In Review: Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla #1

A good story with adequate visuals make this an entertaining mash-up of two infamous men.

The covers: A pair of covers showing our pair of heroes in different states of action. The Main cover is by John Reilly with a close-up of the duo, looking up at them. They’re in a wooden structure, with tentacles, a claw, and an elderly hand claw coming at them. Tesla has a weapon in his hand that’s projecting a spark of electricity, while Lovecraft is carrying an open book. It looks okay. I didn’t recognize either by their likenesses, instead being drawn to the book by its title. The coloring is better, highlighting the heroes more so than the creepers around them. The Variant cover is by Colin Dyer. The heroes look much more rugged in this illustration. Tesla has a monstrous rifle weapon that would inspire future Ghostbusters and Lovecraft has a tome in one hand and a glowing fist that would inspire a young Dr. Strange. Surrounding them are interlocking machines and tentacles. It’s a very Steampunk-ish cover and it’s very cool. Overall grades: Main B and Variant A

The story: It’s October, 1923, and Amelia Earhart is leaving to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The reporters don’t take her venture seriously, but she’s still going, even though she sporting an interesting looking engagement ring. In Tesla’s workshop the inventor is pining over Amelia’s loss, as she’s left him a Dear John letter, saying she’s off to make history. Suddenly, a device on his desk becomes active, eventually disappearing. He decides to leave and upon opening the door he finds a lawyer representing Thomas Edison, who is suing the inventor for not producing an additional device. He’s being fired. The setting then moves to Boston, involving H.P. Lovecraft and Harry Houdini in an interesting way. I enjoyed John Reilly’s putting these two famous men together and what their relationship is. The setting then goes to a patents office where Albert Einstein is taking solicitations for copyrights. Naturally, Tesla knows him and the two go over something that might endanger Earhart’s trip. This draws Nikola to Howard and the story takes a dramatic turn. This is a very clever story. I enjoy alternate history, such as Harry Turtledove’s novels, and any comics that go into the same territory are something I want to read. I like how Tesla and H.P. didn’t know each other until close to the end, with their abilities hinted at but not shown. This is a good opening installment and I’m eager to see where this is going. Overall grade: A

The art: This is adequate art from Tom Rogers, who provides pencils, and inks from Dexter Weeks, with Michelle Nikolajevic doing the inks on Page 17. Looking at the first two pages a reader should know what they’re in for. The characters aren’t fluid, they’re posed. The perspective is a little shaky; check out that fifth panel on Page 2. The lawyer that represents Edison is very one-note, shown only from the front (with his nose up) or from the right. In close-ups he looks like F.D.R., especially on Page 6. I don’t know how the lawyer got his hand in that position on that page. The exteriors are also okay, some better than others. Tesla’s workshop has a good interior but a lackluster exterior. Things are much better in Boston. The new character that appears on Page 20 is not very frightening. It looks like something from a Roger Corman film. The visuals on this book help to tell the story, but don’t propel the reader into that time or provide instant recognition for the characters. Overall grade: C-

The colors: A better job is done by Dexter Weeks on the colors of this book. There’s a nice bit of dark and bright on every page, with color being used to make the emotion of the moment strong (Page 3, 5, 16, and 21). I really liked when Weeks used a cool background pattern on Pages 10 and 11. It’s not historically accurate in any way, but it works fantastically for a comic book, highlighting the characters. Nicely done. Overall grade: B

The letters: Scene setting, dialogue, sounds, an audience’s acclaim, a creature’s exclamations, and some ancient writing also come from Dexter Weeks. They look good and I’m looking forward to seeing how ancient texts will be incorporated into this story. Overall grade: B

The final line: A good story with adequate visuals make this an entertaining mash-up of two infamous men. I will be back for the next issue. Overall grade: B

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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