"Bosco & Fleet: Detectives of the Occult Sciences" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Sideways 8 Studios
Written and Illustrated by Jeff Pina
2014, 32 Pages
When you think of buddy cop movies, your mind probably jumps to stuff like Lethal Weapon or 48 Hours. Odds are, you're not thinking of an octopus and a gorilla solving crimes in 1890 London. Bosco & Fleet are about to change that. Creator Jeff Pina has brought forth what are perhaps the oddest detectives out of Scotland Yard.
No reason is given as to how these creatures can talk, much less investigate homicides, but it's not necessary for the story. A new officer on the force gives the pair a strange look, but his veteran partner is quick to shut him up. These two animals are some of the best detectives London has. Who cares if they look a little different?
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At first glance, you'd think that Fleet would be the Sherlock Holmes of the bunch while Bosco is a bumbling strong man. You'd only be half right. Fleet is definitely the smart one, but Bosco is no oaf. He's capable of making his own observations in addition to beating someone senseless. Their relationship is one of mutual respect. Fleet never talks down to Bosco. They work together towards a common goal. There's actually a great scene where they've both gathered some facts about the case and are rambling them off to one another in a way that only makes sense to them.
This one-shot comic has the team called in to investigate the strange murder of Dr. Hans Eberlein, a descendant of famous mad scientist. The body was found with suction cup marks over his face, which makes for an awkward moment when Fleet shows up on the scene. The case brings them to the docks and a heated battle with some reanimated monsters led by a mysterious creature bent on destroying London.
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Pina's artwork is playful with a hint of horror mixed in. The violence isn't gruesome or explicit, even though the book opens up with a corpse with its head spun clean around. Bosco looks like the kind of ape you just want to hug, but then instantly regret as he prepares to tear your arms off. Fleet is bristly, showing an air of intelligence and confidence, but he's not above getting his hands...err...tentacles dirty.
Bosco & Fleet: Detectives of the Occult Sciences lays the groundwork for what I hope leads to many more comics. The artwork is gorgeous. The story is intriguing. Although this is a self-contained tale, there are hints at what may be coming down the line, including a Moriarty-like villain, pulling strings behind the scenes. It's tough for a comic set in London in 1890 starring a pair of detectives as it will instantly be compared to Sherlock Holmes. Bosco & Fleet carves its own niche, away from the literary icon, in a supernatural corner that he would never dare tread.