Inspector Adye has recently slammed the book shut on his first of (hopefully) many “strange cases,” marking the release of this TPB. All four issues of The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde come together in a stellar collection from Dark Horse. I wasn’t able to fully invest in the series until its completion, so the trade gave me the perfect opportunity to see the entire story laid out at once. Read on for the skinny…
In the beginning, Strange Case centers predominately on Dr. Henry Jekyll, a brilliant scientist with what initially looks to be a bright future, and rich family life. All those plans turn to ruin when Jekyll injects himself with his own serum and creates his diabolical alter ego, Mr. Hyde. Those who have read the classic novel will be familiar with this part of the story, but boy does it stray from there on out.
Fast-forward five years, and Inspector Adye is introduced. Adye is also very bright, and shows a promising future with his detective work. He is assigned to none other than the Jack the Ripper case, and Jekyll’s serum may be contributing to the murders. Adye soon finds himself teaming up with Jekyll in order to finally close the Ripper case and establish a sense of peace in Whitechapel.
Cole Haddon’s debut is eerily logical; I almost forgot that the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is actually a work of fiction. Even the letters that Saucy Jack had written to the police were integrated into the story perfectly. But not only is it logical, but also creative. The scenes where Adye is caught off-guard by Jekyll’s bluntness stand out especially well. Adye is a well-trained, productive member of society. But that’s just it – he’s trained. Jekyll calling him out helps the Inspector to break away from his scholarly mind, and in turn, to go with his instincts.
M. S. Corley’s artwork reflects some realism, as well. The characters’ expressions in the beginning are very hoity-toity, with furrowed brows and general looks of suspicion, to reflect the “poised and proper” lifestyle of England in the late 1800’s. As the excitement builds, facial expressions become more diverse, and the states of the characters’ hair and clothing become more casual to demonstrate the mounting stress. The color work also works parallel to the art, starting off bright and vibrant at first, and then progressively becoming more muted and darker. Even during one of the party scenes, the shadows seem more predominate, which adds suspense… like something might be lurking beneath them.
Dark Horse has brought us yet another exciting title. Strange Case is a gripping, cinemeatic, story that immediately clutches you in its mighty fists. Jekyll is an eccentric, dark character, yet is simultaneously very accessible. You can’t help but love him. And Inspector Adye is knowledgeable, but still very mysterious, and I look forward to learning more about him. The ending was very open ended, so I can’t wait to see what additional adventures Haddon has in store.
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