Comics Review: The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde

 

 

What do you get when League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets From Hell?

The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde #1-4

Writer: Cole Haddon
Art: M.S. Corley
Colourist: Jim Campbell
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Publisher: Dark Horse

It’s June 1883 and Henry Jekyll is working on a formula to eradicate evil from the hearts on men…time passes and now it’s 1888, Edward Hyde’s rampage still strikes fear in those same hearts. There’s a murderer on the streets of Whitechapel and Inspector Adye of the Yard is called to investigate. The clues lead him to the (armoured) door of the allegedly reformed Jekyll and together they investigate the strange case of Jack the Ripper…

Not long after starting to read these issues I realised I wasn’t going to get what I expected. This wasn’t a re-telling of the Jekyll & Hyde story, this was something very different and far, far better. Having a ┬álegendary fictional killer helping our everyman detective to stalk a legendary historical killer is really quite inspired. Haddon weaves the fictional and non-fictional elements of the story into a series which I found to be an absolute page-turner. I can’t say I was hugely surprised by how events panned out but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Haddon’s Hyde is charismatic and Adye is far from a bumbling oaf, there’s a buddy movie feel at times, and the lines between good and evil, right and wrong are blurred throughout and the sense of moral ambiguity is highlighted in a particularly debauched third issue. The story is tight and perhaps only a romance sub-plot feels superfluous, I would have actually liked a bit more room for the series to have some quieter moments and from issue 1 through to 4 the pace is fast.

The art too could be a mixture of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell, not quite as expressive as O’Neill’s work but with some lovely touches in smoky parlour rooms and foggy London streets. At times I can see something of David Tennant’s 10th Doctor in Adye, although this may just be the dishevelled suit he wears.

Overall this is a great  series, I will be looking and hoping for a sequel.

Rating: 4/5

Reviewer: Dave Williams

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