Perfecting the Space Opera — The Amory Wars 101

Book Keeper's Library Crew

When you push open the door to Abraheim’s room, you see the old man sitting at his desk with a pair of large headphones over his ears. His head is tilted back and his feet and fingers are tapping beats on the floor and his old, wooden desk. Seeing you, he holds up his index finger and yells:

“Just a minute! This is the best part!” His light tapping of beats turns into full fledged drumming. When the song ends, he removes his headphones and slides a chair up for you to sit.

You look down at Abraheim’s desk. There are CDs, comic books, and one single hardback novel. He motions towards them in a sweeping gesture.

“I have been waiting a while to share this particular story with you.”

He picks up the hardback and brushes some dust off of the cover.  

“There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it is a story that can be very complicated and difficult to follow.”

You see him almost begin to squeeze the book tight as he looks down at the items on his desk.

“But the biggest reason is because of how important it is to me. I want to do this story justice in how I present its synopsis and analysis, and hope that it might lead you to the same enjoyment it has brought me for many, many years.”

“So I’m going to take this one slow, and I’m going to go in depth. You might be here for a few days if I didn’t break things up a little bit. So consider today an introductory course, the one-hundred level class of this story. But more on that in a moment.”

“You might be wondering about what story this could possibly be. Well … that is actually a hard question to answer.”

He sets down the hardback book and picks up two bound comic book volumes.

“Technically, it is called The Amory Wars, by Claudio Sanchez, the frontman of the band Coheed & Cambria. As a disclaimer, I want you to know that everything that follows is 100% my ultra-biased opinion, as they are in fact my favorite band of all time. So I apologize if I seem over indulgent as I discuss this story with you. To try to keep from sounding like a confusing old man, I will try to break this down the best I can. So brace yourself.”

Abraheim takes a deep breath. You recognize this breath. It’s the one that takes before he is about to talk at length.

The Amory Wars are a series of comic books. These comics are actually based off of the band Coheed & Cambria’s music, which with the exception of one album, is all one giant sci-fi space opera taking place in different parts throughout their multiple studio albums. There is also a book that accompanies one of the albums and serves as a prequel to the story proper as it appears in the comics and in previous albums.”

“Have I lost you yet? Good. So let’s talk roots for a minute. Coheed has eight studio albums, one of which, their latest, is not part of the larger concept. The concept albums in order of release are: The Second Stage Turbine Blade; In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3; Good Apollo, I’m burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness; Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow; Year of the Black Rainbow; The Afterman: Ascension; and The Afterman: Descension.”

“The album names themselves are intriguing, are they not? Each one of these albums tells part of the story of the Amory Wars, a name which I might guess you will learn the meaning of much later on. As I said, this might take a while. I want to do this right.”

“While most of the albums are tell a chronological story, the story actually begins with “part two” — The Second Stage Turbine Blade. All of the albums until Year of the Black Rainbow happen somewhat in chronological order. Year of the Black Rainbow is a prequel album to the series, and tells the origin and backstories of a few of the story’s characters — namely, Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon.”

“That part itself is not that confusing. The next part might be. One of the albums, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, takes place on a separate “layer” of the story, at a very meta level. The latest in the series, The Afterman double-album, follows another character through a subplot of the story, making a few connections back to the main story.”

The old man, now with sweat on his brow, takes another deep breath to bookmark his statements before they slip into the realm of rambling.

“To properly tell this story, I feel I need to do it in the order that the albums were released. That is how the story was told to me, and I feel that it was effective in establishing an emotional connection with the characters and plot, as well as the music.So that is where we will pick up next visit. We will also discuss the comics and the book, and what they each add to the story respectively. I do not expect you to share the same feelings I do towards the story and the music, but I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t try to nudge you towards indulging in something that has had such an impact on my life. I will not keep you long today. Believe me, that will come soon enough. But I do want to leave you with something to make your stop here worthwhile. Please, do yourself a favor and give this band a listen on whatever music or video streaming service you use. Do a little bit of homework, and then let me guide you through the story and its significance.”

Abraheim smiles and begins walking you towards the door.

“Until next time, my friend.”