Hmm… is Edginton subtly suggesting the next Victorian Undead series will feature Frankenstein’s Monster? I hope so.
Again, there are some needlessly weak pages, but this time I can’t blame it on anyone but Fabbri. Maybe he was rushed. It’s a shame it’s during the big finale with Dracula and Holmes.
Edginton comes up with a good plot for the conclusion—even a great reveal—but his ending is a little too pat. I suppose some of it comes from being too much a mix of Holmes and Dracula and not enough of either. Watson’s barely a character this series and Edginton, except in the first issue, hasn’t done much to make it feel like another Holmes case.
It’s still a good series, however. Even with the various art problems throughout.
I was hoping Dracula would be more interesting.
Oh, yeah; Edginton does leave his other sequel setup intact too.
Writer, Ian Edgington; artist, Davide Fabbri; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Okay, it’s not Fabbri doing the terrible pages, it’s Guevara on his own. And they are terrible. He can’t maintain the shape of a human head. There are four or five of his pages this issue and it’s so bad, I wanted to put the comic down and stop reading it.
Otherwise, again, good issue. Edginton introduces something he might keep around later—he really ought to do a straight adaptation of Dracula, revising as he sees fit, because he comes up with some great developments here and they don’t necessarily need to be bound to the Victorian Undead universe. This issue, once more, has me hoping DC doesn’t let the property languish with Wildstorm gone.
Edginton has a good pace this issue, getting through a lot of events (even getting in Holmes references) to set up the cliffhanger. It’s a soft cliffhanger, sort of unnecessary, but it does work.
Writer, Ian Edgington; artists, Davide Fabbri and Mario Guevara; colorist, Carrie Strachan; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
As ineffectual as I find Fabbri’s Saturday morning cartoon style, at least he usually works at it. This issue brings in Mario Guevara to ink him and there are some incredible mishaps. One section appears to either be without inks (in which case, it’s clear Fabbri does most of his work while inking) and it makes that scene particularly unpleasant to read. I sat wondering if Tom Mandrake had done it as a guest and then jokingly did terrible work. No, no, he did not.
Reading this issue—Holmes, Watson and the Van Helsing get together and talk about the Dracula events up until now—it suggests Edginton never read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, just saw Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He borrows film creations part and parcel.
It’s not bad, just interesting. He adds some logic to the Dracula story, which is utterly missing in Stoker’s original.
Problems aside, a decent issue.
Writer, Ian Edgington; penciller, Davide Fabbri; inker, Mario Guevara; colorist, Carrie Strachan; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Edginton moves the story along a lot faster than I was expecting. I imagine it’s to bring the Dracula supporting cast into it sooner; the last half of the issue is Holmes and Watson teaming up with Professor Van Helsing and company. If I thought Fabbri’s Sherlock Holmes was funny, his Van Helsing is absolutely hilarious. Maybe Wildstorm was telling him to make them look like silly movie actors in case the series gets optioned.
Fabbri also rips off the battle armor—the very distinguishable battle armor—from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, so he’s clearly seen movies. He’s just ignoring the ones with Sherlock Holmes.
The first half fires a bunch of flares. There’s some boring exposition, then Dracula and his minions and neither scene is particularly good. The Dracula one is requisite and a little better. The stuff with Holmes and the gypsies is weak.
The second half recovers though.
Writer, Ian Edgington; artist, Davide Fabbri; colorist, Carrie Strachan; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Let’s see… Edginton doesn’t just bring in Dracula, he also brings in zombie-hunting gypsies, a conspiracy involving the British throne involving vampires (which changes up the series being a straight Dracula adaptation) and London rebuilding. The interesting part of London rebuilding is how it was a facet of Scarlet Traces too. While the first Victorian Undead series had its problems, he’s been able to build on its resolution quite well. Hopefully the franchise survives DC scuttling Wildstorm.
Unsurprisingly, I have issues with Davide Fabbri’s artwork. Tom Mandrake’s back for a page and it’s another instance of where he should have been the artist, not a guest star. Fabbri takes his time on Victorian London, getting in some great details, but it still looks insipidly commercial overall. The choice continues to bewilder.
Edginton takes his time, splitting between foreboding and Holmes and Watson investigating. He definitely piques the reader’s curiosity.
