The Alienist: Inhuman Natures (pkgd. w/ JD Meg #438) – Gordon Rennie & Emma Beeby, Various

3 out of 5

It’s been a while since we’ve seen The Alienist from Rennie, despite this strip leaving us in a potentially interesting place for continuing. I really loved the general setup for the title, with “Miss Madelyn Vespertine” an otherworldly being disguising herself as the assistant to spiritual detective Sebastian Weatherall, when in reality the former uses her magic and telepathy to manage the situations for the latter, who’s nothing but a drunken actor. The set of progs collected here – Inhuman Natures – were really great at first, introducing the weird “Edward Praetorius” as something of an archenemy for Madelyn, and giving us more info on her mysterious background and the Whys of her presence, but I felt they tailed off at the end, rushed in both story and art; that reaction is maintained even when reading them collected. It almost feels like Rennie & Beeby realized / were told that the strip wasn’t getting a strong reaction, and so decided to wrap things up sooner than intended, while still keeping the door open just in case they’d want to return. Either that, or, as the art always becomes rougher as it goes along, perhaps they were losing artist Eoin Coveney and so sped up for the same reasons. Either way, Inhuman Natures becomes pretty messy by the end.

The floppy is then filled out with some Terror Tales odds and ends, and the ones collected here hover between less-than-great and interesting, with a couple of entries from David Baillie generally being the better ones. I suspect these were just included to stick with Alienist’s b&w look and horror theme, though, so they’re essentially page padding, no other link to that material.