Graphic Novels work best when the authors highlight the ultimate benefit of that medium: the fusion of text and images into one seamless narrative. Brass Sun succeeds in this, giving infinitely more depth to its fun adventure romp narrative with the beautiful background scenery that ends up saying more than words ever could.
Brass Sun has a very interesting setting, one that takes a while to be established, but when you finally grasp it, it comes across as quite interesting and well-constructed for its purpose. The story begins on Back Hind, a world where a ruthless sun-worshipping theocracy holds sway, whose grip is slowly being removed as a result of general unrest caused by the world getting colder. The protagonist is a young girl named Wren, who is tasked by her grandfather to find the reason for the sun failing and fix it. She escapes the enemy only to join with 17, a young man who is part of a secret cult of monks, who know the truth: there are in fact many worlds, hanging together in a delicate Orrery in space, spinning in a gentle harmony and connected by vast metal tubes that allow for travel between them.
Wren and 17 must collect pieces of a mythical key, one of which is on each world, and this gives the narrative a great framework within which to work for an episodic medium like a graphic novel. Each world the heroes travel too feels wonderfully diverse and distinct, with a myriad of imaginative designs and societies found on them. It gives an organic way for the series to be episodic, while also building towards a larger narrative as the story goes on.
I find that the strength of the artwork is in the larger settings and background elements; the characters are functional, but the closeup work didn’t particularly blow me away. However, the worlds the heroes travel too feel very original and organic, as well as beautiful, and I found it hard on first viewing to think “okay, this was copied from that series.”
The Wheel of Worlds is a collection of the first three major stories in the series, meaning that this first installment gets nowhere near close enough to finishing the story. However, I eagerly await any more material in this series. It’s a good adventure story, and I found myself pulled in.