If you would have told me that a new comic was going to come out about Jack the Ripper that I would love, I’d say you were crazy. As far as I was concerned From Hell was the end-all Jack the Ripper story, but apparently I’m wrong.
In the new comic The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde, by Cole Haddon and M.S. Corley, we get the tale of Investigator Thomas Adye searching for Jack the Ripper, but when he can’t get any leads he seeks the help of the notorious and long-thought-deceased Henry Jekyll…or is still Hyde?
This comic is fantastic. Even though some elements of the original Jekyll/Hyde tale are repeated, I was engrossed from the first page. The book still keeps you on the edge of your seat, hoping that the characters will come up with something to help them solve the mystery (even though it’s tackling the most well known unsolved murders in history).
There is such a great dynamic between Hyde and Inspector Adye. I don’t know if this was intentional, but the book plays exactly like The Silence of the Lambs, with Hyde in the Lecter role and Adye as Starling. Once I realized this connection it made me fall in love with the book even more. There is very much a “teacher/student” duo even if Adye doesn’t want to admit he is learning from the monstrous Hyde. The characters are great. Watching their individual journeys unfold throughout the book is one of the most rewarding aspects of the story, another would be the action.
The action sequences in this book are intense, way more intense than other attempts at Victorian era action. They keep you reading for the answers, and the answers keep you reading because they’re not complete. This comic is as suspenseful as it is thrilling and it’s a wicked combination.
It would appear there is an elegant amount of thought put into this book. Not only in the amount of attention put into referencing other horror tales of the era but in the pacing. Reading this comic feels like watching a BBC mini series. Each issue, while not marked at all with covers or indicators of a beginning/end, work as their own, focusing on a certain aspect of the Ripper case or a theme that the book is dealing with.
The art by M.S. Corley is eerily appropriate for the book. It doesn’t look like many comics being published right now and it’s rather cartoon-y. While the art fits with the tone in spectacular fashion, I can’t help but wonder if something a little more gritty would have worked better, of course, then it might have just blended in all too well with all of the other monster books on the stand and fall into obscurity. Which it doesn’t need to do. If any part of you likes mysteries and monsters (and why would you be here if you didn’t?) this book is for you, and you need to read it right now.