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Book Review < Back

Scarlet Traces

Credits: Written by Ian Edginton and Illustrated by D'Israeli
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Commentary

Victorian London. Ten years after a failed Martian invasion of Earth. Assimilated alien technology has pumped new life into a thriving British Empire. All said, it's a pretty good day for the Union Jack. Except for those dead girls washing up on the shores of the Thames...

SCARLET TRACES is a horror sci-fi murder mystery that is distinctively and totally English. It's as if Edginton and D'Israeli have somehow distilled the best elements of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Who and have dropped them into a Merchant-Ivory production of Mars Attacks!. Surprisingly enough, it all works somehow because it maintains its dramatic compass and never strays into camp. It's also terribly funny, but in that very, very dry Brit kind of way.

SCARLET TRACES marks the second collaboration between Edginton and D'Israeli, the first being the excellent Kingdom of the Wicked, one of the more provocative and compelling graphic novels of its time. D'Israeli is no doubt familiar to the artbomb faithful as well, having worked with Warren Ellis on Lazarus Churchyard in addition to illustrating an original web comic for some graphic novel review site.

If you told me about a book that completely omits an alien invasion in favor of telling a Victorian steampunk mystery set during its aftermath, I'd say you were completely mad. But if you told me it was written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by D'Israeli, I'd simply nod my head in understanding.

-- Peter Aaron Rose

 
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.

 


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