AHOY Comics are back with possibly their finest idea yet. The new publisher that told readers to “expect more” is holding a triple threat cage match with their new anthology one-shot, Steel Cage. Three short “pilots” from all-star comics creators will battle it out, but here’s the AHOY twist. YOU, the reader, will get to decide the victor! Readers will vote for which of these three stories gets its own series at AHOY.
So who’s all competing in this main event matchup?
“True Identity” from writer Tom Peyer and artist Alan Robinson tells the story of a beloved superhero the secret anguish that pushes him to be loved by all.
“Bright Boy” is brought to you by Stuart Moore and Peter Gross. It’s a story about the world’s smartest human and the trauma that accompanies that title.
Finally “Noah Zark” by writer Mark Waid and artist Lanna Souvanny provides a more upbeat tale of an alien boy who, after escaping an interplanetary zoo, becomes a protector to the many animals he meets.
AHOY books are renowned for their grand concepts, and Steel Cage lives up to the hype. By focussing the book entirely on three main stories, the book offers readers three full opening chapters to possible AHOY books. AHOY’s not kidding when they talk of all-star creators. The writing on display here is second to none, and the artwork equally pushes the book far out amongst its contemporaries on the store shelves. A true five star wrestling match.
Individually each story could carry its own series at AHOY, so to an extent it’s bittersweet to conclude the book with the chance that two of these fantastic concepts may not be continued. It feels silly to mention how good the writing of Tom Peyer, Stuart Moore and Mark Waid is AGAIN, but as “pilots” the writing really stands out for each of the three stories. The writers’ abilities to hook readers within 12 pages is commendable and made only more impressive when considering the high concept worlds each story takes place in.
Artwork similarly must be mentioned. The variety that AHOY is synonymous with is demonstrated well with the varying art styles within the book. Each story has a drastically different tone and the attached artists convey this expertly. Lanna Souvanny from “Noah Zark” in particular stands out for her cartoonish and cute artwork. Much of Noah and his animals’ early connection to the reader is a result of Souvanny’s artwork.
Genuinely, there is very little to critique here. If there were to be one “anxiety” about the book it would be that only one story can win the Steel Cage match. Hopefully, whatever happens going forward, all three stories find their home somewhere at AHOY, be it an ongoing series or part of the back ups.
It can’t be stressed enough that this is a book worth picking up. Here at AiPT!, AHOY Comics are regularly lauded as one of the best publishers out there. With this being a one-shot, it’s the perfect jumping-on point for new readers to see what AHOY is about. Each story is distinct and for $3.99 you just won’t get this value elsewhere. If you’re looking for something new, Steel Cage is a fantastic choice you will not regret.