Sebastian O has been kicking around DC Comics' archives since its initial release as a mini-series in 1993, and you have to wonder why it hasn't stayed there. Perhaps with the success of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen it was thought that alternate reality Victorian high-adventure must be all the rage. But Sebastian O isn't going to rekindle the sparks from Moore's fire because it simply isn't as good.
The Sebastian of the title is a wires-crossed mix of Oscar Wilde and James Bond: immaculately dressed and coiffured; never without a bon mot; and more camp than a boy scout jamboree.
Although there's some impressive sounding background to Sebastian O's world, in which Leonardo Da Vinci invents the steam engine and Newton beats Babbage to a working computer by several hundred years, it's mostly ignored in the story itself. What we're left with is an opening that finds Sebastian locked up in Bedlam with nothing more than an escape plan, followed by his desire for revenge on those that put him there.
It has the feel of an ongoing series, with far too little of the characters fleshed out to provide any real depth. Having said that, there's little in them that inspires any particular desire to find out more about them, so the lack of any further development is, in our opinion, a good thing.
Yeowell's artwork is functional but lacks the background development and detail that this title initially promises. Add in last decade's limited-palette colouring techniques and you can't help but think it might have been better left in black and white.
Although enthusiasts of Morrison and Yeowell's work may find something worth reading in here, it probably isn't anything more than passing interest. And outsiders should simply steer well clear.
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