Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities, Volume 2: The Ghastly Fiend of London Review (Eric Powell, Kyle Hotz)


Billy and the Travelling Freakshow are in merry old Victorian England during the time of the Ripper murders. At the behest of their friend, Joseph Merrick, aka the Elephant Man, Billy and Fineas Sproule venture into Whitechapel to see if they can catch the killer. But Saucy Jack has some dark surprises waiting for them in the shadows… 

Eric “The Goon” Powell writes but doesn’t draw this, instead handing off art duties to Kyle Hotz who produces some awesomely warped-looking pages in his own unique style. Powell gives his own spin on the Ripper murders by creatively mixing in a real life monster, H. H. Holmes aka The Beast of Chicago, and a fictional one, Mr Hyde. But which one - if any - is the Ripper? Powell keeps readers guessing until the surprising end reveal. 

The murder mystery story moves at a decent clip with Powell and Hotz’s version of these alternate times making for a compelling and unpredictable read. Hotz’s Elephant Man is a lot more literal than the real life Joseph Merrick was and there’s a lot of very gory scenes as this Ripper’s body count far exceeds the real life one’s. 

If there’s one weak part of the book it’s the motivation for the big finale, the goal, which was baffling - if the Ripper wanted to kill that person why not do it earlier? Access didn’t seem to be a problem - why wait for that person to be surrounded by people who could potentially halt the murder? 

Other than that this second volume of Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities is a really enjoyable read, full of great writing and imaginative art. If you’re in the mood for an exciting Victorian murder mystery with plenty of horror, this comic hits the spot!

Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities, Volume 2: The Ghastly Fiend of London

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