Writer, Ian Edgington; artists, Davide Fabbri and Tom Mandrake; colorist, Carrie Strachan; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
I’m sure I made the compliant during the first series (multiple times), but… really… who thinks Horacio Domingues is a good fit for Victorian Undead? I’ll get past the fact his “inks” appear to be nothing more than darkened pencils (and maybe some cleaning in Photoshop) and get right to his idiotic renditions of Holmes and Watson? It looks like he’s trying to turn them into Disney cartoon characters. Didn’t anyone tell him he’s at the wrong company?
Holmes looks like an action hero, Watson looks like his friendly old dad. It’s awful.
So in some ways, having Ian Edginton turn in this excellent script incorporating Jekyll and Hyde into the series’s continuity is a bad thing. It’s unpleasant to read, because some of the time is spent imagining the script drawn well and what a fine comic to would be.
Still, it’s well-written, just an atrocious visual experience.
Writer, Ian Edgington; artist, Horacio Domingues; colorist, Carrie Strachan; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Storck wraps it all up, which is a little sad–a sequel does not seem to be in the offing.
He does tie it all together nicely here, though I’m not familiar enough with “The Musgrave Ritual” to know how close he sticks to it and the conclusion, from “The Final Problem,” is expectedly loose. Mebberson does a lovely job with this part of the story, with a great rendering of Reichenbach Falls.
This issue also wraps up the Kermit and Piggy arc, which seems to be in all the Boom! Muppet books, whether it’s primary or not. Storck’s been making Kermit’s LeStrade, especially this issue, a lot smarter than Gonzo’s Holmes, even though Gonzo manages to solve the cases.
For the most part, these themed Muppet titles have been outstanding and I probably have a new favorite with Sherlock Holmes.
Mebberson and Storck should be doing an ongoing series.
Musgrove Ritual?; writer, Patrick Storck; artist, Amy Mebberson; colorists, Mebberson and Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Christopher Burns; publisher, Boom! Studios.
I can’t decide if this issue is the strongest or if it’s just the one where Gonzo solves the case….
The opening titles establish the cast–Kermit and Piggy are now permanent additions (Piggy’s Irene Adler now impersonating Mrs. Hudson, which is a great way to keep her around)–and it certainly seems like Muppet Sherlock Holmes could have some legs. A sequel series or two would probably be just as good as this series, since they’re adapting from the Conan Doyle’s.
This issue adapts “The Red-Headed League,” which is a memorable title and I remember some of the story’s setup, but I have no idea if it’s all about a bank heist. Here it’s all about a bank heist. Holmes–sorry, Gonzo–stops it in an amusing way.
Mebberson’s art for this series is so sharp and so thoughtful. The third act, with the heist sequence, looks fantastic.
The Red-Headed League; writer, Patrick Storck; artist, Amy Mebberson; colorists, Mebberson and Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Christopher Burns; publisher, Boom! Studios.
The second issue is as nice as the first.
Storck doesn’t use “Muppet Show” standards (he did in the first issue for a great narrative device), but he does insert Kermit’s Inspector Lestrade–sorry, Inspector LeStrade–into the story. I don’t think Lestrade was in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” but he’s around here, a third wheel affixed to Holmes and Watson.
The plot pretty much follows the original with some Muppet flourishes. Storck and Mebberson come up with these great one or two panel gags–Gonzo, Fozzie and Kermit disguised as a post box, call box and bush having tea. But Storck also has more elaborate flourishes here–Miss Piggy plays Irene Adler and she has a dinner party the boys crash.
The dinner party antics are where Storck and Mebberson’s pacing skills really show. They’re able to fit a lot of events into a few pages.
It’s wonderful stuff.
A Scandal in Bohemia; writer, Patrick Storck; artist, Amy Mebberson; colorists, Mebberson and Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Christopher Burns; publisher, Boom! Studios.
Now here’s a lovely comic.
Mebberson’s art alone makes Muppet Sherlock Holmes worth picking up–oh, she does the colors too. I was just going to say how great the colors work in the book. Her renditions of the Muppet characters, particularly the expressions, really bring them to life. It’s not something I think about a lot with comics, but with the Muppets, for some reason I do.
