Thursday, 5 January 2012

Graphic Novel Reviews

Back to work today (so naturally I'm blogging... perhaps not my wisest move). I managed to do a little reading over my break and thought I'd post some reviews (as much to get more posts on the site as anything else).

First up we have Victorian Undead 2: Sherlock Holmes versus Dracula (with a slight detour through Jekyl and Hyde), an alternate Victorian world where the great detective deals with various undead threats (the first series had a zombie outbreak in London with Moriaty as its mastermind). Ian Edginton has a fairly good handle on Holmes and Watson's voices and his world building is logical and ties in to the first miniseries. Importantly his Holmes joins the investigation of Dracula's appearance in Britain with a sensible reason for doing so rather than simply being shoehorned in, and Edginton ably contrasts the logical methods that Holmes employs and Van Helsing's faith based perspective. It's not perfect, there are places where the narrative jars a little and a few parts do seem very like Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series; although I can't tell if that's simply because modern writers look at Dracula and give him similar motives (Bram Stoker if I recall never really gives the Count a reason for coming to England, aside possibly from him seeking new blood, literally).

Gladstone's School for World Conquerors is somewhat different, a school for supervillains in a world where a truce between heroes and villains means that superhero and villain battles have been reduced to entertainment; there's just one hitch, the kids at the school don't know it and think its all real. If we step over the issues this raises, like why any self respecting supervillain would keep villaining if they were always going to lose, the comic is enjoyable, the children suitably bratty and the situation that grows up out of both the ban on real villaining and the children's discovery that their parents are both laughing stocks and losers makes for a good read. Villavert makes you like the kids and care when their illusions are shattered. The place he takes the first volume to is interesting and sets up things for future issues (to put it bluntly, it looks like the truce is over by the end of the first volume).

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