Action Lab Entertainment 2015
Written by John Reilly
Illustrated by Tom Rogers
Coloured & Lettered by Dexter Weeks
I like that we open with Mr. Houdini and Cromley with Amelia Earhart. That this Cromley guy thinks he’s such badass makes me laugh but apparently he does possess a modicum of skill to bring him to that place. How Houdini gets free however is another story and the mystery that keeps surrounding Mrs. Lovecraft well that just enrichens. John’s doing a very, very good job in weaving some magnificent mystery into the surrounding characters.
Meanwhile the boys and Mr. Clemens still have that golem to contend with. This golem is probably one of those moments that really allows Tom’s mind and talent to shine. While we might never fully understand the real relationship between Tesla and Clemons there’s obviously more here than meets the eye. While Lovecraft does wonder aloud why I doubt he’ll find any answers forthcoming to satisfy his curiosity.
I find it oddly fascinating that during all this Sam is really nonplussed about what’s happening around him. That after being snatched by the Wilde golem he decides to use his own war of words upon him in some literary “rap” style face off was both incredibly fun and odd at the same time. I guess both could be thought of having over inflated egos but this was weird and fun to see happen. Also it gives John the chance to really let loose with some fun characterization with Samuel.
The writing of these characters is really what makes this series so darn good. It seems that each time H.P. and Nikola go out to do something their teamwork improves. As if they are becoming more in synch with each others actions and could be one of those odd couple teams that history will back upon favourably.
There’s a very interesting interlude happening in Vienna. A young man obviously homeless and seemingly off his rocker goes around trying to find a job. He’s very confident if brusk in demeanor and doesn’t make friends of anyone easily. What happens to him here and the change we see in him is important but not as much as the man who ushers that change in. He’s something more than human possibly with ties into the occult and that encounter suddenly makes so much more sense as the course this man’s life takes. Ah who this man is you’ll have to read the story to find out.
The final scene between Samuel Clemens and Nikola Tesla well it gives some answers but not nearly anything concrete. You see through the artwork that something is amiss with the way Sam responds to something Nikola said. Strange portents indeed and what is the end game here I mean we can some machinations in play but why? See I like John’s writing because he makes you want to know more. He leaves you with a bewildered look on your face and ensures you be back.
Now we see H.P. at home with his mother and Houdini in his younger visage, quite different from the older gentleman that went to the seance. Which was the disguise and is the young man we saw in that otherworldly place the one sitting here now the real one or has something else happened to regress his age? Oh that and his lovely double sided coin leads to yet another mystery.
This is on it’s surface an all ages book but it has plenty of great stuff for adults and older teens. The use of so many historical figures being woven into the lives of both men make the world seem such a smaller place. Those same figures spark interest in younger ones to learn more about them and older ones to refamiliarize with them. This is an engaging series full of the unexpected and that’s what makes it fun.