Steve Nedvidek and Ed Crowell. The Jekyll Island Chronicles, Book One: A Machine Age War. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf Productions, May 31st, 2016. 176 pp.
This was a fun graphic novel. I was looking for something like this for some time now and I’m glad I found it! This is a historical fiction that has a bit of steampunk feel though it is centered in the 1910s-1920s than British Victorian Era. The story line exceeded my expectations. This work tells us a story of the post-World War One period in which US president Woodrow Wilson was trying to sell the League of the Nations both abroad and at home. However this is not about the League of the Nations but an alternative history of how a secret conspiracy group is going about perpetuating terrorism and a president who is worried about the future. Eventually at a place called Jekyll Island in the state of Georgia a gathering of the leading men of the time would be united to fight this threat by raising a team of superheroes.
As someone who loves history I love the historical characters and the incredible historical details in the story. You see industrialists Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, and Carnegie and inventors like Henry Ford and Nikola Tesla. I love the historical details that the book tries to follow. For instance, we see the story fitting with actual history of Woodrow Wilson severe stroke and his wife’s involvement in the presidency afterwards. This is a little known historical fact during that time and I was amazed at how the authors knew about this. It is obvious that they did their homework. I think the only thing that I thought was historically problematic was the fact that Henry Ford was one who really didn’t like new innovation after his Motor T but in the comic book he is presented as a continuous inventor. Still, I’m seriously impressed with the story and also how it captures the fear of anarchists at that time. I love the character developments in this story in which you are drawn to the cast of heroes being assembled. They break the bold of superheroes with cape; rather they consist of a woman with special powers but is new to controlling it, and a giant of a man that’s an immigrant to the United States and is very smart and compassionate.
Again this book was very fun to read. It is similar to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen but in my opinion it is better. The Jekyll Island Chronicles is clean and I couldn’t read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen because of its content. In addition I love the drawings and the colors in the book. I felt you really get the feel of the post-World War One era with the clothing, uniforms, gas masks, etc., of course there were some advance technology that one expect from Steam Punk genres. However, over all they were believable as far as the story is concerned. Not only do I recommend it, I hope there would be a part two to the story.
NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.