By Andy Frisk
July 16, 2009 - 21:30
Poe #1 tells the first part of the tale of Edgar Allan Poe’s tormented life. It’s not a biography or historical work, but a fictional tale of the poet and writer. Writer J. Barton Mitchell images a Poe who is a master detective capable of utilizing great powers of observation that rival Sherlock Holmes’ observational powers, and those of Poe’s own creation August Dupin. Dupin is the fictional detective and hero of Poe’s tale “The Murders in The Rue Morgue.” Mitchell’s fictional Poe has an extra ability that goes beyond his well developed powers of perception. Poe is haunted by, and can see ghostly images of, the recent past, especially at locations where violent murders, suicides, or such crimes have occurred. This ability makes him appear mad, and he is potentially mad, albeit only to a certain degree. His abilities help him become his brother’s unofficial partner. His brother is a police officer, and a bit of a detective himself.
Poe looks to be a supernatural/detective story type of series. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done in the past, but the use of a protagonist who was a real life literary figure makes this series worth a look. If Mitchell continues to use references and quotes from the real Poe’s works, then this series could continue to be of interest, at least for the fact that it may introduce young readers to the real Poe’s works. Anytime a comic book or pop culture work can get young (and old) readers interested in reading the classics, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
Kotz’s art fits the gothic horror setting, and he recreates the 19th century setting pretty well. Kotz mentions in his short interview at the end of this issue titled, “BOOM! Talks With Poe Artist Dean Kotz,” that he did research into 19th century “period detail,” and it shows. Digikor Studios’ dark and heavy colors really add to the book’s atmosphere as well. Most pages are quite dark, and reflective of the 19th century’s gas lit streets and interiors.
Overall, Poe #1 is a decent read with some pretty good artwork. As the series progresses it should open up more, and perhaps take more of a fantastic path. Poe’s biggest appeal looks to be its protagonist though, as Poe is a highly recognizable name, and will catch your local comic shop’s browsers’ eyes.
Rating: 7 /10