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Adventures of Luther Arkwright (Luther Arkwright #1)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  602 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Across a multitude of parallel universes, dark forces operate in the shadows, manipulating mankind's histories throughout countless timelines. The agents of these Disruptors all work with a single purpose - the recovery and activation of Foxfire, a long-hidden doomsday device whose unspeakable power is capable of consuming the galaxy in all its incarnations. Standing in th ...more
Paperback, 2nd Edition, 216 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Dark Horse Books (first published January 1st 1993)
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Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Best Graphic Novels
461st out of 2,180 books — 5,054 voters
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Comics That Challenge the Reader
46th out of 51 books — 25 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,049)
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Aug 23, 2015 Miriam rated it really liked it
This is what I was in the mood for, except I wanted it to be larger and ideally in color. I don't know if the original series run was in a different format, but I could hardly make out some of details, especially in the ephemera-style writings, and reading the blocks of tiny print gave me a headache. This is a fairly text-heavy graphic novel, too, and the only punctuation the author seems fond of is the colon. The lack of punctuation was for a 70s-style altered state stream of consciousness.

Lionel Valdellon
Jan 21, 2010 Lionel Valdellon rated it liked it
What it is: A universe-spanning action adventure where Arkwright hops from parallel to parallel in order to save the multiverse by inducing revolution and drawing out the dominant alien enemy who is seeking to wipe out all parallels via a power gem.

The Bad: Overly verbose writing. Mostly hollow characterization, especially of the supporting cast. Art that suffers from inconsistency and poor anatomy and perspective. Monologue upon monologue. Lengthy. Although a lot can be forgiven if you take int
David Katzman
Oct 24, 2008 David Katzman rated it really liked it
Mind-bending, freak-ass sci-fi mysticism. Grant Morrison wishes he was this good.*

Both this graphical novel (black & white) and the sequel, Heart of Empire: The Legacy of Luther Arkwright (in color) deserve to be in the collection of anyone who likes literary comics. The Adventures of… (first issued in 1990) was just reprinted by Dark Horse, so this is a great chance to snap up both collections.

Bryan Talbot writes (sophisticated storytelling, complex characters) and illustrates (beautifully)
Jan 17, 2016 Phil rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, sf
While my awareness with British comics is mostly limited to second-hand knowledge of Judge Dredd, I had seen praise for this series and decided to check it out.

The book begins with a foreword by Michael Moorcock, which is extremely appropriate. The story that follows reminded very much of Moorcock's New Wave SF work on the Eternal Champion series and the Jerry Cornelius character in particular. The hero is a (somewhat groovy) super agent who journeys to various parallel Earths in a semi-mystical
Jason Hissong
Mar 21, 2008 Jason Hissong rated it it was amazing
This book is like Lou Reed and the Velvet Undergroung. It's the guy behind the guy.

Talbot's book has influenced the face of modern comics so greatly that it seeps into everything. Morrison, Moore, Ellis, Carey, Ennis. . . . They all come from Talbot. And from Arkwright.

