You’d need to be paying close attention or you might have missed that Dynamite’s new steampunk series Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure is a steampunk genre story about Britt Reid, the classic publishing magnate who takes on the disguise of the Green Hornet, and his tryst with Vampirella, here a social butterfly and owner of the Scarlet Club. The covers and promos don’t shout either Vampirella or the Green Hornet.
Immediately you’re taken to a place unfamiliar–a mixture of times and places. A mysterious woman is being accosted by masked street thugs and she escapes into the steampunk speakeasy, as Reid and Vampirella are engaged in a clever Benedick and Beatrice-esque lover’s quarrel. Vampirella doesn’t look like any prior version of Vampirella–she’s a classic beauty and not a bit vampish. The appropriate geared and copper weapons are drawn by the men on hand, but there is no need. Vampirella doesn’t need a man to defend her or anyone in her own pub as she cuts them to pieces. The police arrive and learn nothing, as Vampirella and Reid begin this detective story, all in the first issue of the monthly series.
Fables creator Bill Willingham serves up an evocative tale complete with a radio personality named Felix Avalon who offers up word-on-the-street celebrity gossip of the 1920s to 1940s variety via listeners’ “wireless”–the old-time radios. You can almost hear that drone of the snappy and crackling narrator voice from the days of classic radio plays. Although Willingham offers up some meaty dialogue and is expert in a classic dialect, it is artist Sergio Fernandez Davila and character costume designer Johnny Desjardins who bear the bulk of delivering all the steampunk vibe, with settings full of geared-up fixtures and equally geared-up costumes and props.
Could this be Steampunk Noir? It’s hard to place this in an era of the 19th century or the 1920s, 1930s or 1940s. There’s a bit of Casablanca to this story, too, with dialogue such as “it wasn’t anyone else’s doorstep you landed on. It was mine.” It’s probably a blend of all of the above eras, a time and place similar to that unplaceable setting of the realm of fairy tales Willingham is so used to writing in. It is definitely fun imagery to see Kato driving the Green Hornet in a horse carriage instead of his famous 1960s roadster.
It’s being planned for this series to encounter other classic licensed characters in Dynamite Comics’ arsenal, including Red Sonja and The Phantom. Issue #3 is coming to comic book stores next month—Will Willingham and Davila give us their take on a steampunk Bionic Man? Look out in Issue #3 for the premier of the Six Thousand Dollar Man.
Grab your copies of Issues #1 and #2 of Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure now, at comic book stores everywhere.