Overview

Victorian Undead #1

Review

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Victorian Undead #1

Credits

  • Words: Ian Edgintin
  • Art: David Fabbri
  • Colors: Carrie Strachan
  • Story Title: The Star of Ill-Omen (Part One)
  • Publisher: WildStorm/DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 20, 2009

Sherlock Holmes versus Zombies.  Given the popularity of both fictional icons these days, this team up seems a little elementary.

A meteor crashes to London with doomsayers giving a rowdy “I told you so!”  Months pass and the dead are rising after an odd sickness takes over a very localized portion of the city.  Cut to four years later and it seems like nothing has happened at all (Canadian scientists just threw their arms up in disbelief).  Holmes and Watson are working a case where the criminal seems to be a robot.  In the middle of a heavy round of deduction, England’s most famous sleuth is summoned to Scotland Yard to investigate an odd occurrence.

So, let’s get my idiosyncratic nitpick out of the way.  I hate idiom.  I understand wanting to use it, especially in a purely visual medium like comics.  There are no sounds to help make an accent known.  However, it hurts the narrative momentum.  Readers have to translate words that are spelled funny in order to create the illusion of a regional distinction.  Edginton does do an admirable job of it here.  Once it is established, it is consistent and he shies away from making every one speaking phonetically.  That being said, the opening sequence is a chore as a result of the device.

The rest of the book is solid.  Holmes is presented much the way one would expect him to be.  His deductive skills are given a nice showing.  Watson seems to be set dressing, but then this issue is entirely exposition so characterization need not be an overwhelming focus.

A compelling reason for the zombie plague is given and the world of the comic is set in a Victorian world different from ours, yet familiar enough to allow the necessary suspension of disbelief for this tale to unfold.  Edginton does some sly world building here with detailed touches like the housekeeper’s jibe about her cake table.  This careful attention to the exactness of the script will work well for a mystery, no matter how supernatural.

Fabbri’s art is capable as well.  There is a nice design given to the era, while still managing to look like a typical WildStorm book.  I may occasionally be hard on house styles, but to see a less stylized period book is almost as refreshing as discovering the next Cooke or Powell.  That the art team works well to create the moods needed for the script is just the icing on the cake. 

Saida Temofonte needs a special mention.  If the lettering here is not done by hand, then it is most deceptive.  The hand lettered feel along with the coloring and costuming goes a long way to give the book the necessary feel of a period work.

All in all, this is an interesting, if not groundbreaking debut.  Worth a look, even if it isn’t going to be a contender for some fangled award.

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