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First-Look: 'Rust Volume 3: Death of the Rocket Boy' (Exclusive)

Fans of Royden Lepp's acclaimed graphic novel series can get the jump on the third volume at March's Emerald City Comicon in Seattle.

Rust Volume 3 Cover - P 2014
Courtesy of Boom! Studios

If you think you’ve seen stories of robots and jetpacks before, well, you’ve never seen it done the way Royden Lepp does it with his graphic novel series, Rust, as the third volume comes out May by Boom! Studios imprint Archaia.

Sepia-toned, spare, and prone to long passages of wordless panels, the beautiful art matches the prairie setting of the story, which tells of Roman Taylor and his struggle to keep the family farm set in a world dilapidated tractors after a long-ago war between man and robots.

There's a vague World War One aesthetic, there's a retro timelessness, and then there's Jet Jones, a boy with a jetpack that is first seen being chased by a giant robot from that great war, and whom Taylor thinks can help turn around the farm.

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Through the first and second volumes, released in 2011 and 2012 respectively, we learned there was more to Jones than first met the eye -- he too is a robot and he's got plenty of secrets, which Roman Taylor's untrusting younger brother Oz wants to discover.

Lepp, who was born in Canada's prairie province of Manitoba, says that with Rust, he wanted to bring comics to its core of visual storytelling.

"Some comics have so much narration they're not even comics anymore," he says. "I wanted to use poses and emotions and facial expression to move the story forward, boiling it down to telling a story through images. And it conveyed the silence of the prairies and the quietness of the setting."

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But don’t let the seeming atmosphere of solitude fool you. The books are action-packed and feature detailed set pieces even as they tell a heartfelt story.

It's this combination that 20th Twentieth Century Fox liked when it picked up the book's movie rights and is now developing it as a sci-fi adventure for Carlos Saldanha, the director behind Rio and Rio 2, on which to make his live-action debut.

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Which brings us to this spring's Rust Volume 3: Death of the Rocket Boy.  No release date has been set but the growing fans of the book will be able to get it early at Emerald City Comicon, which is held in Lepp's hometown of Seattle from March 28-30.

Death of Rocket Boy furthers Oz Taylor's push to get rid of Jet Jones, who only wants this family to be the home he so desperately yearns for. But with his past creeping up, his jetpacking days may be numbered.

Heat Vision has the jump on the volume 3's cover and a look at some of the interiors below: