Action Lab Entertainment 2016
Novel by Peter David
Adapted by Nicole D’Andria
Illustrated by Laura Neubert
Lettered by Justin Birch
So you think you know the story of Fagin and the Artful Dodger well think again in this original story by Peter David we get to see a whole new look and world these characters inhabit. Welcome back to London in 1834 and a look at these characters like we’ve never seen them before.
Harry opens up this issue as we see him accost a carriage driver and finds Fagin in a coffin. Why is dear old Fagin in a coffin? He was hanged the day before so why would Harry want Fagin’s dead body? Turns out there is more to these men than meets the eye, well we saw that when Harry accosted the driver and as Fagin is awoken! These men are supernatural beings the kind that don’t die easily. Suddenly London is much more dangerous than ever before!
Yet how does this all this tie in to our beloved Artful Dodger? As we learn he’s been caught is going to be shipped to Australia, which at this time is nothing more than a penal colony. Only Dodger has other plans and makes good on his escape. And what happens next is a recounting in Dodger’s own words of the events that have led up to the opening of this issue.
There’s some wonderful all-ages artwork going on with the interiors here from Laura. While it still possesses that charm and danger of the times with these new elements it doesn’t go over the top in portraying them as too horrific. This means it’s suitable for more of an all-ages readership. Yes we see things but nothing that with such clarity that it doesn’t engage the mind to fill in the blanks. The use of page layouts through angles, perspective and backgrounds here bring this era back to life beautifully. You get that feeling of who the characters are and that they live in a part of the city that isn’t as well kept.
The writing, dialogue and pacing of the story is extremely well done. Of course it shouldn’t be that hard to take Peter’s story and adapt it and Nicole does an extremely nice job of it. The opening is rather quite effective at grabbing the attention and leaving the reader with the desire to continue reading and see what’s going on. The characterisation is wonderfully done and you feel like you are revisiting old friends. Of course Oliver isn’t here but that’s okay what will happen still remains to be seen and if he’s already off living the high life all the more power to him.
This world has always held a unique fascination for thousands of people over the years and the way that Dodger carries himself and comes across continues to make us want to believe in him. A young man caught up in a life beyond his control and wanting nothing more than to find that which will make him happy. Even if that means he’s got to pick a pocket or two. The magic and whimsy are back and this time around there’s an even deadlier element of danger that will have to be dealt with. Welcome to the world of the Artful Dodger enjoy your stay!