Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Arvind Ethan David
Artist: Ilias Kyriazis
Release Date: 24th February, 2016
So it would seem that the first Dirk Gently limited series was something of a success, which is immensely pleasing, given quite how good it was to see Douglas Adams’ creation brought back to life once again. Successful enough that IDW have seen fit to put together a second limited series (no shit, right?) with an entirely new creative team offering their take on the Holistic Detective.
Arvind Ethan David may not necessarily be a name familiar to comic fans – this being the very first comic he’s ever written – but Adams fans may recognise him as the man who brought Dirk to the stage, and received the stamp of approval from the man himself. An unusual transition – playwright to comic writer – to be sure, but David is close to uniquely qualified to write a Gently story, and my word, does it show.
The opening page is immediately endearing – presenting a flashback to Dirk’s childhood that features him playing Uno for sweets against toys of Tom Baker’s Doctor Who, and Marvin the Paranoid Android. The problem with Time Lords, he opines, is that they never know when to fold – a magnificently British piece of scene setting, if ever I saw it. It is indeed all a flashback, and a snap-cut later we’re into the story and art proper – a mystery that’s been set in motion by a literally speechless family turns up at Dirk’s local private hospital on hallowe’en
Proving that lightning can absolutely strike twice, David’s dialogue and narration effortlessly captures the Adamsian lilt – Chris Ryall did a fantastic job of that with The Interconnectedness of All Kings, so when I say this is a step up from Ryall’s game, I’m not screwing around. A nonchalant silliness permeates the comic’s fabric – Dirk’s bumblings are more.. eh… bumble-y here, and the story does seem to have a slightly clearer course at this stage of the game. But irrespective of this, it’s funny throughout, and I for one had a big grin on my face the whole way through – even laughing out loud on at least 3 occasions, which is not an achievement to be sniffed at.
Kyriazis’ artwork is great – particularly in the contrast between the style used in the flashback, and that of the main story. Sharp lines and excellent form rendering are only occasionally marred by a bizzaro angle or two – all brought together beautifully by Kirchoff’s colouring, alternating between cheerfully bright and enigmatically moody.
The fact that this series even exists is a great sign that Adams’ timeless style of silliness hasn’t lost its appeal, and the fact that IDW have actively sought out people who have proven that they know this style inside-and-out only adds to the joy of the matter. If it continues in this form, the series’ll be on my ‘Best of 2016’ list the moment it ends in June. Follow the nearest stranger until you pass a comics shop, and grab this immediately afterwards.
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The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24