Sherlock Holmes in The Curious Case of the Vanishing Villain – Gordon Rennie

4 out of 5

love that this was one of the first things that Rennie wrote, because it’s so much dang fun.  So was White Trash, come to think of it, which was his first published work, and so is his modern output…  Uh, right, Rennie is a consistently good writer.

And yes, you are correct in suspecting this to be League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – artist Woodrow Phoenix’s loose style is more reminiscent of From Hell’s Eddie Campbell than Kevin O’Neill, but the use of literary characters (Holmes, Dr. Jekyll) and a League-adjacent artist will surely have your mustache hairs a bristling with ‘rip-off!’ claiming fury.  …But I’m only encouraging this suspicion, which I had as well, because then you also get to be bushwhacked with glee when Rennie turns out to not be writing LoEG at all.

Yes, literary characters.  The catch here, though, is that they find out that they’re literary characters.  Indeed, Dr. Jekyll has hired our titular detective to find a missing person: Mr. Hyde.  Womp womp.

There are moments where Rennie perhaps winks a bit too hard at the reader, lampshading narrative devices and such, but otherwise, this three-part jaunt through Holmes’, Hyde’s, and others’ worlds is quite spectacular, with Phoenix a uniquely good match with his composite of styles for communicating the tones of the different locales.

The first part of this story made it into Blast! magazine; we’ll assume the other two parts would have followed had the mag not ended.  Thankfully, Atomeka saw fit to gather up the pieces and put ’em to print in a regular sized issue.