Book of the Month

Rust, Vol. 1: Visitor in the Field

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.8
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.0%
Users who pulled this comic:
by Royden Lepp

Size: 192 pages
Price: 24.95

I had no idea what Rust was when I picked it up. I knew that it had a hell of a cover, and the it looked more like a prose book than a comic book. This is what Archaia is known for these days. They do books that look like books with good comics inside; comics that are far afield from much of what you find on the racks of your local comic stores. It’s not that they’re too good for regular comics at Archaia, far from it. Editor-in-Chief of Archaia, Stephen Christy has worked at both Marvel and DC Comics, and he’s been around to usher Archaia into their current incarnation, putting high end, but mainstream comic book entertainment into the hands of folks who buy books.

That’s what Rust is. The package says it’s something perhaps a bit more upmarket, a bit more haughty than your average comic book issue, but inside, that’s straight up science fiction action and adventure, produced by the mind of Royden Lepp, who is one heck of a storyteller. It’s the first part of a story explaining a world where a great war as taken place, a war fought largely by robots (Similar to Urasawa’s Pluto, yes, but not the same). The story starts on a farm, struggling, as farms do, to get by. Roman is a young guy in charge of this farm, trying to deal with a world that’s a little tougher than it used to be. He’s trying to rebuild one of the old war robots to help out with the farm work, but it’s slow going. Roman also has a guest, an apparent boy named Jet, who showed up one day fighting another very large robot. He’s stuck around to help out while he mends from some injuries, but he’s also very against the idea of resurrecting any of the war machines for manual labor. Too much could go wrong.

As with any good story, there’s clearly more to this mysterious stranger than is obvious, and we slowly do learn more. We also learn more about just what happened in this great war. It’s quite obvious that there’s a lot more to learn about this world in general. It sort of takes place here but not quite; sort of in an earlier time in the 20th century, but also, not quite. It feels like our world, but, because of the robot war, and technology we never quite achieved, that’s not what it is. It’s a rich world, and as such, this is only the first volume of what will no doubt be a longer tale, more fleshed out, and expansive. As a first chapter, it shines, taking on a pace that’s both languid and deliberate. Like the endless farmlands and fields depicted in the story, there’s a lot of space and air in this book, and the tone conveys a sense of foreboding and very quiet suspense. Something’s going to happen. Something has to happen.

That’s most of the book, but by contrast the action scenes are quick and fluid, exercises in storytelling, not unlike well done storyboards for a great animated action adventure that never seems to find an audience in theaters, like The Iron Giant. Author Royden Lepp is an animator himself, and it shows in his strong designs and exciting sequences. Watching the small, rocket powered Jet take on the combustion and spring powered robot behemoth is a delight, especially when juxtaposed against the quiet, colorless fields of this endless farm field.

The artwork wastes no lines, depicting everything you need to know about the humans in wonderful cartooning, while also doing a great job at showing these adversarial machines. The robot bad guys are wonderful, and almost creak with life, all springs and rusty joints. They’re menacing and lifeless, like antique Terminators with more style. The pages bring this world to life, in an American heartland, where noisy automatons did battle, and still pose a threat. You can smell the oil, dust, and of course, the rust.

You’re going to have to hold on if you want to run out and grab the book right now. It’s set for release in December, unless you happened to pick one up at a recent comic book convention. Yet if Rust, Vol. 1: Visitor in the Field sounds like it’s your cup of middle-American, not quite post-apocalyptic tea, then get your pre-orders in, or add it to your holiday shopping list. In the meantime, you can read the preview below, and thank your lucky stars that our own first World War wasn’t fought like this, because things would be one hell of a mess now if we had.

Josh Flanagan
I wouldn’t trust that old tractor if I were you.


  1. I was just thinking about picking this up after watching the second part of the NYCC coverage 🙂

  2. So, a December released book for the November ‘Book of the Month’?

    Really liking the ‘look’ of this work. Can’t wait to check it out!

  3. I bought this at the Archaia booth at NYCC because I thought it looked interesting and could not stop reading it. This is one of the best books I have ever read and I can’t wait for the second!

  4. According to Amazon this book is out in the UK this Tuesday. It’s also available from the Book Depository the same day for £11.69 with free worldwide delivery. So for some of us it is a November book.

    I’ve read other reviews and seen previews of this book and it looks like a real beauty. It’ll be interesting to see what the movie adaptation will turn out like too.

  5. iFanboy should do a video podcast on Archaia, like you did with Top Cow.

  6. Preordered! Wanted it after the last video show and this sealed it.

  7. Josh, really like the review. Not sure if it is intentional, an accident or my imagination, but your writing seemed to affect the laid back tone you were describing.

    Archaia is putting out some very compelling books and I’ve built a pretty long list of their stuff I want to pick up. Based on the interview from NYCC and the pages shown here and elsewhere Rust is getting added to that list. This kind of storytelling-first approach to cartooning is like a palate cleanser for me after the weekly routine of hyper-rendered superhero splash pages.

  8. Awesome world/premise, impeccable execution.

  9. So good!