Written by: Matt Molgaard
Francois Debois pens what might be the finest Jack the Ripper story since Alan Moore’s riveting From Hell. The book, simply titled Jack the Ripper offers readers a different take on the infamous serial killer, and manages to stretch the story in a direction that may surprise some. There’s a very valid attempt to turn the familiar into something new and fresh. And for the most part it definitely works.
We don’t need to get too thorough with the breakdown of the story, as most know Jack’s tale very well. The Ripper targets prostitutes in London. He slays with speed and efficiency. He’s calculated but savage and Inspector Frederick Abberline is determined to bring the man to justice. But Abberline himself has some interesting secrets, and those secrets could spill over into his professional career, which could make identifying the killer profoundly complicated. It could also drag him away from London, to Paris, where other grisly murders are taking place. Is there a connection? Can Abberline get to the bottom of it all and unearth the identity of Jack the Ripper?
There are some terrific twists in this book, and while I’d love to spoil them for you, it just can’t be done. Debois’ book deserves to be read. There’s a great, noticeable attempt to offer fans of horror and graphic novels alike something atypical, and it works. It works enough to leave readers frantic to turn each page. And it works well enough to leave us disappointed once that final page has come along. After reading Jack the Ripper one thing really hit me: I didn’t want the story to end. That’s the sign of an excellent book.
Jean-Charles Poupard’s art is interesting. He delivers a gritty image that isn’t always defined by a sharp line, but does feel appropriately “old school” to fit into this particular puzzle perfectly. The characters look excellent, the background imagery detailed and often sprawling. Poupard is the perfect choice to join Debois on this mission to reignite interest in one of history’s best known serial killers.
Between the engaging fictional spins and the factual references, this book really takes to life. We feel as we should reading it, as though we’re receiving a history lesson while immersed in a fictional world of terror. Debois and Poupard treat the content with extreme respect, and show no fear in working against the grain to make their story stand out. It works. What we have here is one of the best graphic novels to hit the market in quite some time.