Reviewer: Frosty McKenzie
Publisher: WildStorm (DC Comics)
Writer: Ian Edginton
Artist: Davide Fabbri and Tom Mandrake
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 U.S.
Release Date: Available Now
As a huge fan of the recent mish mashing of genres and the surprisingly creative alternative reality twists with historical figures in the literary world, I have come to really love the Victorian Undead series that pits Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes against famous monsters (and zombies!). With Volume 2, Holmes goes up against another well-known monster that, by all means, should have and does make the perfect villain for Holmes and Doctor Watson. With Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes Vs. Dracula #1.
As expected, the story and the writing (thanks to the amazing talents of Ian Edginton) is true to the Sherlock Holmes style. This is what it would have been like if Doyle and Bram Stoker collaborated on a novel pitting both of these powerful forces together. In the first issue, a ship is braving an intense storm just off the coast of Whitby in North Yorkshire, England in the 1900s. From the deck the Captain one of one his mates sees a schooner sailing with full mast as if its crew had gone mad or simply vanished. That close to shore the ship would be smashed to pieces.
Several days later, in London just off Baker Street, a carriage carrying Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson finds itself in quite a traffic jam while the sweltering heat of a London summer seems to be bothering the poor Doctor. Holmes tells them that they are on their way to a meeting but says very little else until they arrive at the offices of a gentleman who happens to be a respected maritime insurer.
The man explains about The Demeter, the very same schooner seen with full sail heading towards certain doom. As it turns out, though, the ship was not smashed to pieces but what was discovered inside was something quite ghastly. It seems all hands were lost except for the body of the ship’s Captain who had tied himself to the wheel clutching his crucifix. The ship itself was a Russian schooner that left Varna with a most unusual cargo … crates containing soil written off for “scientific” purposes.
Taking the job, Holmes and the Doctor travel to Whitby to look into the details of the case. Their only clue is a segment of a log a crewmate wrote on that describes a most eerie sight. The crewmember swears he seen a person, perhaps a stowaway, with a gaunt face that no longer looked quite human. Meanwhile, in a gypsy camp, a woman of great power reveals to her people that this is their one and only chance to take care of the evil force already on shore.
Another clue leads Holmes to a house belonging to a known solicitor but what they find inside is ghastly as they encounter bodies of recently slaughtered people. Unfortunately, they’re not alone as they are attacked by a group of men who also seem to be looking for something or somebody. Holmes and Watson suddenly find themselves in quite a predicament.
Back in Buckingham Palace, the Queen gets a visit from her most trusted physician. You see, she is most desperate to find a cure for the hereditary affliction that the Royal bloodline suffers from and it seems that the Doctor has an answer in the form of a visitor from Transylvania who specializes in all things pertaining blood.
Oh yeah, the story definitely catches your attention in the last moments and if you read past Victorian Undead comics you know that Edgington is just getting warmed up here so this first issue is just setting things up for the inevitable confrontation between the vampire lord and England’s top sleuth. On top of that there’s Davide Fabbri’s great artwork that hasn’t failed to impress so far.
While the story is just getting started, Sherlock Holmes Vs. Dracula #1 looks to be yet another intriguing Victorian Undead comic book worthy of a glance or three. Holmes and Dracula just feel right together in the same way as Holmes taking on Jekyll and Hyde so we are certainly looking forward to more of this series as Sherlock Holmes goes vampire hunting.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN
A schooner finds itself back on English soil but the crew is nowhere to be found and the Captain is found dead at the wheel so a prominent maritime insurer has asked the famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to investigate. During the investigation, though, Holmes and the good Doctor are shocked to find a house filled with corpses and something else that might spell their demise. Plus, a mysterious Count pays the Queen a visit.
Davide Fabbri and Tom Mandrake’s art works magnificently for this series and you’ll be simply amazed by the level of detail they bring to the 1900’s England. Simply stunning work.
Like the past Victorian Undead offering, this first issue of Sherlock Holmes Vs. Dracula is slowly building up the momentum to what is surely building up to be another dose of monster-mashing fun with a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle-styled twist. We are definitely keeping an eye on this one since Edginton and Fabbri have yet to disappoint.
Review copy provided by WildStorm (DC Comics)