Adler by Lavie Tidhar (Author), Paul McCaffrey (Illustrator)
1902. Wounded in the Boer War, Jane Eyre returns to a London transmogrified by emerging modernity. An old friend, the glamorous inventor Lady Havisham, introduces her to the American adventuress Irene Adler, and the two seek lodging together. But Adler is engaged in a brutal secret war against a mortal enemy of the British Empire: Ayesha, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, who seeks revenge against the colonizers who destroyed her country. And Jane, not unwilling, is swept up in the case.
As Queen Victoria holds on to her throne with the help of experimental new medicine, Adler and Ayesha both fight for the secret weapon developed by the scientist Madame Curie. And as Ayesha and her amazons (not to mention her pet assassin Carmilla) take over the London underworld, Adler must form a team of determined women to stop them – before the Empire is destroyed.
Adler is a fun and exciting standalone graphic novel. Fans of Sherlock Holmes will be familiar with Irene Adler. She is an American adventurer, singer, and amateur sleuth in this inspired miniseries. Jane Eyre becomes her Watson, as the two team up to bring down the nefarious Ayesha who wants revenge for her lost country.
There is a helpful cast of characters with a short bio of each. And while the series is called “Adler,” she has a team of talented women, cleverly coined “The League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen.” The artwork is fantastic. I loved the Victorian steampunk look down to the elaborate and unique outfits. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced, thrilling adventure. I’d love to see more Adler graphic novels in the future, as there are endless possibilities with this fresh take on familiar literary characters.