The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Tilney #1
Story by David Doub
Art by Sarah Elkins
Colors and Flashback Art by Danielle Alexis St. Pierre
Letteres by Joamette Gil
Front Cover Line Art by Tony Parker
Back Cover Line Art by Charles Holbert
Additional Illustrations by Kyle Lawler
Release Date: April 30, 2012
Cover Price: $4.99
I’ll say this about The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Tilney, it wears its influences thoroughly on its sleeve. Specifically this is heavily inspired by the early volumes of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the latest slew of Guy Ritchie-directed Sherlock Holmes movies, and probably just about any fun, Victorian-era, quasi-steampunkish movie or comic that’s come out in the past ten or twelve years. Is it a good read? Eh, you know exactly what you’re getting in this. Oh, and it moves fast. Possibly too fast, it’s hard to say.
There doesn’t appear to be a straightforward pitch for the series’ premise, but to sum up the first issue: the titular character, a newspaper columnist longing to do real journalism, gets the opportunity to do so. Her editor is looking for someone to investigate The Harwood Murders. Lord Beowolf Harwood, a renowned hunter, was at a party in his honor when he suddenly shot up the guests. After a very Silence of The Lambs-esque build-up, Miss Tilney gets an interview with him only to discover that he’s no Hannibal Lecter. Locked up with his accomplice, Dr. Plum, he manages to convince her of his innocence and suggests that there’s a more sinister plot afoot. Escape plans are quickly enacted and before we know it, the three are secluded in Harwoods Manner where things quickly go violent and grim.
I think that covers the important stuff without being too spoilery or forgetting important plot points, though it’s kind of hard to say. There were little asides in the story where I wasn’t sure if something important was going on or not. For example, Miss Tilney’s newspaper editor just drops her the Harwood assignment, putting her in an historic position for a woman at the time without much consideration. Was that a red flag, was he setting her up? In the prison, Tilney comes face to face with Harwood for a couple minutes, he says he’s innocent, and that the real culprit is something fantastic that he can’t explain… and not only does she just believe him, she actively helps him get out because she “has a feeling for these sorts of things.” I’ll just say that I did not find her motivation convincing.
But maybe all that isn’t the point. Maybe the point is that the pace just keeps moving. There are a handful of scenes that involve avoiding or evading London crowds thrown in between major scenes. Are they inconsequential to the larger plot? They seem to be, but they’re also the funnest parts of this book. Recent Womanthology contributor Sarah Elkins knows how to create some pretty good tension. I’m looking forward to seeing more from her.