Act IV: Self-Overcoming
Writers: Len Wein; Trainor Houghton
Artists: Claude St. Aubin(p), Moustafa Moussa(i), Blond(c)
Publisher: Penny-Farthing Press
This time Len Wein recaps the complex story comprising the first three acts of The Victorian in an engaging flowchart pointed at by the Hat also known as the title character. When last we left the time travel drama, a pair of crooked cops--one of whom Reyna Starkweather has all the earmarks of a kick-ass female hero but instead cleverly turns out to be a villain--visited Eudora Kinkaid and her grandmother.
Aden, daughter of the head villain, and friend to Eudora through a Tarot reading foreshadowed the visit as being deadly, but the Tarot is open for much interpretation, and death in this case means Baron Samedi, or rather a misidentification of him.
In a normal world, Eudora and her grandmother would have been shot dead and some poor sap framed for the crime, but you are not reading about a normal world. You are reading about the word of the Victorian where heroes wear stovepipe hats and delight in dealing with villainy.
Dialogue by Mr. Wein reflects a very honest pulp flavor. In scenes such as those in this opening of the fourth act, you do not expect the hero to say much of importance in a creative way, but the Hat speaks fluently and with amusement. The novelty is how he conveys the threat to the villains.
Claude St. Aubin's artwork beautifully times the brief fights in the opening. The way in which the Hat's staff strikes a nasty adds to the humor of the scene witnessed through the Victorian's point of view, and in general, his art noveau style with the bright almost spring like colors of Blond reflects the change in tone of the entire story--from the dark mystery to the more fantastic type of yarn commonly featuring Doc Savage or Phileas Ffogg.
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