It's worth a read, for sure. And it's worth and oversized hardcover treatment as well.
Oct 31, 2011 zxvasdf rated it it was amazing
There's the inevitable parallel to Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius, who was the first in a chain of a whole new skew of fiction for me, in mindblowing read after mindblowing read. I don't think I would have appreciated this book had I read it five years ago. More familiar with Talbot's more contemporary, historical work, I was astounded at the level of his skill. I'd say this is a perfect visual reference for any reader of Moorcock's Cornelius... you get an idea of how he moves through the multiverse ...more
This graphic novel has been sitting on my shelf for years. I picked it up a few times, meaning to start it, but flipped through it a bit and put it back. Finally, I decided to take the plunge. Wow. I'm glad I looked up the book online to get an idea of the plot, as I wouldn't have got much from reading it. Confusing doesn't begin to cover it. And the god. There were pages that probably took me 10 or 15 minutes to read. A single page! Talbot is a good artist (I've enjoyed his work in o ...more
Nov 29, 2010 Nickolas rated it really liked it
This book was an undertaking as far as graphic novels go being that it covers English History, Metaphysics, biblical subjects(I mean Luther is basically Jesus) and Hard Science Fiction. I had been reading Marvel Exiles Vol 1 to 10 and finished Stephen Kings The Dark Tower series so I had my head pretty well wrapped around the whole “Multiverse” idea but apart from Elvis Costello’s ‘Oliver’s Army’ and Morrissey’s ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ I was not that familiar with the Cromwell or a whole lo ...more
Sep 23, 2012 D.M. rated it did not like it
I don't know that I've ever given a book ONE star before, so this one is really a landmark. The strange thing is that I've had this since it came out, read it a few times and even have the sequel, Heart of Empire. Whether I keep this volume will depend entirely on how much I like Heart... this time through.
Talbot's always been an artist I admire, but he does tend to be a little out of his depth with his writing. This older book (done, it seems, in the late 80s, though it reads like the mid-70s)
Nicholas Whyte
Sep 01, 2013 Nicholas Whyte rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, comics, xw, 2013, 1308[return][return]It's weird to think that this is over thirty years old, though not published in book form until some time later. It's also a bit embarrassing that I hadn't read it before, given its seminal importance to the comics genre in the UK. I liked a lot of things about it very much: the interplay between Royalist rebels and Cromwellian puritans, the latter still ruling Britain in the 1970s; the role of Arkwright, agent of order, but not necessari ...more
Artur Coelho
Sep 14, 2011 Artur Coelho rated it really liked it
Como qualificar esta obra? Pegando no conceito de realidades paralelas, Talbot mergulha numa aventura cósmico-psicadélica com um certo gosto acídico aos anos 70. O cenário é o de uma vasta guerra interdimensional entre duas facções que se movem ao longo da história dos mundos paralelos, mas a principal acção desenrola-se numa realidade onde a Inglaterra está subjugada a um regime puritano fascista, mergulhada numa guerra civil entre o governo e rebeldes leais à coroa com um apoio geostratégico d ...more
Ahimaaz R
May 31, 2011 Ahimaaz R rated it it was amazing
A work of ambition and grandeur and in comic book pantheon it is no less than pioneering. There is inconsistent art and it gets consistent as the narrative progresses. Twelve years in the making means that and the pages show how meticulous the art is than the lack thereof. I am thinking the point where the book grabbed me was at the last third exactly where Arkwright ascends to descend, now I am turning back pages and saying No, not there. The ascension is where the unconventional climax begins ...more
Nov 01, 2015 Bodicainking rated it it was amazing
It is hard to describe this beautifully illustrated trans-dimensional opus of world-building and synergy between sex magic, parallel dimensions and political duplicity. It is worth reading, twice or three times, to absorb everything it has to offer.
Brion Salazar
Apr 23, 2009 Brion Salazar rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brion by: Tom Katers
While a bit hard going in the beginning, once I was able to set aside any concept of trying to "get it", and allowed myself to be swept up by the plot, I was amazed. Talbot is not only a complex and cerebral writer but an absolutely fantastic artist. There were pages and panels that I can hardly believe he was able to accomplish without the use of a computer. But even beyond the awesome array of effects and transitions, the storytelling and emotive ability of the work was astounding. Luther Arkw ...more
Nov 30, 2009 Juju rated it really liked it
I never knew Bryan Talbot was this nuts. Was it the ten years it took him to finish this? Strangely enough, the story becomes more comprehensible towards the conclusion as all the multiverse stuff recedes into the background, and the narrative becomes more about Arkwright's rebirth and transformation. There are hints here of what both Alan Moore and Grant Morrison would later do with much better effect, but considering this was done ten or twenty years earlier, it's still impressive. And Bryan T ...more
May 15, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it
Upon completion it is easy to see why many consider Bryan Talbot's Luther Arkwright story as a classic of the genre. While I think his tale of One Bad Rat is superior, there is much to recommend here. There is Talbot's highly detailed artwork, and an interesting story that crosses the multiverse. What does not work for me is the Roger Zelazny influence in the writing, the surreal aspects of some sections of the tale (surrealism just does not work for me most of the time). The Michael Moorcock in ...more
Aug 17, 2009 Stokespower rated it liked it
couldn't follow this at all for the first half of the book - its pretty out there and doesn't rush to explain itself. much more enjoyable once you know whats going on.
of course parrallel, multiverse jumping has been done before but this is pretty charming (in the way anything set in england can be charming).
ultimately bryan talbot gets to draw other people's stories but doesn't ever write and outsource the art - my point is that he's outstanding artist but just a decent writer.
The sixties new wave lingers strongly over this comics masterpiece. Moorcock’s Nomad of the Time Streams, Cornelius Quartet, Keith Robert’s Pavane, Burrough’s cut-ups, and stream of consciousness combine in a dense, mythic, non-linear narrative with beautiful black and white illustrations. Hugely influential but more than worthwhile on its own. Moorcock always does something interesting with intros and here he provides an essay on post-empire/war Britain.

