Wednesday, 25 July 2012

So I Read Ignition City

A 250 word (or less) review of the Ignition City collected volume
By Warren Ellis and Gianluca Pagliarani, Avatar Press

In Ignition City, grounded spacegirl Mary Raven travels to Ignition City, the last, isolated spaceport on Earth, to investigate the murder of Rock Raven, her legendary space adventurer father.1 The book is kind of a diesel-punk western mashed up with retro 1930s science fiction: “irons” are rayguns, instead of Indians there are Martian Longboys and Crabs from Venus, and the dusty streets of Ignition City are lined with flop houses built out of derelict spacecraft. It is a very neat aesthetic that artist Gianluca Pagliarani really brings to life; the man was apparently born to draw rusting sci-fi detritus. The script by Warren Ellis is predictably great, and I think one of his best written during my comic reading period.2 While the core plot, the murder mystery revenge tale, is tight and twisty, it’s the thematic heart of the story that really elevates Ignition Story for me.  The book begs the question, at a thematic level, of whatever happened to the old space heroes, humanities fascination with space, and that 1950s optimism concerning the future. Ignition City simultaneously demonstrates why 1930s science fiction is still so resonate to Ellis and how tragic it is that these characters and this sub genre are largely ignored by modern culture.3  Ignition City is good enough to recommend to anyone and, since it is only a single volume, serves as an accessible read for people interested in reading a Warren Ellis comic but unwilling to commit to his longer works.

Word count: 246

1: It’s kind of interesting that “solving the murder of a loved one” is the central plot device in Ignition City as well as Lawless (and many others), yet the two stories are radically different in execution and content. Probably a lesson about good writers or fictional archtypes. Or something.
2: 2005 and upwards.
3: Or at least mainstream pop culture and big two comics. 

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