This new series from Cinebook mixes genres. It takes a supernatural investigation team and gives them a historical perspective, placing them in the Eastern United States at the dawn of the 20th Century. It’s a bit like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but set in the US and more likely to borrow characters from history than culture.
This first volume follows the formation of the group. It has a typical line-up of Western characters: the cold, hard leader; the native American with super-keen senses; the beautiful woman trying to make a career despite the inherent sexism of the era. You could almost predict the line-up.
However, this isn’t just about the characters. In the background, there’s a strange mystery afoot. Important gentlemen of the country are going mad, murdering their families and then turning their guns on themselves. They’re linked by eye-witness reports of strange symbolic scarring on their bodies, though it disappears by the time investigators turn up. It’s a mystery just waiting for the spooks to solve.
It’s not quite as simple as you might expect though, and the plot is rich and sophisticated. It’s helped by the art, which is stunning – detailed and dynamic. There’s a background hint of politics and the characters are engaging, despite their familiar stereotypes.
It’s a strong start for the series and worth taking a look if you fancy mixing the supernatural with this era of American history.