cover image A Study in Emerald

A Study in Emerald

Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, and Rafael Scavone. Dark Horse, $17.99 (88p) I

The murder of a monstrous German royal sets a brilliant detective and his new partner upon the trail of an equally cunning adversary in this chilling adaptation of Gaiman’s 2003 short story. In this alternate history, set in a Lovecraftian version of 19th-century England, the Old Ones returned 700 years ago to claim the Earth and its people, bestowing both cruelties and mercies alike, and humans have lived complacently under their rule ever since. When one of the Old Ones is gruesomely butchered, the tentacled Queen enlists the Baker Street investigators to track down the killers, but they find that there is a larger scheme at play. The artwork is on point, with vivid period atmosphere and details shifting to eerie otherworldly scenes. At first, this graphic novel kicks off like a typical Sherlock Holmes episode that just happens to have elements from the Cthulhu mythos. But a stunning twist late in the game proves a shocker, upending the familiar plotting and character expectations. The ending makes what would otherwise be standard fare stand out—leaving the reader retreading the plot with a sense of horror that lingers long after the close. (July)