Current Reviews


The Victorian #22

Posted: Saturday, January 24, 2004
By: Ray Tate

Writer: Len Wein, Trainor Houghton
Artists: Claude St. Aubin(p), James Taylor(i), Mike Garcia(c)
Publisher: Penny-Farthing

Half the fun for regular readers of the Victorian is to see how the writer and the artist will recap the previous acts and scenes within those acts. This month Len Wein and Claude St. Aubin encapsulate the events in the confines of falling poker chips. Why can't other teams behind their books think this creatively?

This issue of The Victorian serves as a good point for new readers to hail a Hansom cab and take the cobblestone streets to the steamy regions of New Orleans where our story takes place. With the identity of the maniac behind the theft of the missiles, behind the counterfeit money scheme and behind the deaths of organized criminals revealed, Laszlo--the Hat, the Victorian--steps up his surveillance and begins enacting his contingency plans.

The discovery of the villain's true identity in last issue's cliffhanger drastically changes the Victorian's plans, and he succinctly explains why in a moment of history shaped by his nemesis. The scene nicely displays just how dangerous the villain of the piece happens to be, and this archness gives credence to every smart step Laszlo takes. Equally nasty is the villain's complicity in Aden's mental illness.

The suspicions borne from another flashback prove correct and very damaging for Laszlo's operation as the Order of the Blue Rose's membership begins to display the thorns of a war fought between the moments of time and in the corner of the eye. Just when you think you have things figured out, Laszlo makes a final bold move that leaves the book on a tantalizing finale.

Claude St. Aubin provides the distinctive look for the book. When I refer to the artwork as distinctive, do not misread. All the work ascribes to the teachings of anatomy, proportion and scale, but there's a delicate touch to the panels that's not often found in super-hero or pulp fare. The school of the art noveau graces his pencils and brushes, and that's not a movement which so often lends itself to action or dark dealings. Equally though, the story is about subterfuge, and in such a case, you want the artwork to visually be commanding, in part also due to the near acrylic colors.

The curtain falls on another act in the Victorian, but the story still has much to offer even for those just beginning their perusal. Masterful artwork combined with a multi-layered structure to a fascinating story makes the Victorian a special treat.

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