Engineward #3 Review: Does It Deliver On Its Potential?

Engineward #3
5/10
Engineward #3 from Vault Comics continues to show the series' great potential, but does the story follow through on it?

Engineward has, in its first issues, been great to look at thanks to artist Joe Eisma and colorist Michael Garland, but the story by George Mann feels all potential and no follow-through due to mythology-heavy, exposition-overloaded, character-lite writing. Will this third issue finally deliver on Engineward's potential?

Engineward #3. Credit: Vault Comics
Engineward #3. Credit: Vault Comics

Here's the good in Engineward #3:

  • The story finally gets moving in this issue, with Joss leading an expedition to uncover details about the ghoulem's head that they uncovered. This leads to some beautiful scenery drawn by Eisma, which has been the core attraction of this series since the start.
  • There is a genuinely interesting moment of character development with Kreek, the robot, who is found building sculptures of his friends at a time when he's afraid they won't make it through the trip alive. This kind of character moment is what makes a series like this work. If the others can have bits like this to make the reader invest in them, even a little, Engineward may end up being worth a read after all.
  • Letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou continues to crush it with a dynamic, interesting, unique visual color-coded language for his text. It adds dimension to the dialogue without feeling too forceful or tricky.

And the not-so-good:

  • While the story does finally begin progressing this issue, everything that happens here could have and should have happened in the first issue. There's too much time spent on too-long or even entirely pointless scenes that add nothing to the characters and the narrative. A heavy editorial hand could have potentially whipped this story into shape, but as is, Engineward ends up feeling like a first-draft that could have been whittled into something more powerful in the outline phase.
  • Too much time is spent on the Celestials, considering how little actually happens with them. One concise, impactful scene this issue could have done the trick, but instead, it feels as if they're there to break up the scenes of Joss's expedition.

Engineward continues to have potential, and we're starting to see some of that potential realized. Hopefully, each issue will continue to get better as the characters come more into focus.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.