Victorian Undead – Sherlock Holmes vs Zombies

  • ISBN: 9780857680518
  • Dimensions: 258 x 170 mm
  • Paperback: 144pp
  • Publication date: Dec. 17, 2010
  • “Dear God in Heaven.” – Dr John Watson
    “I fear it is safe to say the almighty has no place here my friend.” – Mr Sherlock Holmes.

    In 1854, a meteor streaked across Londons skies, bringing with it a zombie plague. For twenty years, Her Majestys Secret Service kept the threat under control. But now dastardly fiend Moriarty has begun using the zombies in an attempt to overthrow the Victorian Government. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson must face off against their favorite foe, MI-5 and zombies at the same time.

    For a while now I had heard of a comic which told an all new Sherlock Holmes story with Conan Doyle’s famous sleuth battling the undead. I thought it sounded like a cheap attempt to cash on the fact that zombies are becoming the new vampires, the next line of horror chic. This fact has been cementing by the success of the Walking Dead TV show. 

    I was intrigued enough to look up the book on the web. I took one look at the cover and the title and was instantly put off by what I saw. It just felt like this was going to be a below par attempt to cash in as I had previously thought. 

    Saddened at having my worst fears confirmed I was about to close my browser when I saw two words which changed my entire outlook…Ian Edginton. Under the Self-Made Hero banner Edington had expertly adapted four classic Holmes stories as graphic novels. So now I was faced with  a Sherlock Holmes story being told by an expert adapter of the great detective’s adventures.

    They say you should never judge a book by its cover and Victorian Undead is a prime example of that tenet.

    From the first page Fabbri’s glorious art combined with Edginton’s understanding of not only Holmes and Watson but of the world they inhabit tell you that a lot of love and effort have gone into this comic. We do see Holmes and his trusted companion battling the undead but it is not at the cost of plot or characterisation. This feels like a Holmes adventure. Rather have a mindless Zombie outbreak at the heart of the chaos there is a mystery to be solved and a greater evil at work to be thwarted. Holmes’ keen mind is as much at work here as his skill as a  Baritsu exponent.

    The story never lags and moves at a blistering pace. It’s part horror, part mystery, part pulp adventure and part disaster comic.

    There is a real sense of the overwhelming odds that Holmes and Watson are up against and how high a price that England must pay to overcome those odds. This leads to some great dialogue and character moments. Edington once more reminds us why Watson is Holmes’ most trusted companion. We go on a bit of a journey with Watson as he tries to come to terms with what’s going on. It’s a believable journey that makes you root for him even more. Anyone bought up on the Watson as the bumbling old sidekick is in for a shock when they read this.

    As much as I have loved Edginton’s work on the classic adaptations it’s great to see him get the chance to play with Holmes and Watson in an all new adventure. I hope he will consider doing more Holmes adventures (A War of the Worlds style Holmes and Watson adventure perhaps?).

    I’m sure there are Holmes purists out there who will give this comic a wide berth fearing it my tarnish the great detective they revere. I’m here to say fear not for the detective’s legacy had never been in better hands. Don’t make the mistake I did when the seeing the cover that this would be some a poor man’s Sherlock Holmes story that could not hold a pipe to what’s come before.

    The Victorian Undead is a rollicking tale and would highly recommend it to everyone after a cracking adventure.

    GS Reviewer: Nuge

    Source: Titan Books

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    1. Douglas Jensen /

      Sounds interesting but the quote at the top – Dr JAMES Watson? If anything will put off Holmes purists it’ll be that for sure!

      • geeksyndicate /

        yeah my bad…change has been made and the appropriate amount of shame is currently being felt.

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