S.T.E.A.M Island Under Siege, by Ashley Eric Peschel and Peter Magro, is one of the newest Graphic Novels on the isle. The island of Malta is undergoing two sieges at the moment, the 1942 blasts of WWII, the worst year of the war for the island as well as the rampage of a mysterious creature that is killing people. The generals are worried about the Nazi threats but also about these gruesome killings. Thus they ask the help of a special task force, a very mismatched team formed by a priest, a knight and a cowboy which I personally termed ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’.
Speaking to the author and the artist during the launch of the Graphic Novel, S.T.E.A.M is all about local traits but also about various clichés’. It was the author’s aim to run wild with the latter and take the Mickey out of them. Various characters dot this Graphic Novel and they all have a distinct personality no matter how short their appearance is. One finds short and long dialogues full of banter, comical moments and right down serious business.
The story is fast paced and the author takes his time to flavour the drama with some cool information such as various inventions and gadgets. The plot is engaging from the start and the ending hints at a possible sequel in the future. For those who love action, S.T.E.A.M is definitely a must-read. In the style of Indiana Jones meets WWII war scene with some fantasy magic; there is something for all those who love reading.
The artist, Peter Magro, added his own personal touch both to the characters and the story alike. The rough rugged edges, the black and white artwork and the authentic brushstrokes are evident and raw, giving the Graphic Novel a very retro feel.
S.T.E.A.M Island Under Siege is available in all local bookshops. It has 168 pages in the dimensions of 193x128mm.
Review by Samantha Abela