Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes Vs Zombies

Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes Vs Zombies

Author(s): Ian Edginton

Illustrated: Davide Fabbri

Publisher: Wild Storm

Publication Date: 2010

Sherlock Holmes Vs Zombies…yes you read that right, imagine how awesome that thought is, and its come to life. This graphic novel compiles the first season of Victorian Undead comics set in a parallel Victorian universe, where Sherlock Holmes must vanquish his eternal foe Moriarty.  As I mentioned, this is a parallel universe, where the special agents of the time have at their disposal the equivalent of assault rifles and tanks, historical accuracy be damned.

The basic plot centres on a comet striking London in the mid 19th Century, causing the radiation victims to rise up from the mortuary slab. Before quickly being swept under the carpet, or rather the city, by the powers that be. Fast forward fifty years with Holmes and his faithful sidekick Watson, going about their business of solving crimes before the contaminated zombies finally make their way back to civilisation thanks to some pesky miners and slow acting. From here Holmes must battle not just the undead who threaten to over run the capital but also his arch-nemesis Moriarty.

As zombie fans, putting logical convention aside should not be a problem for us, and this novel excels in that department spinning a fantastic tale and exploiting what ever it can, with a whole slew of enjoyable characters and a decent pace of action, this would make a terrific movie if Hollywood was brave enough.  As such, I found it very addictive, in fact so addictive I got hold of this complete novel despite owning the individual comic issues, and still enjoy re-reading it so there’s no higher praise than that. The artwork and colouring is fantastic, with the use of colour matching the scene perfectly which helps in immersing the reader into the story

Zombie Fear Factor: *****

If I was a Victorian pauper, my underwear would be as dark as the chimneys that I sweep, these flesh eating fiends will tear, rip and eat their way through anything. Even Holmes & Watson would struggle to be a match for a horde of these things as they mindlessly swamp the streets. The end is nigh people, survival is definitely not an option for everyone.

The artwork really helps to push the fear, as you see the struggles of your fellow breathers, over whelmed in some circumstances by these disgusting, putrid pus buckets causing fear and repulsion even before they’ve separated flesh from bone.

Zombie Behaviour: ****

These zombies are more in the style of Romero’s now classic zombies, they’re slow, rotting and mindless unable to do much else bar stagger from one potential victim to another, with this including animals as well proving Seamus in Survival of the Dead was correct, they will eat anything,  and as such they are, to this reader – perfect. However, they fail to get the full five stars due to one character for whom I shall say no more, as although not a zombie it’s not a far stretch. Overall, any fan of the classic shuffling, flesh eating corpses will be more than catered for in this novel and represented in high quality detail.

Zombie Threat: *****

The world will fall, not necessarily due to a lack of co-operation but more due to a lack of people not knowing what they hell to do. Special Forces are overwhelmed as these zombies seem to be here with a purpose even if they do not know it. In this novel, survival of the zombie threat extends further than dealing with just the zombies themselves, although from this evidence it looks like London, and the rest of Britain might have its hands full there. Thankfully Holmes has Watson by his side, but you start to question is that enough to see us through?

Gore Content: ****

This novel does not skimp on the violence, from throats ripped out, heads caved in with hammers all the way to full page orgies of putrefying gore, Fabbri sets out to show us the carnage as it unfolds and I’m sure exactly as the writer intended it to happen. There are more violent and graphic comics out there (escape of the living dead for example) however, this one certainly is no slouch and will have enough to sedate the appetites of all fans, without being unnecessarily gratuitous and never taking focus from the story.

Overall Quality: *****

Overall this is a delightful romp putting the zombie apocalypse smack bang in the middle of Victorian Britain, with only the famed super sleuth Holmes, oh and his faithful sidekick Watson, to save us all. Its absurd, its fun and it has enough violence in it to keep things exciting all without becoming a parody of the subject. If you see this in your local comic book store then without a moments thought pick it up as you won’t regret it. Easy to read, good story and well paced places this graphic novel a decapitated head and shoulders above most of the competition.


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