The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (Valkyrie)

 AOLV   (Valkyrie, 1987-1989)

™ and ©1987 Bryan Talbot

(From The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide)

In one version of reality, the (English) Civil War is still being fought in the 1980s. The agency that keeps track of myriad different probable realities has dispatched a psychically gifted agent to assassinate the parliamentary leader, a hypocrite descending into madness, and thus bringing time back into line with the future, putting a stop to cataclysmic events in other realities. That agent is Luther Arkwright, dashing adventurer, sensual lover, deadly assassin.

Based around the universes suggested in Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius tetralogy, Bryan Talbot has woven a complex religious and political story that takes us from the painful awakening of Arkwright’s mental powers in another dimension through to his god-like transcendence at the end of the tale. The art is packed with imagery, shot through with British mythology and informed by a comprehensive knowledge of world religion. That it is also drawn in Talbot’s detailed, elaborately structured style is a bonus. Early issues show too much dependence on design tricks, leading to a stiffness in the action, but later ones put Talbot’s theatrical sense of page layout to good effect, using checkerboards of panels to flicker between two simultaneous scenes, or slowing down the moment of assassination to half a dozen pages, each panel only fractionally different from the rest. Some readers may find it all a bit too much to assimilate, with information packed into every drawing and innumerable “reports” on other realities threading like tickertape between the panels. It’s a work that repays repeated reading—a love story, an allegory, a philosophical treatise—make of it what you will.

The story runs in #1-9, with Valkyrie’s issue #10 (ARKeology) being a series of essays, sketches and notes. Dark Horse republished the comic on much better quality paper than the Valkyrie, but the quality of printing is poor. Go for either the limited premium hardback or graphic novel reprints. ~FJ

Jump to issue:
  NotesWriterArtist

#1

  10/1/1987
  $2.00
  $42.00
2 copies available from $14.99
B&WBryan TalbotBryan Talbot

#2

  12/1/1987
  $2.00
  $10.00
1 copy available for $9.99
 Bryan TalbotBryan Talbot

#3

  2/1/1988
  $2.00
  $10.50
1 copy available for $9.99
 Bryan TalbotBryan Talbot

#4

  4/1/1988
  $2.00
  $12.00
2 copies available from $4.00
 Bryan TalbotBryan Talbot

#5

  6/1/1988
  $2.00
  $4.50
1 copy available for $4.50
 Bryan TalbotBryan Talbot

#6

  8/1/1988
  $2.00
  $1.75
No copies available
 Bryan TalbotBryan Talbot

#7

  10/1/1988
  $2.00
  $10.00
1 copy available for $9.99
B&WBryan TalbotBryan Talbot

#8

  12/1/1988
  $2.00
  $1.50
No copies available
 Bryan TalbotBryan Talbot

#9

  2/1/1989
  $2.00
  $8.00
No copies available
 Bryan TalbotBryan Talbot

#10

  4/1/1989
  $2.00
  $2.50
No copies available
EssaysBryan TalbotBryan Talbot

Book #2

  12/1/1987
  $9.95
  $10.00
No copies available
 Bryan TalbotBryan Talbot