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The Vesuvius Club: Graphic Edition
Mark Gattiss and Ian Bass
Simon & Schuster paperback £12.99
review by Alasdair Stuart
The League Of Gentlemen and Doctor Who alumni Mark Gattiss made quite a splash with his first novel, The Vesuvius Club. Following the adventures of cheerfully hedonistic and extremely violent secret agent Lucifer Box, it will be followed this year by a sequel. However, anyone suffering withdrawal symptoms in the meantime would be well advised to take a look at this graphic novel adaptation.
In the hands of Ian Bass, Box's world of debauchery is rendered in a pleasing combination of detail and abstract, with Box himself proving the real standout. Bass has captured Gattiss' hero perfectly, all Byronic locks and casual swashbuckling violence. The original book was rightly praised for its combination of humour and savagery and, looking at Bass' rendition of Box, both are clearly on display.
The plot remains the same and if anything rattles along even faster in this version. The search for the murderer of England's best scientists takes in coach chases, the debauched Vesuvius Club itself and one of the best pieces of world-ending machinery seen outside a Bond movie. This is a romp in the most traditional sense of the word, bouncing from incident to incident with gleeful abandon but always with tremendous care. Gattiss' experience balancing comedy with horror on League Of Gentlemen has stood him in good stead and the climax here is either horrific or hilarious depending on how you view it.
Whilst the book is an unusually fast read it's also hugely entertaining. Fans of League Of Gentlemen would be well advised to give this a look as would anyone thinking about trying the novels. Fun, unusual and recommended.
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