Adler #1 Review
Written by Lavie Tidhar
Artist: Paul McAffrey
Letter: Simon Bowland
Review by KrisK
Irene Adler inhabits an outsized portion of pop culture than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote her. She appeared in one short story, “A Scandal in Bohemia”, but she remains one of the most popular characters he created.She matches Sherlock Holmes in intellect, but carries with her a swagger and confidence that confounded him. Irene serves as the one that got away for Holmes, in more ways than one.
This incarnation, like the original literary character, lives on with no need of Sherlock. She serves as not only the detective of the story, but she serves as the Allen Quartermain in this “League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen”. (From the Titan Comics Website.) Jane Eyre works as the main narrator for this tale. She worked as an ambulance driver/combat medic during the Boer war. With the war over, the war vet returns home looking for lodging. She meets Lady Havisham, from Great Expectations, who works as an inventor and socialite among women. Lady Havisham introduces her to Adler who needs a roommate. A hitman attempts to end Irene’s life, but Adler subdues the fiend. She recognizes the attempted assassination as a message from Professor James Moriarty. She calls him and agrees to meet him after Jane agrees to room with her.
Carnilla, the vampire who predates Dracula by a quarter century, also appears. She works with the Amazon, Ayesha. Ayesha, though Adler seems unaware, holds a very key interest in the affair as well. Orphan Annie is promised in the beginning of the book, but I could not find her.
The writing by Lavie Tidhar, manages to introduce the team well. He skips unnecessarily establishing the characters in terms of their original stories. No prior knowledge of these characters needed. The issue contains a brief description of the characters at the start. Instead, Tidhar jumps into the story, which draws close parallels to how Watson met Holmes, who are referenced in name and inside jokes. While the story uses a similar set up for Adler/Eyre to Holmes/Watson, the rest of the characters bare no equal. The story itself stands on its own.
The art, by Paul McAffrey, capture the Gothic/Victorian feel of the original stories. The action flows organically. The colors match the era in subtlety.
Verdict: Buy! The comic scratched the same literary itch of Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentleman without being derivative. The issue promises a fascinating look at the characters.