The trail to Ayesha is paved with dead bodies. Can Adler stop her before too many are brought low? Find out in Adler #3 from Titan Comics!
Writer: Lavie Tidhar
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: David Leach
Publisher: Titan Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 19, 2020
Previously in Adler: Ayesha (Queen of the Amazons) has come to London as part of her revenge against the British Empire for having taken over her country. She’s been busy – riding her chariot around London, sending some of her Amazons to Paris, and hanging out with some serious bad guys. In Paris, Mme. Curie has paper to deliver to Irene Adler. She gives these to the English agent, Mr. Fogg…or does she? She also gives a satchel of papers to an orphan girl named Annie. Moriarty goes to the Opera, where Adler is singing, and is garroted there by the assassin Carmilla. This is all part of Ayesha’s plot – with Moriarty out of the picture, she makes a move to take over the underworld of London!
AN EXCEPTIONAL WOMAN MEETS HER MATCH
Adler #3 opens with a ship disembarking in England. Annie is among the passengers, and she finds a cab to take her to London. It’s been a few months since the last issue, but I believe Mr. Fogg also arrives on the same ship. He hails a cab which happens to have a woman driver. She and her cohorts kill him and take his satchel.
Adler has a visitor – Colonel Sebastian Moran. He thought he had killed Ayesha years ago, but now is concerned that somehow she is back. Did she survive his attack, or could she be immortal? As he talks, Jane notes the glint of a rifle across the way and shouts a warning – too late! Carmilla (for it is she) was aiming for Moran’s head and hits him in the chest. He still dies and at this point, Annie arrives with her satchel of papers from Mme. Curie. Adler decrees they must go to see Miss Havisham at once and leaves her housekeeper to call Lestrade about the body of Colonel Moran in the parlor.
Miss Havisham is using heavy weaponry to shoot watermelons in her backyard. Adler gets her attention and she lets them in. After studying the papers, she informs them that they are plans for a weapon using and magnifying radioactivity, a sort of death ray.
Cut to Ayesha who has apparently been busy building one of these death rays already, and we get a flashback from her. This ray is powered by crystals from the mines in her country. These are located in a poisonous death zone, so either the mines themselves are dangerous, or perhaps the British takeover made them so; this is not clear. At any rate, she has to dramatically test the death ray out. Yep, it sure is a death ray. So far so good, but Ayesha also wants to be rid of Irene Adler. Carmilla assures her that she is being taken care of as they speak.
LOVELY, DEADLY WOMEN
The art of Adler #3 is strong and distinctive. It’s kind of fun to see all manner of very effective women on both sides. Many liberties have been taken with characters to make them fit the pulp-adventure style plot. Miss Havisham has no time to languish in a wedding dress. Although she does wear white, it is jodphurs, boots, jacket with lots of buckles, and a soft helmet with goggles. I rather like her poison-green lipstick, but it is certain eccentric.
When Ayesha tries out her death ray, she turns it on Belle, a young woman who betrayed her. While Mr. Fogg and Colonel Moran died bloodily but fairly quickly, we linger on Belle’s death to get the whole picture of just what this weapon does. It is fairly horrifying.
BOTTOM LINE: THE PLOT BECOMES MORE COHESIVE
While Adler #3 still feels like it’s racing to get through the plot, everything seems to hang together a little better in this issue. I’m still a little puzzled by how Ayesha got her death ray before getting the instructions for building it, but the book is entertaining enough to do a little hand waving and get on with it.