Irene Adler is trying to get her hands on some confidential papers. But a new and ruthless player has come onto the picture. Curious? Find out more in Adler #2 from Titan Comics!
Writer: Lavie Tidhar
Artist: Paul McCaffrey
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: David Leach
Publisher: Titan Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 11, 2020
Previously in Adler: Jane Eyre, a nurse and ambulance driver returning home from the Boer War, makes the acquaintance of Irene Adler in a Sherlock Holmesian style – as roommates and as parties to a mystery. Professor Moriarty is up to something and wishes to meet with Adler. She has, or will shortly have, some papers he is desperate to obtain. Little does he know that he is being spied upon by Carmilla, an assassin in the employ of Ayesha, the Queen of the Amazons.
A MURDER AT THE OPERA
One of the convenient things about the Jane Eyre character is that Adler #2 can start out with a summary of the story so far written in her voice. Jane is curious about Adler, so as she does her research, we see a smattering of newspaper headlines hinting at her adventurous life. She then leaves the library, is accosted by a couple men, and then Ayesha rides them down in her chariot. It’s dramatic, if somewhat mind boggling. Is she saving Jane? Abducting her? Simply out for a jaunt around town?
But no, now we’re off to Paris where Mme. Curie, whose home is being spied upon by more Amazons, welcomes the English agent, Mr. Fogg. She gives him a case full of papers to be delivered to Irene Adler. Then she heads to an orphanage where she meets a precocious young girl named Annie, who agrees to go to England to deliver a satchel of papers to Irene Adler. Aha! Real papers and a decoy, it would seem.
Then the story takes a decidedly operatic turn, and not just because the next scene is set at the Royal Opera House (where Adler is performing). Moriarty has the Royal Box this evening, and he arrives at the same time as Prince Rudolph of Ruritania, Irene’s lover but also here to ask about the papers. The curtains rise, and Adler sings. Carmilla sneaks into the Royal Box and garrotes Moriarty. She slips out of the Opera House where Ayesha, in full barbarian queen regalia, awaits in her chariot. A maid finds Moriarty’s body, and the next thing we know, Adler is rushing up to his box with Jane close behind. They determine he’s dead just as Inspector Lestrade arrives. After a little repartee and Adlerian deductions, the women leave.
At home, Adler is incensed. She feels that Ayesha is at the bottom of this, killing people just to spite her. We get Ayesha’s pulp adventure style origin story – she fought the British Empire, but they took over her country and she vowed revenge. But that’s not all, because we’re about to meet a slew of villainous characters, among them Raffles, Jack (the Ripper), and Sebastian Moran (Moriarty’s second). Ayesha has brought them all together and now that Moriarty is dead, apparently is making a move to take over as the leader of this cabal of evil.
It’s ridiculously over the top, somewhat overwrought, and decidedly abrupt in the scene changes. It is, however, entertaining if you are willing to suspend your disbelief for a while.
NOT EXACTLY SUBTLE
The art of Adler #2 fits the tenor of the story. The scenery is quite good. Despite the fact that we now have well over a dozen named characters, each of them is recognizable. The opera scenes (Aida, it would seem) are lovely. The murder scenes are graphic but not too overly gory.
I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the costuming though. Madame Curie has a maid who not only has bobbed hair, but she’s wearing a short little French maid dress, which seems out of place for the time. I like Carmilla’s chauffeur-type outfit, and for her short hair makes more sense. The men are generally fine. And then there’s Ayesha and her Amazons. Tall boots, bikini armor, and Ayesha’s giant headdress are not exactly subtle, especially for sneaking around London and Paris presumably surreptitiously. They’re lovely, they’re dramatic, they would look great in the opera, but they just don’t blend in every day street wear.
BOTTOM LINE: STILL PRETTY FUN
Adler #2 is not deep. It’s a little rough around the edges and even a bit bombastic, but it has a good amount of energy and there’s more to the women than just being pretty.
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Adler’s archenemy, Ayesha the barbarian Queen, marshals her gang of bad guys.