We begin with Dirk as a small child, playing in his treehouse. Drawn in a rather different art style, reminiscent of those two-page spread comics that used to appear in Children’s Digest or Highlights Magazine when you were a kid, it plays out a bit differently than those comics did. It also has no bearing so far on the actual story, but I imagine it will eventually. Or even if not, it’s kind of a cool device.
Flash forward to the present. Or rather, I suppose, the significantly more recent past. This adventure takes place before the events of the previous story arc, and as such, Dirk Gently is still residing and operating out of England. He receives a call from Sally Mills, whom he met in Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul. Don’t remember Sally Mills? I didn’t either. I had to look her up. She’s the nurse who fixes Dirk’s broken nose after he steals her coffee.
Now, Sally is apparently working for the Woodshead clinic, which also featured in Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul, and specialized in unusual afflictions, bordering on the supernatural. Their latest patients are a family of tourists who have lost all ability to communicate, whether by speech, writing, or even simple hand signs. Dirk immediately takes the case that no one has hired him to solve and begins investigating this unusual occurrence.
This story still doesn’t read like Douglas Adams, or like Dirk Gently; however, to make up for it, the writers have packed it absolutely full of references to Dirk’s previous adventures, as well as to Douglas Adams’ writings in general. There are a couple of Easter Eggs that are kind of fun, but this also makes it increasingly difficult to follow my approach of distancing the comic from Douglas Adams’ original works in my mind, and taking them as separate adventures. That, plus a throwaway line about Dirk putting on weight, after my rather lengthy tirade about Comic Dirk being uncharacteristically thin, makes me wonder if the writers are deliberately messing with me. Probably not, but it would be kind of cool.
Despite my usual complaints, this does seem like the beginning of a potentially fun story. I must admit, I’m curious to see where it goes from here. I guess that means I’ll be reviewing the next issue, too. So look forward to more complaining to come.