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April 6, 2011

Dark Horse Reviews: The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde #1

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Written by: Mac
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Mr. HydeThe Strange Case of Mr. Hyde #1
Cole Haddon
Artist: M. S. Corely
Colorist: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Dark Horse

It can be wonderful when a comic revisits and reinvents classic tales, but few pull from stories so rich as that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, let alone from the tales of Jack the Ripper. Want to know more? How’s this for a comic synopsis?

Sometimes good police work just isn’t enough, as Inspector Thomas Adye of Scotland Yard finds out when he’s assigned to the Jack the Ripper case. He’ll need the guidance of imprisoned madman and amoral libertine, Dr. Henry Jekyll, whose mind-splitting serum Jack might be using to commit his bloody murders. Written by Cole Haddon and illustrated by M.S. Corley, part 1 of Hyde sets in motion events that will pit London’s two greatest monsters against one another. Will Adye–and his soul–survive intact?

Being a fan of both Jekyll and Hyde as well as Jack the Ripper, there was no way I could resist flinging my arm up into the air grade school style at the chance to read The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde #1. There is so little really known about the actual Jack the Ripper that it is easy to take the character in any given direction. Once I heard his name paired up with that of Mr. Hyde, I sort of had a “d’oh” moment. How did no one think of this before? What a brilliant couple of characters to bring together.

I do have to say, while the concept is interesting, I felt as though the first issue was a smidge slow. Granted, there is time needed to build up the story, and back stories need to be laid out for those not already familiar with them. I was, however, quite pleased at a few of the more obscure references worked into the issue, such as the inclusion of Dr. Moreau and a reference to Spring Heeled Jack. Writer, Cole Haddon, also did a good job of replicating the parlance of the time frame in which the comic is set. It can be difficult to stay true to the proper colloquialisms without alienating readers that are unfamiliar with the speech patterns.

The part I’m most interested in seeing developed is the interaction between Inspector Adye and the incarcerated Dr. Jekyll. There’s almost a Silence of the Lambs vibe to it. Getting the information he is demanding may be more costly to Adye than he thinks. Jekyll doesn’t seem above mind games, and it’s unclear as to whether or not the presence of Hyde is entirely gone.

The art for the book by M.S. Corely is also interesting. There’s sort of a firmness to the outlines that works well with the more muted palette. I honestly can’t imagine this book with any other sort of color scheme.

Now that the story is set, I have a feeling that the next issue will really take off and launch us into some rather interesting territory, and definitely into more gore. This title isn’t out yet, but you can pick up your copy when it launches on April 27th! Also, stay tuned for an interview with series writer, Cole Haddon.

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Mac Beauvais

An advanced PDF of this issue was provided by the publisher for review.



  1. Billy

    Sounds fantastic! Great review Mac.

  2. You’re right, why hasn’t anyone thought of this before! Seems like an intriguing little tale. Do you know how many issues this series will last?

  3. Mac

    I know there are at least four issues in the works with the hope that there will be much more to follow.

  4. […] thanks to Cole Haddon, and be sure to pick up a copy of The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde on April 27th (click here for a review of the issue)! And if this interview wasn’t amazing enough to get your interest, […]

  5. I just can’t wait for this series to come out! I saw the preview of the first few pages of it, and I’m really excited – it seems to me to be a bit like ordinary Jekyll and Hyde with a touch of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (what with its many crossovers) mixed with a Holmesian detective tale and Jack the Ripper. Truly, that is an epic combination!

    The art certainly looks satisfactory – it’s not as fancy as some Jekyll and Hyde graphic novels, but there are also a lot of graphic novel adaptations that have done much, much worse. And as you mentioned, the style here has a good solidity and firmness to it. From the sample pages I’ve read of it, the color palette strikes just the right balance, neither too bright nor too muted, with a good use of contrast.

    It’s funny that you said “Once I heard his name [Jack the Ripper’s] paired up with that of Mr. Hyde, I sort of had a “d’oh” moment. How did no one think of this before?”, because actually Jack the Ripper is a story that’s been combined with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde several times in film adaptations of J&H – but unlike in this comic, in the movies “Edge of Sanity” and “Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde”, Hyde himself (or herself, in the case of the latter film) IS the Ripper, unlike in the Strange Case of Hyde, where it seems that he and the Ripper are separate.

    There have also been quite a few crossovers between Jekyll and Hyde and Sherlock Holmes in book and comic forms. The focus that Strange Case of Hyde seems to have on the detective mystery story elements reminds me of them. It also makes me think of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde/Batman crossover comic “Batman: Two Faces”, for some odd reason I can’t quite put my finger on.

    In any case, nice review! I’m very excited to read the comic itself.

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