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Review: The InSpectres - Volume 1
From Blue Fox Comics
Landing through my post box and after a successful Kickstarter campaign. The first volume of The InSpectres is out in the wild now from Blue Fox Comics.
Set in England during the late Victorian era, famed author Arthur Conan Doyle must push aside his scepticism of the supernatural with the emergence of Spring-Heeled Jack, a mysterious phantom of urban legend.
This sets in motion the revival of The InSpectres, a secret society devoted to the investigation of the occult originally formed by Charles Dickens, and brings together, alongside Doyle, Harry Houdini, Bram Stoker and ten-year-old Agatha Christie to try and save London from a deadly, paranormal event.
By Jarod Hunter Roe & David R. Flores
Pulling together a classic ensemble cast, The InSpectres takes us into the supernatural and the darker aspects of times gone by…
Kicking off this story, we begin in the further past. A young Arthur Conan Doyle has his first encounter with The InSpectres where, as a child, he is (slightly) involved with capturing the current Spring-Heeled Jack.
This introduction starts the ball rolling and helps add to the cast of characters well-known to many for their past or future works. Charles Dickens makes some interesting appearances, not only as one of the original InSpectres but also in a slight Ob-Wan Kenobi way. He hints towards some of the answers and impacts what is to come.
Doyle is also struggling. Not only is there the ghost of his greatest creation - Sherlock Holmes, mentioned throughout the story, and you can see how the detective’s potential return is not only causing issues for Doyle but there are also so many people asking after him - piling on the pressure.
Doyle is also dealing with his wife's illness - someone who is bright and forthright in their own way. You can see the difficulty that Doyle has with both of these situations.
Then there is the return of Spring-Heeled Jack.
This return sets off an interesting series of events that pulls in other famous people from this world. We get Harry Houdini, who is more involved in the mystical, which builds on a real-life relationship between the two. His form of escapism and magic does build into the story and adds a good dimension to it. Bram Stoker, he of Dracula, is an interesting character. There is some excellent research into the story, which shows when Stoker is parting his knowledge of the occult and the monsters you could expect. There is an interesting blurring of the lines between the real and the mystical in this story.
Agatha Christie makes an interesting character, with her appearing at certain times and being even more involved than expected in some parts of the story.
As well work our way through the story, we get a good look at Victorian London, with various locations. These really build into the feel of the story. Dark and misty nights, moonlit chases through the streets and graveyards. There is some excellent action, with battles with mysterious giants, as well as tension in breaking into places and some jumps too.
There are some excellently shown scenes. With some good character moments between the three (or four) main characters, but that isn’t to say that the side characters get left out. There are wives, mothers, inspectors and other supporting characters that are well shown.
The more mystical elements play out well - in terms of the story and the artwork. I especially enjoyed the seance, as the build and cons are played out well until we get the twist.
The story moves along nicely, and just as we think we get some (not all) of the answers, there is an excellent cliffhanger to finish this volume. There are some excellent references and something I hope to see more of in the future.
A fantastic evening read and something that really draws you in.
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