But then there’s Storck and his whole approach to turning Gonzo into Sherlock and Fozzie into Watson. They aren’t traditionally paired and it works out as this wonderful dumb and dumber situation. Gonzo’s obnoxious behavior works perfect for the role.
This issue is an adaptation of “The Speckled Band.” Each issue is, presumably, going to be a different story. It’s a great approach and one I wasn’t expecting.
The story resolves the same, but Storck adds some very Muppet details.
A delightful read.
Writer, Patrick Storck; artist and colorist, Amy Mebberson; letterer, Joe Macasocol; editors, Christopher Burns and Jason Long; publisher, Boom! Studios.
Victorian Undead ends, unfortunately, with a set-up for a sequel. My problem isn’t with the prospect of another Holmes versus zombies series, it’s more to do with Edginton’s set-up itself. His grand reveals for the series are, for the most part, bad and he suggests any sequel will directly involve them.
This issue, with its action-packed conclusion, plays pretty quickly. There’s a hurried, confusing resolution to the conspiracy and a callback to the first issue, which is also hurried and confused, and then Edginton moves to the final sequence.
In some ways, it seems as though Edginton is setting up a Scarlet Traces like London for Holmes to jaunt around in–there’s futuristic (steampunk) technology here, without any explanation of its origins–and I guess it’s an interesting setting, but his Holmes and Watson are so boring… I’m rather indifferent.
I was hoping for a lot more.
Inferno; writer, Ian Edgington; artist, Davide Fabbri; colorist, Carrie Strachan; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Umm, ok, I’m now confused and it’s all Fabbri’s fault. I can’t tell his living Doctor Moriarty from his living Colonel Moran… or whatever rank that character had reached.
And I’m upset because I was actually going to complement Fabbri for his Holmes this issue. A couple panels he took the time to age line Holmes’s face, so it didn’t look like Ashton Kutcher would be playing him in the movie adaptation.
Otherwise, the issue pretends to have some detecting but really just talks about it and moves along the zombie story. I think I’d be more partial to the comic if Holmes were less of an emphasis–if he were just a player in the story of zombies attacking late nineteenth century London instead of the ostensible principle.
There are some cool scenes with zombie attacks and so on; the conspiracy foreshadowing, however, is rather unnecessary.
But acceptable overall.
The Earth Shall Give Up Its Dead; writer, Ian Edgington; artist, Davide Fabbri; colorist, Carrie Strachan; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Now here’s a way to pad an issue… Tom Mandrake illustrates a flashback (with a far more traditional–read recognizable–Holmes). It’s Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls with a different conclusion–Moriarty has zombie juice ready to save him after he… ahem… falls. It’s one heck of a way to waste pages. The artwork’s lovely and all but it’s not narratively important. In fact, it’d have been a lot more effective in the first issue without it being clear it was Moriarty.
The rest of the issue is just bridging material, presumably, to set up the climax of the series. There’s finally a big zombie battle in London, but we only get to see a little bit of it, with Moriarty (the zombie) showing it to his sidekick (and the reader) through a window.
Then tanks show up to save Holmes and Watson (and Mrs. Hudson) and it’s silly.
And Death Shall Have No Dominion; writer, Ian Edgington; penciller, Davide Fabbri; inker, Tom Mandrake; colorist, Carrie Strachan; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Half the issue is talking heads, the other half is zombie attacks on London. The zombie attacks work better. Fabbri’s not suited for talking heads, especially not with his characters boldly edged, standing out against the backgrounds. It makes it seem unreal and artificial, something a talking heads scene should never be.
The exposition–it’s Holmes, Watson and Mycroft sitting around and basically recapping what the reader already knows and what Holmes and Watson don’t yet–is a little tedious. The payoff comes with the zombie attacks, but even those are a little… restrained. There’s not the en masse zombie attack yet, only the hints of it.
The concept for the series–the tagline–is better than Edginton’s script, unfortunately. His Holmes is a pop culture figure, not really Conan Doyle’s consulting detective. He’s playing to zombie fans, not Holmes aficionados. In fact, he’s ignoring them, except for occasional callouts.
Written in Blood; writer, Ian Edgington; artist, Davide Fabbri; colorist, Carrie Strachan; letterer, Saida Temofonte; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.