‘Cognition’ Blends Horror and Steampunk in a Wonderfully Dark Mystery

Just days away from the first arc coming to a conclusion, the rich and mysterious plot of Cognition has been brewing for years. The combination of Ken Reynolds’s narrative and Sam Bentley’s art has kept avid readers gripped as the story has developed. Now, as the third and fourth issues are due for release following the close of the latest Kickstarter campaign, the intense supernatural puzzle finally reaches a conclusion.

The series tells the story of Cal, a steam-powered automaton working for the British Occult Secret Service (BOSS). With the assistance of a mouse inhabited by the spirit of a demon, Cal investigates the supernatural, finding the places where the spiritual and the real worlds merge.

His work takes him into the lives of those who have been ravaged by the influence of malignant spirits, where tragic murders have unfolded at the hands of some of the underworld’s darkest terrors.

The steampunk aesthetic works very week within the plot. It merges the quirky technological fantasies with the superstition that is woven into Britain’s history. Exhausted steam entwines with will-o’-wisps and demon magic in a way that brings the two genres together near seamlessly.

It also gives the protagonist a very interesting perspective to follow. Both Cal and his rodent companion have a unique approach to human matters, with a connection to the underworld that frames the mystery in a way that no mortal attitude could. It makes it really interesting to follow along and to learn about the story world in a charming and unusual way.

The psychic connection between the two protagonists offers great way of seeing into their thought process and following along with their decisions. It’s also wonderfully funny, giving a glimpse into their dark personalities, warped by the demonic presence within but tempered by their immersion in the mortal world.

The monochromatic art style adds to this effect of the mingling of two realms. It’s easy to notice the blur between worlds, but still a stark shock when black-bodied demons burst onto the page.

The plot strikes a fine balance between the investigation and action. Conflict with otherworldly spirits are fierce and intense, and fit smoothly into the narrative as a consequence of Cal’s probing. The action scenes are excellently paced and are drawn with a real sense of movement that absorbs you into the midst of it.

The third issue of Cognition brings the story so far to a thrilling crescendo, as the threads of the mystery begin to come together. The combination of Cal’s investigation and ancient legends combine to tease a resolution that will see a clash between the realms of man and monster.

There is still time to back the Kickstarter campaign to get your hands on the whole series, as well as some exclusive backer exclusive merchandise. Having not only smashed the initial target, but also reached a number of stretch goal, anyone backing the campaign now has the choice of even more exciting stuff, including additional stories and both print and digital extras.

You can back the Kickstarter campaign here. You can also keep up with the series by following it on Facebook and Twitter or checking out the BigCartel shop.

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