I rather liked the look of the Newbury & Hobbes comic when Geek Native had the chance to share a preview of it last month.
I toyed with the phrase ‘Steampunk Avengers’ then but shied away. I won’t any longer.
Wait. I don’t mean the superheroes. In this instance, my use of the word Avengers relates to the 60s British spy comedy in which a hat wearing and charming Mr Steed teams up with Emma Peel to take on weird and wonderful arch villains.
Newbury & Hobbes is not set in the 60s and has a different vibe, but I’m a simple creature. I see a British crime-fighting pair with a juxtaposition of politeness and rebellion, I see the man (Newbury) and the woman (Hobbes) tease each other despite both being extremely competent, and I see the backdrop of a secret service, and it’s enough for me to make a connection.
It’s great. Newbury & Hobbes: The Undying, Episode 1 is an easy and thrilling read. There are some 32 pages in the first comic, and I whizzed through them.
The title begins with action, with Hobbes throwing some skull clad cultist over her shoulder and gets even more interesting from there. There’s the discovery of a strange body. A possible connection with an arch nemesis (there are ten years of books to draw on) and I get to see what a steampunk Queen Victoria looks like. A specific Doctor Who character comes to mind.
I was both pleased and surprised to discover that the narration comes from Miss Hobbes. When we get thought bubbles, they are her thought bubbles. When Newbury is off being dramatic, unrestrained or even failing to make a necessary connection, we discover this through Hobbes’ point of view. It works very well.
Other than an extract from Newbury & Hobbes: The Executioner’s Heart I hadn’t read any of the series before. For me, The Undying is my jumping in point for the series.
Yes, I get there’s a whole decade of legacy content. Yes, there are flashbacks to previous stories in the Newbury & Hobbes series in this comic but The Undying felt like a good point to join in. It felt a bit like a cheat. The comic is so good at telling a precise and articulate story it rather felt like I was reading an abridged version of one of the novels. It’s as if I know these characters as well as I would after reading one book.
I see no reason why Newbury & Hobbes won’t become a top-rated comic book series. It seems to have a ton of keywords in its favour; action, adventure, positive gender politics, steampunk and mystery.
My copy of Newbury & Hobbes: The Undying was provided by review by Titan Comics.