Ahoy Comics Review: Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Paul Cornell and Kek-W
Art: Greg Scott and Alberto Ponticelli
Colors: Felipe Sobreiro and Madeline Seely
Letters: Rob Steen
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #5 contains two tales, “The Adventure of the Three Narrators” and “Ms. Found in a Bottle.” Perhaps, you’ll recognize where these tales get their inspiration!
Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #5 is brilliant return to form all the way through after the uneven previous issue. As I ponder, not weak, but a little weary, I wonder what goes into a great satire. These comics are a combination of re-imaginings as well as satire. If a reader knows the source material well, it’s going to make the response to the satire stronger. If the tale is a re-imagining, there has to be something clever about it, something different that takes the story in a new direction somehow. Both of the stories in issue #5 get it right on all counts.
“The Adventure of the Three Narrators” is a satire of Sherlock Holmes and the deductive reasoning found in that type of detective fiction. The story presents the most ridiculously obvious culprit, but it all goes by Holmes as he is unable to see the obvious. It’s a great satirization of Holmes’s methods. Of course we’ve all read a story either about him or some other detective that makes astounding deductions based on what appears to be nearly indecipherable evidence or a “lucky guess.”
It’s the reversal here that works so well. And, it’s truly funny. I know there is a Poe story that is referenced in the title and I presume some of the events of the tale, but I don’t know Poe’s entire output. And, that’s ok, because it works well for the reader in this case. The only real pre-knowledge necessary is understanding a bit about Sherlock Holmes and his methods which is fairly widely known.
“Ms. Found in a Bottle” is clearly a riff on the tale, “MS. Found in a Bottle.” You read that right- “Ms.”- an independent, capable young lady! This story works in two different ways, not only is a miniature woman in a bottle an amusing take on “MS.” but it also goes into some social satire as the Ms. and another lady in the story take the chauvinistic male characters to task in the story.
In the original story, the “m-s” abbreviation stands for manuscript, and in both cases the “m-s” tells a tale of a ship lost at sea pushed further and further south into unknown seas finally coming upon a senses-shattering discovery that changes the understanding of the physical world. Whereas the first story in this issue is strait satire, this story has a little action/adventure in it. Again, one doesn’t really need to know anything about Poe’s original story to get this. It’s humorous and clever throughout, and any pre-requisite familiarity with the Poe’s tale is just a bonus.
The art in this issue suits both tales perfectly. There is a sequence in “Three Narrators” that focuses on a woman’s teeth and the art serves it up wonderfully, even managing to bring the notion of a dental fetish a visual creepiness. The art in “Ms.” balances the action aspect with the characters. There are some great facial expressions throughout especially some of the Ms.’s sneers at the chauvinistic men.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the brilliance of the satirical text piece, “Sorry, But You’re Going to Have to Be Nude in this Scene.” It points out all the fallacies in the “artistic” arguments for including female nudity in films. It gets right to the point that sex sells and it’s the sexualization and exploitation of women and their bodies that sell. It cuts through all the crap- a magnificent story by Jake Williams and an hilarious illustration by Joe Orsak.
I declare this comic to be free of negatives!
Clever and brilliant, Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #5 is a masterclass on satire. You may not cry, but you will laugh and laugh out loud. You will also think. You will absolutely think as these tales challenge the reader to look at aspects of the world differently as well as the inherent holes in the traditional detective story. Above all, it is gloriously entertaining !