Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Oh, yes . . . Irene . . .

 One of the most annoying things about the modern comic book industry is multiple covers upon a single issue of a comic book. Have I bought a comic a second time, thinking I missed an issue? Yes. Is my collection of Titan Comics Adler a incoherent mix of variant covers? Yes.

Peoria is not a town where smaller comic titles are well stocked, and something as specialized as Adler has to come in from your pull list to make sure you get it, and you get what you get. The first two issues had as little cover art on the version I got as a 1970s Baker Street Journal. (Really! Just one small silhouette as the only actual art on a tiny part of the cover.)  The third issue's artist had a style that didn't really suit the rest of the book, and the fourth, while closer to the interior art, wasn't the one by the guy who draws the comic itself, which is all I really want from a comic book.

Nobody wants to start reading a comic pissed off, as the form is short enough that it takes one great story to change your mood in the time allotted. And as I can't remember reading issues two or three at this point, this seemed like a good time to sit down and read all four issues of this Irene Adler book.

I remembered Adler as being League of Extraordinary Gentlemen done with literary ladies. Irene doesn't show up until eight pages in, with Miss Havisham introducing battlefield nurse Jane a few pages later after Irene is done beating up one of Moriarty's assassins. Sherlock Holmes and Watson are off in Dartmoor dealing with the hound of the Baskervilles, so it appears Irene and Jane must fill similar roles.

But the tale soon forgets about Sherlock Holmes, veers sharply away from the familiar Holmes Canon, and gives Moriarty an underworld full of Sherlockian and non-Sherlockian crooks . . . until they aren't Moriarty's any more. There's an overabundance of characters in this book, and we see so much of them that if the comic was titled Havisham or Ayeesha, one might not know the difference.

After four issues, I'm still not sure who Irene Adler is, other than "fighting adventure gal" and none of the characters has really stuck. Ayeesha is kind of an evil Victorian Wonder Woman who is very proud of her abs. Miss Havisham comes across as a brothel owner/scientist. And in 2020, you really have to wonder why a comic book full of women from literature and history isn't being done by female creators.

Enola Holmes has come along and set a new bar for Sherlockian spin-offs since Adler first began its action-movie styled run, and, well, you just don't bring in Jack the Ripper in issue two for a cameo and then . . . kind of just ignore him? (They kill a random cabbie a couple of issue later that I think might have been him, but this comic just has a lot of random things going on.)

I don't know if Irene Adler would be helped by a good adaptation at this point, or if we should all just quietly back away and let her lead her happy wedded life with Godfrey Norton. (Who does not appear in Adler, like Sherlock Holmes, btw.) She's been through enough, and a good deal of it in Adler.

No comments:

Post a Comment