I’ll start this with a quick plot summary. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visits the offices of Woodcock & Son hoping to hire famous detective Benedick Woodcock whose help he wants exposing Harry Houdini. In his absence his daughter, Minky, agrees to help and the plot thickens via a trip to an erotic medium and a meeting with Houdini’s wife Bess.
As opening issues go this comic is an absolute powerhouse. Interesting and distinct characters, locations and situations absolutely dripping with atmosphere and some of the most gorgeous artwork I’ve seen in comics. It put me in mind of two of my other favourite artists, Fay Dalton and Joelle Jones as both draw beautiful women and have such an eye for style and fashion that even an idiot like me who’s been wearing a variation on the same “jeans and t-shirt” my entire life notices it. Where they are more 40’s / 50’s advertising art though here we get taken back to the 20’s and the attention to detail is impressive as hell and, like I said, looks beautiful.
Even without such artwork, which to be fair could carry the lightest of story, the plot really hooks you in and where often in period comics everyone has the same voice here that isn’t the case. Certain other writers I won’t name who make everyone sound like Dick Van Dyke should take note. The comic opens with the title character writing a fan letter to Agatha Cristie and you can tell that’s a strong influence here although this is definitely a post-watershed version as I imagine we won’t get through this run without a few more adult situations arising, both sexual and violent.
Written and drawn by a female creator and featuring a strong, compelling female lead this comic will probably get pushed and categorised as “worthy and important” but I think labeling it as such would be a total disservice to how damn good it is. It doesn’t need to be put on a pedestal, it’s more than capable of climbing up itself and kicking the crap out of the competition. I’m already making space on the bookshelf for the eventual collection.
I’m just pissed I’m reading an advance copy of this as it means I have to wait more than four weeks till the second issue hits. If you haven’t picked it up from my subtle comments above I’d HIGHLY recommend giving this a look.
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