Following the slow-paneled mediation of William Gull’s abominable murder and dissection of Marie Kelly, we come into Part 8 of the From Hell Master Edition: The Unfortunate Mr. Druitt. Rather than mine the changes within the art, the color palette within From Hell offers a new angle.
While the colors do soften the stark contrasts that were found within the original black-and-white version of From Hell, they breathe new life into the master work. This is at its finest in displaying the reverberations of the Ripper murders. It properly highlights the varied levels of society and individuals that were not only rooted within the aftermath of these atrocious murders, but sees how they affected the future of the individuals involved, and thus society as a whole. What’s even stronger with the masterful use of color (guided by original artist Eddie Campbell along with Peter Mullins to assist) is the clarity for the story. Upon reading in black and white, it makes the varied plot lines indistinguishable, with moments where it took thought to understand individual characters. Here, the color not only breathes new life into the story but offers the reader a chance to actually distinguish and follow the visual cues with the powerful narrative that Alan Moore constructed.
The issue opens with a relevant epigraph from Oscar that assesses how society is rooted from these sacrificial murders, and that these offerings are supported by the systems entrenched within society. Here, the issue covers the Masons covering up the murders and begins to highlight their means of using the innocent Mr. Druitt as a scapegoat of sorts; however, the real point of this issue is to humanize or even flesh out how this case has affected Abberline, the detective investigating the Ripper case. In the last issue, he formed a kindred connection to Marie Kelly. Following the final murder and receiving a letter from Marie Kelly, the weight of this loss truly humanizes him. In Kelly, he found a form of escape, but with the final murder and receipt of the letter, that escape is forever closed off to him. In Abberlines’s last scene of this chapter, we understand this weight when he states, “You feel as if you’re drowning in it, you want to ‘ang on, just ‘ang on to someone. I’m not as strong as I thought I was once… Just don’t let go of me.” In many ways, this summarizes the sacrificial lambs of From Hell – people who are drowned into a wave that they cannot control.
Creative Team: Alan Moore (writer), Eddie Campbell (artist), Peter Mullins (artist)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
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