Before we even get to the review, you need to know that Clockwork Watch: The Arrival is the first part in a planned multi-media interactive series. It has its own website that keeps you current as to the happenings in that world.
The graphic novel itself is actually fairly short. It tells the story of Janav, a young Indian boy who has been brought to England by his parents. His father has been asked to develop a mechanical servant for the Crown. Janev is not happy to have left India. His parents are strict and he doesn’t speak the language and has no friends yet. Janev is fascinated by the prototype mechanical servant his father has made, although a little shocked that he is expected to take the mechanical servant with him to boarding school and teach it. And then the graphic novel part of the story ends.
There are a lot of extras to this work. There is an introduction telling what the project is and setting the scene for the story. There is a conclusion that sums up the following 20 years to set the scene for the next book. There are some ads and articles that fill in some of the story. There is a “making of” at the end, explaining how they designed and drew the graphic novel. The art is ink drawings with watercolor on top. It has a lovely depth to it with rich colors that add to the sense of being in a palace in a Steampunk Victorian England. The art is mostly quite detailed and realistic, but with the occasional jarring contrast of a more cartoon-like face.
While there are lots of words saying what is going on and who people are, none of that is translated into the actual comic. You basically have to read all the other stuff to understand what’s going on. But if you are looking for a new world to inhabit, this will fit the bill.