Written by: Warren Ellis
Art by: Gianluca Pagliarani
I certainly was not expecting the kind of story that I got from this "Graphic Novella" (that anywhere else would have been called a "Prestige Format One-Shot"). What I got was one of the most unique of Warren Ellis' Apparat Releases to date. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Warren Ellis' Apparat line an explanation is probably in order. It started back in 2004 when Ellis decided that too few of the comic publishers were taking advantage of the phenomenon known as "The 5th Wednesday". Basically comics are scheduled to come out monthly and for all intents and purposes comic publishers only plan for 4 Wednesday months. But occasionally (usually only 3 or 4 times a year) there will be a 5th Wednesday. What this often results in is one really weak week of releases. While companies have gotten a little bit better at anticipating events like this (I mean all you have to do is look at a calendar) no one has figured out quite such an interesting way of utilizing the 5th Wednesdays as Warren Ellis. To date he has released 6 projects under the Apparat banner. In 2004 he released: Angel Stomp Future, Frank Ironwine, Quit City, and Simon Spektor each of which was (ostensibly) a one shot story set in a genre that Ellis thought might have been more popular had Super-Heroic fiction not subsumed the entire industry. Then in 2007 he released (the highly overlooked and incredibly awesome) Crecy, a historic tale of the Battle of Crécy where a much smaller British force defeated a much larger French force thanks to the English Longbow. Now we have the kind of tale that only creators like Ellis, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and perhaps Grant Morrison could get away with telling. 1907 London is under attack from the Ruritarians. Technology has become much more evolved thanks to the practice of Aetheric Mechanics, allowing for much more controlled flight due to the bending of space and time. What might seem like a simple murder mystery in an alternate history becomes much more as Sax Raker (a man who seems to be very much like Sherlock Holmes) welcomes home his erstwhile companion, Doctor Richard Watcham (a man who seems to be very much like Dr. John H. Watson). Things become very complex in the mystery they title "The Case of The Man Who Wasn't There". Really a must read for all Ellis fans, especially those who are fans of Planetary or who loved Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
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