. His word balloons resemble cogs and convey a robotic sound to his voice. It adds to the mystery of the character and what he is capable of.

Broken Gargoyles is just beginning, laying the groundwork for an epic confrontation in this foreboding atmosphere. There’s not a lot to grab onto just yet, but there is a good amount of potential in this series. It’s clear it’s just getting started.

6/10

Broken Gargoyles #1 from Source Point Press is currently available at your local comic shop.

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