"The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Cole Haddon
Illustrated by M.S. Corley
2011, 96 Pages
Graphic Novel released on February 22nd, 2012
We've all heard the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There have been numerous movies with their own spin on the subject, including one where Eddie Murphy is in a fat suit. Two of those, actually. What we haven't seen -- as far as I know -- is what happens next. Author Cole Haddon has put together the most interesting twist on this classic tale I've ever seen in The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde.
The comic takes place five years after all that business went down with Hyde killing Jekyll's fiancee Milicent. It turns out that he's not dead as the public was led to believe. Instead, he's been held under Scotland Yard for treatment and evaluation. That serum of his is quite interesting to the powers that be, so they can't get rid of him yet. It certainly doesn't hurt that he's one charming bastard. After a rigorous bout of psychological tests, it is believed that Jekyll has returned and Hyde has been banished to the deepest recesses of his psyche. It doesn't change the fact that he's a murderer, though.
When young and naive Inspector Adye needs help solving a series of murders involving prostitutes and what appears to be a super-powered assailant, he turns to Jekyll for guidance. What follows is eerily similar to The Silence of the Lambs, with Jekyll taking the role of Hannibal Lecter and Adye as Clarice Starling. It's fascinating to watch the two discuss the case and close in on the murderer, which turns out to be (and I'm not spoiling anything here) the legendary Jack the Ripper. That's right. It's a mashup!
Click images to enlarge.
Haddon puts these two villains on a similar path and the effects are marvelous. Adye and Jekyll track down Jack, but all the while it's tough to get a read on Jekyll. Is he reverting to Hyde? Or is that just how he is, now that he's remembered everything he did under his evil personality? Adye starts out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but quickly learns from his pseudo-partner.
M.S. Corley handled the art for The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde. His style fits the era that the story takes place in and it certainly matches the tone. Something about it didn't sit right, and it took a little while to figure it out. It's the way that he draws the hair on his characters. I know it sounds trivial, but many of the people in the story have this combed over hair that Corley draws as big locks in almost Norman Osborn levels of weird haircuts. They look like they have heads made of yarn.
The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde is an incredibly well-written story. The author Cole Haddon also wrote a screenplay for the book, which makes total sense as I can see how the comic can translate very easily to the screen. If you're at all interested in Jekyll & Hyde or Jack the Ripper, this is well worth checking out.