Zachary Holmes Case One: The Monster

Zachary Holmes Case One: The Monster
Zachary Holmes Case One The Monster review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Venture/Dark Horse - 1-56971-702-8
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2000
  • English language release date: 2001
  • UPC: 9781569717028
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

As the Holmes name always suggests, this is a detective story, with the teenaged Zachary investigating events in a never nailed down period that seems to be late 19th century. His Watson is a mouse in goggles, with whom he’s able to communicate when others hear only squeaks, and this first recorded case has him investigating the crimes for which Frankenstein’s monster is due to be tried.

It takes some working out to distil why Juan Bobillo’s art isn’t as attractive as it should be. His interpretations of the cast have life and personality, and there’s no lack of effort in their clothing, although greater background detail would have been preferable. However, it’s the dull colour choices that drag the look down, muting what ought to be tense, exciting or comical.

Carlos Trillo’s story is aimed at a younger audience, for whom he doesn’t make a great deal of effort with logic in places. He exaggerates reactions, possibly intended as comical, but not sold as such by Bobillo, and when one clue is someone walking around the forest with a giant boot on a stick, the monster is already exonerated, yet that’s just taken us halfway. The core case against the monster is excessive property damage during a rampage, allegedly having occurred during a storm, and the final third of the story is the court case in which the dots are joined for any child who hasn’t worked things out.

There is a nice ending for the monster, but it’s an all too rare glimpse of originality. As proved over so many projects in different genres, Trillo is an imaginative writer, but there’s too little of that on display. Case Two is The Sorcerer.