Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
First I need to point out this groovy cover - great right? Draws the eye, it's pin-up, pulp, fun, and blood splattered.
It's hard to describe the plot well since it's too confusing for my simple brain; plus this is catered more for the British audience. I think they'll get the cultural identity conflicts and connections stronger than I can.
Basically the collection (8 series joined together in one edition) jumps frequently between four different detectives in London over four time periods. Edmond Hillinghead in the 1890s, Karl Whiteman in the 1940s, Shahara Hasan in 2014, and Maplewood in 2050. Each detective finds a dead body, a weird symbol, and frequent lines said to them, "You are loved."
Edmond was my favorite with his bizarre secrets and even if the events in his time period were just as twisted as the others, it seemed somehow less flummoxing. Karl just comes across as an asshat who dresses the best. Shahara worked as a different, strong woman who didn't take crap from her co-workers but retained a sense of humor. I detested the annoying Maplewood - she and the other characters in 2050 irked me.
The unusual style of shifting these story lines took awhile to get used to. By the time I was used to it in the middle, it had worn thin on me by the end. And the end is not a big bang explosion, but a soft finale. With all the back and forth, I'm not sure if something better could have been creaked out by that point.
A saving technique would to have the flashbacks less frequent, sections of the story being in one time period instead of shifting all the time, with the end and it coming together. I realize since it was a serial published independently, that probably wasn't possible - but it would have made reading this compilation more enjoyable.
There's violence, but nothing gore-drenched. You get blood when it should be there. There's some mild sex silhouette scenes. Kudos dished out for the artwork, it totally worked. The story may have had one author, but he used four artists for the different time periods. I liked that concept. The future stands out as bright, blocky and manic with its uncomfortable intensity. I can almost feel the noir style seep through the pages in the subdued 1940s. 2014 displays a calmer but deeper, more convincing colorization. The 1890s were dark, broody, and rocked the bloody scenes.
Overall this wasn't a bad deal, but it wasn't something my brain likes wrapping around. I don't care for frequent shifts, and the confusion caused by this was too tiring to be enjoyable. The art is stunning, like the colorization differences among time periods, the storyline just failed to impress.