File 770 today hosts a Titan-Comics blog tour for Adler, written by Lavie Tidhar and with art by Paul McCaffrey. Here’s James Bacon’s review of the issue, plus a six-page excerpt from the comic:
Review by James Bacon
- Adler by Lavie Tidhar and Paul McCaffrey
This is a light and fun romp into a strange steampunkesque world, where our protagonists are delightfully drawn from literature, Irene Adler, the cunning and brilliant equal of Sherlock Holmes, taking primary role, and calling on an interesting selection of characters, an orphan called Annie, Jane Eyre and Lady Haversham.
Tidhar, set out where this alternative history sits:
“1902:Queen Victoria still rules, sustained by some terrible science; the forces of colonial resistance gather to fight the British Empire; and Irene Adler and her friends must stop a deadly plot…”
I have to admit that I am well-impressed by the depth to which Tidhar has gone to, the various villains, from a handsome Jack based on David Warner’s portrayal and Le Fanu’s Carmilla, there is a cleverness to how he weaves in the various characters, and of course, the main villain is Ayesha, based I assume, on Henry Rider Haggard’s protagonist from She.
The blurb lets us know that it is time to “meet the League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen” and that is indeed fair.
I was a little underwhelmed by the actual story, I perhaps was not all that keen on seeing the Queen of a country that was crushed by the British Empire into being a colony being portrayed as the villain, instead of a righteous rebel fighting for her nationhood. I suspect that a lot of the fun aspects, from the clothing to the lighter style of art, was not what I was looking for, at this time. I had hoped for a darker and grittier story, and the look and artistic style of this comic which flows well, is prettily drawn and tells a fun story, was not what I was hoping for, and part of that is down to me, a shelf of Lavie Tidhar and even his bibliography on Michael Marshall Smith sits proudly on my bookcase, so I maybe brought to much expectation to this easier going, fun comic.
It isn’t exactly like there is too much whimsy, it just felt slightly out of kilter for me. It might be aimed and presented for a younger market, other readers perhaps, and I am certain that it will be enjoyed, which is great. I love that there are comics that are just not for me, as it now means they are for someone else, and that is a good thing.
I wanted something that was a little more nuanced, perhaps a heavier twist with these same well thought of characters, and heavier, darker, much more reflective of our now, where societal structures and imperialism is more the enemy than to be defended.
Six pages of interior art follow the jump.
Writer: Lavie Tidhar
Artist: Paul McCaffrey
Publisher: Titan Comics
Softcover, 56pp, $16.99, £13.99
On sale March 2021
About the Creators:
- Lavie Tidhar is best known for his novels Osama (winner of the 2012 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel) and his trilogy The Bookman Histories, as well as many thrilling and award-winning short stories. Gorel & The Pot-Bellied God won him the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella in 2012.
- Paul McCaffrey is an illustrator whose work has graced numerous publications, from magazines like Empire, NME and The Spectator, to educational materials from Collins, Heinemann, Macmillan and the Cambridge University Press. As a comics artist, his work has appeared in titles as various as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Zombies Versus Robots: Adventure, Violent! and DC’sMen of War. He has previously worked with Tidhar on the controversial ‘childrens’ book Going To The Moon.