Drawn from real personages in history, writer Cy Dethan has put together an intriguing tale. Because of his disdain for fakers and frauds, Harry Houdini is recruited by the Chief of the Secret Service to investigate a plot involving potential global cataclysm, fermented by the fanatic Spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle. Pulling on resources ranging from the labs of the brilliant, but mad, inventor Nicolas Tesla to the dark research of HP Lovecraft, Houdini gathers his resources cannily, as he starts to gather the tools necessary to solve a mystery… that may have started a century before he was born.
RH Stewart’s raw, but deft, penciling and colors capture the mood of a late 19th century world, dominated by shades of brown and gray, with occasional glimpses of otherworldly brightness as we move deeper into the mystery.
Because it pulls disparate characters together from the same period, it’s going to draw comparisons to Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but don’t let that deter you from checking this out. Dethan keeps the action brisk and the mystery brewing, dropping hints here and there for the reader to pick up. His versions of the actual people from the era carry a ring of authenticity. Houdini did arrogantly disprove fake spiritualists (and other magicians) for fun. Tesla did complain about Edison (but who didn’t?). Even someone as simple as Chief of the Secret Service John Wilkie feels fleshed out here.
With a killer opening, the story is sure, intriguing, never boring, and well worth adding to your pick list.
“What are they doing in Bavaria?”
“… I simply gave them what they wanted. I sent them on a glorious ghost-hunt.”
“I hope that was all it was, Harry — because our sources say they’re claiming to have found one.”
Rating: FOUR out of FIVE stars
Creative Team: Cy Dethan (writer), RH Stewart (artist)
Publisher: Blue Fox Comics
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