cover image Adler


Lavie Tidhar and Paul McCaffrey. Titan Comics, $16.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-78276-071-9

Set in an age in which an ailing Queen Victoria’s kept alive with a steampunk apparatus by Dr. Jekyll, this thrilling comic bursts with reimagined period characters and features Sherlock Holmes’s adversary Irene Adler, who must thwart Ayesha—the warrior queen of H. Rider Haggard’s novel She—from declaring war on Great Britain. Irene is aided by a wide cast of real and fictional Victorian figures including Jane Eyre, Miss Havisham (younger, livelier, and more energetic than Dickens’s), and the little orphan, Annie. Even more obscure cameos like that of Carmilla, Le Fanu’s gothic vampire (and literary predecessor to Dracula), are organically woven into these spirited capers. The concept owes much to Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but World Fantasy Award winner Tidhar (By Force Alone) keeps a constant breathless pace of chases that are swashbuckling enough to forgive the relative simplicity of the plot: stop Ayesha from bombing London with Marie Curie’s radium, which has been weaponized by Nicola Tesla. The art by McCaffrey (Anno Dracula) complements the script with vigorous fight sequences and sharp character design. While, perhaps forgivably, not as developed as a Doyle-original Holmes mystery, the mash-up offers solid light entertainment with strong crossover appeal, as well as twists and derring-do aplenty. (Mar.)