Walking through Special Edition: NYC toward the end of Saturday I spied this book…
Come on! How can I, the self-professed lover of all things mystery, all things with that whiff of camp, all things even mildly Victorian, how could I pass this up?
Well obviously I couldn’t! If the cover wasn’t enough check out the blurb…
“The EscapeGoat comic universe is set in a pseudo-Victorian era Earth; it is a time of discovery and advances in science, but also a time of ancient magics. Thomas Fleet (AKA The Intrepid EscapeGoat) is a world famous escape artist, a star of the stage and screen who performs before packed houses all over the globe. What separates EscapeGoat from other magicians and mediums of the time is that he knows there is REAL magic in the world, and on occasion it falls on him to stop the supernatural threats facing mankind. He travels the world with his act, solving the paranormal riddles that plague the towns and cities he visits along the way.”
To say this was a must buy for me is an understatement, but still many a “must buy” have left me disappointed. Would Thomas Fleet’s adventures live up to the promise of this eye-catching trade? Read on and find out!
The volume one trade is a collection of four issues from 2011 (the Free Comic Book Day 0 issue and issues 1-3). So it gives us some back story on Thomas and his assistant the adorable Egyptian princess Isis (yes Egyptian princess, she’s a ghost). In the first part of the collection we join Thomas in Egypt where his current snake of an assistant Fassad has him unknowingly involved in some nefarious business. Business that winds up freeing Isis from her tomb and, after a harrowing escape, gives Thomas an assistant her can trust, and take care of. When we get into the meat of the collection “The Curse of the Budda’s Tooth” we see that Egypt wasn’t a fluke, Thomas attracts trouble, one because he does know the difference between real and phony magic so much so he’s considered an expert on the topic, and two because he so obviously enjoys being in the midst of it. In “Curse” a reporter requests Thomas’ presence at a séance, to debunk it in exchange for a front page story. Oddly though accompanied by a ghost (who points out this very fact to Thomas) he openly scoffs at the idea of a medium being the real deal. What follows is a drawing room style mystery worthy of being called a mystery!
This book was a lot of fun to read. The art though cartoony (perfectly so for its all-ages audience) has some beautifully detailed panels. My favorite of which was the run-away train sequence in the first story (The Princess and the Pyramid). The train is gorgeous! Speaking of all-ages, while this book is definitely in the all-ages zone I would point out that it deals in themes of death, life after death, zombies and the like so it may be a little disturbing for some younger readers but I can’t see any 2nd grade or up child having problems with it. The dialogue is witty and engaging, the plot was well done and kept me guessing who the villain was all the way up to the reveal. Thomas Fleet is one of those characters that immediately upon meeting him you wish he were real. He’s written so dashing, so adventurous, you want to join him on an adventure tout suite! This is Sherlock Holmes meets Houdini via Agatha Christie. It was truly a treat. I give it a magical 4.5 out of five stars!
The Intrepid Escapegoat TP
Writer: Brian Smith
Penciler: Brian Smith
Colorist(s): Michael DeVito, Jon Conkling
On Sale: March 14, 2012
Publisher: Th3rd World Studios
Diamond Id: OCT111217
Format: TRADE PAPERBACK