James Debruicker
Jan 17, 2011 James Debruicker rated it it was amazing
This book looms so fucking large over British comics. Talbot takes the Multiverse concept of Moorcock and runs with it. You can see bits of Moore (particularly From Hell and V for Vendetta), Ellis, TONS of Morrison, etc in this work. And you can listen to the audio drama from Big Finish starring David Tennant!

It's a very verbose comic, though. Expect to spend a lot of time reading a lot of VERY TINY text.
Leah Wener-Fligner
Jul 07, 2014 Leah Wener-Fligner rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Conflicted about this. Beautiful, mind-blowingly amazing art and design (as I have come to expect from Bryan Talbot)...a story that might have been fresher in 1994...a hero I didn't feel particularly drawn to...epiphany sex...but epiphany that alluded to, among other things, my favorite song in "Guys And Dolls."

So, worth a read? Yes. Worth a trip to the library? Not on its own.
Shawn MacKenzie
Jun 12, 2012 Shawn MacKenzie rated it really liked it
Bryan Talbot takes the graphic novel form to a whole new level. The story is time-twistingly brilliant combining myth, history, politics, philosophy, and just enough sex to keep the prurient engaged. The graphis themselves are stunningly intricate.
If I had one complaint, it is that these old eyes felt strained by the small print. I should have dug out my magnifying glass.
Gary Varga
Dec 30, 2012 Gary Varga rated it it was amazing
An awesome tale that in some ways remains simple whilst also being audacious. It is a truly extravagant tale that requires the reader to experience the journey of Arkwright.

It forms part of the body of work from the mid 1980s that redefined what readers could expect from comics.

Thoroughly recommended.

(Originally read as comics.)
There are no words to describe this book. At all. I don't even like graphic novels, but I'm on the hunt to buy this one. Seriously. @_@ My knowledge of history and the layout of London really helped me with this book.

I have the audio book, but I'd love the graphic novel!
Mar 15, 2010 Max rated it liked it
parallel universes, intrigue, rebellions, manipulations - all good things. Luther's personal evolution was graphically and literally done well, but I'm not so into metaphysics and spirituality. More a personal thing than a criticism on the novel.
Jan 12, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
I read Morrison's "The Invisibles" before this, only to realize how much had been "borrowed." Meticulous illustrations coupled with surprising depth and an ambitious narrative structure - way ahead of its time.
John Silverman
Jul 31, 2013 John Silverman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wacky masterpiece dealing with alternate histories and alternate worlds... Talbot at his best and most straight forward. Excellently dark tale of conflict and loss and an unavoidable destiny...
Mar 07, 2009 James rated it it was amazing
Reread in a new copy, because someone borrowed this and didn't give it back. Grrr. If you liked The Invisibles or Michael Moorcock, you owe it to yourself to read this. Totally bonkers insane.
Mar 21, 2009 K T rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics
At first this seemed great, then I got bored, then I couldn't even finish it. Also, at times way too much text for a comic, and inconsistent art.
Steve Haynes
Jul 03, 2012 Steve Haynes rated it it was amazing
The ultimate graphic novel - just wonderful - Talbot captures the spirit of Moorcock, but blows the mind with wondrous "steampunk" images.
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Talbot began his comics work in the underground comix scene of the late 1960s. In 1969 his first work appeared as illustrations in Mallorn, the British Tolkien Society magazine, followed in 1972 by a weekly strip in his college newspaper.

He continued in the scene after leaving college, producing Brainstorm Comix, the first three of which formed The Chester P. Hackenbush Trilogy (a character rework
More about Bryan Talbot...

Other Books in the Series

Luther Arkwright (2 books)
  • Heart of Empire, or The Legacy of Luther Arkwright  (Luther Arkwright, #2)

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