The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde – Review
I recently had the opportunity to review all four issues of Cole Haddon’s The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde published by Dark Horse. I’ll be honest, this is not the type of comic I would normally pick up at a comic shop. I went into it curious about how I would like something different from my usual superhero fare and I wasn’t disappointed.
Most are likely familiar with the classic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and this take on it is interesting in a number of ways. The story takes place after Mr. Hyde, who had been terrorizing (and killing) Londoners for some years, is finally “killed” by the police. However, his death was slightly exaggerated and in fact Mr. Hyde/Dr. Jekyll has been a prisoner in a cell beneath Scotland Yard for 5 years.
A new Scotland Yard inspector, a Mr. Ayde (he and hide are distant relatives separated by only six letters), who is investigating murders being committed by Jack the Ripper. It also appears the Ripper is using a similar serum to that invented by Dr. Jekyll, the same serum that gave birth to Mr. Hyde.
As one might imagine, Ayde finds himself seeking the help of Jekyll in tracking down the Ripper. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, the four-issue arc was an entertaining read and successfully kept me wanting to read more. The first issue started a bit slowly for me but once it got moving it kept a very fast pace.
A particularly entertaining scene finds Dr. Jekyll in a wax museum where a wax statue of a very animal-like Mr. Hyde ready to smash a baby. Jekyll’s reaction is quite fun, as is seeing how feral Hyde looks compared to the reality of Jekyll’s appearance. The series offers a number of surprises which is a nice change from the good guy always getting the girl, catching the crook and becoming the hero. I was particularly happy with the ending and where Ayde’s character ends up.
Visually the story was brighter than one might expect of a Victorian era tale although I was somewhat distracted by the physical similarities between Ayde and Jekyll. I occasionally had to look close to determine if I was looking at Jekyll or Ayde.
All in all it was a good read, nice art and compelling characters. The book has also motivated me to pull my copy of the original Robert Louis Stevenson novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde off the shelf. I bought it a few months back but am now really excited to compare the differences between Stevenson’s Hyde and Haddon’s version.