A Study In Emerald by Neil Gaiman, Dark Horse 2018.
This comic book retelling of a short story originally published in 2003 is one that I have been looking forward to ever since it was announced a while back. Adapted from Gaiman’s original prose by Rafael Scavone and expertly drawn by Rafael Albuquerque, the presentation of this volume never falls short of astounding.
The story regards two men – one an injured in battle military veteren, and the other a brilliant detective – attempting to solve the most gruesome of murders. And that’s where I’ll leave the plot, because, you know, spoilers. The writing is excellent throughout, although I would expect nothing less from anything stemming from one of Gaiman’s stories, and the artwork is exemplary.
But the story… It has so much potential, and whilst it is fascinating to watch the detective explain his thought process, there is not nearly enough of it. As a reader – and a huge fan of Neil Gaiman – I was left disappointed, cold and frustrated by the story’s anti-climax. This felt like the first part of a much larger work, except it isn’t. This is the beginning, middle and end, and I wanted more. At a mere 80 pages or so, perhaps I was a little foolish in expecting one of the grand tales that are Gaiman’s bread and butter, but that I did.
Ultimately, this is an interesting short story, but nothing more. It draws upon Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, but never really goes anywhere with it. This is a hard one to recommend, although I do – with reservations. It’s one for the fans who need everything with Neil’s name on it, but a casual comic book fan will probably be left feeling a little cheated.
Neil Gaiman – A Study In Emerald – 2.5 Stars