“You have made me ruin a perfectly good, new notebook!” - Sherlock Holmes
Holmes and Watson are on the trail of the Marquis of Frankenstein when Holmes is diverted by a new case. Maybe because it involves Orphans, Christmas, and artworks. Our dynamic duo are soon intrigued as to why only certain pieces of art have been vandalised at a local auction house and other artwork has been left intact. Holmes doesn't for a moment believe the destruction is caused by working class vandals, and what is the strange white powder her finds at the scene? And if that's not enough to keep Holmes and Watson busy over the festive season there is still the case of a haunted Showman that will require every instinct Holmes has to solve.
Issue Six of The Dark Detective caught many of us by surprise with Black House delivering something of an early Christmas present. With Issue five we had a new story arc to be grooving to, folks were happy with their year's dose of Gothic Holmes, and all was right with the world. Clearly Editor Bagen decided to hit it one more time in 2010 and I would have to say that the comic's growing legion of fans would not have been disappointed in the resulting magazine.
While things start with Holmes and Watson hot on the trail of the nefarious Masque of Frankenstein, their attention is soon diverted by an attack on a local art auction house. Seems our current Antagonists are not the only ones out and about with seasonal capers. In a well constructed story Christopher Sequeira seeds the clues and allows the Reader time to make their own deduction, whether or not you will solve the crime before Holmes is between you and your confessor. I got it partially right, but missed a couple of pertinent details that Watson discovered. There's also a whiff of conspiracy happening in this story with a major surprise ending that I didn't see coming.
Notably Holmes' “Irregulars” are introduced in this issue, I assume they will take greater focus in future issues.
While the comic itself is a self contained mystery there's some added bonuses coming your way in this bumper Christmas edition. We get a mini gallery drawn by a number of artists to be going on with; I was particularly taken by Jan Scherpenhuizen's The Marquis of Frankenstein that illustrates said Marquis daintily drinking, one assumes tea, from an impossibly fragile looking cup while reading Watson's A Study In Scarlet.
And in a surprise move Issue 6 also includes a short story, The Adventure of the Haunted Showman, supposedly penned by John H. Watson, though suspicions fall on Christopher Sequeira as the real writer. W. Chew Chan provides illustrations throughout. While the story is another mystery with a supposed supernatural flavour it also appears to be further along the Holmes timeline than the actual comics have been set. A note at the end of the story confirms this to be the case and highlights the effect the writing of Watson would have had on Holmes' reputation. During the preceding comic, Watson is concerned about a story he has written, the infamous A Study In Scarlet (there's a quiz question), based on the duo's exploits that have leaked into published form. So while this is a Christmas bonus there's still the feeling of things moving in The Dark Detective world.
As usual the artwork is of a high standard, with no one hitting the Christmas sherry early and letting the team down. A full coloured U.S comic book sized issue isn't something you see everyday in Australian publishing circles, so it's worth supporting when one comes along to dazzle and delight us. If you haven't got your Dark Detective on yet then you are really missing one of the best series ever devised Down Under. As usual full recommendation on The Dark Detective, why are you still reading this dribble, go and secure your copy today.
A final note about the cover. Once again Dave Elsey shows why he is one of the most sort after cover artists working today. It's simply magnificent and I would urge Black House to consider the Tee option as both a sort after Aussie Icon and an advertising stream.
Newsflash : Dave Elsey and Rick Baker (model for Professor Moriarty render) have been nominated for an Oscar for their work on The Wolfman. Outstanding Guys! Fingers are crossed here in the ScaryMinds bunker that the little golden idol is yours!
For once I think I have brought a review in about right in terms of wordage, booyeah!
Right for those who want to get their grubby paws on what will become a collectors item, The Dark Detective Issue 6 is available via Black Boox or from all good Newsagents. If your local isn't stocking the magazine then demand they get it in else you'll go 18th Century Vandal on their arse. Tell them the price Son, a shockingly low $5 plus P&H.
ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...br> br> An unexpect Xmas gift from Black House.