Published on May 20th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Dirk Gently #1 Review
Holistic Detective Agency
Douglas Adams loved to adapt and reuse his ideas over and over. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy exists in every medium possible and Adams had a hand in each adaption. He reused unused Doctor Who scripts to form the basis for a Hitchhiker novel and he never let a good idea go to waste, sometimes he never let a bad idea go to waste. And so, following in this tradition, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency finally arrives in the comic book format, following on from an audio drama and a BBC TV show.
The story starts in the cradle of civilisation where a group of very hip young lads realise that one of them becoming a pharaoh might not be as good as it sounds. As power starts to corrupt Ahktenkhamen (although, he seems to have been a bit of a dick beforehand) his two companions are propositioned by the Grand Vizier, otherwise known as The Immortal Mister Bird.
How this affects Dirk Gently in modern day San Diego is a bit of a mystery but that’s the point of a detective story and with this one being called ‘The Interconnectedness of all Kings’ it’s bound to relate somehow. The reader is introduced to Dirk rummaging around inside the luggage compartment of an aeroplane looking for his bags or at least a bag. When he finds one he rushes off, running into two holiday makers who prove to be more than they seem, which is going to be a theme for this comic; it’s the nature of holistic detecting after all.
There are clues to what is going on layered within the story, this month’s title is Schrodinger’s Copycat which is a big clue to what’s in Dirks bag and also an example of the type of story you are reading. Not much of it is obvious and what is obvious is probably misleading.
If this is the first time you have ever encountered Dirk Gently it may all seem very chaotic and you’d be right, this is how it works. One random thing leads to another and one character accidently bumps into another and slowly everything forms into some sort of narrative. And Chris Ryall has taken to this method of writing like a duck to water. He juggles a number of seemingly unrelated characters wonderfully allowing them grow within their own environment while at the same time slowly branching out into the narrative as a whole. There is humour splattered throughout the script which makes even the serial killing couple seem kind of endearing and it helps the reader to accept the randomness of the entire thing.
Some of the artwork is a little cartoonish at times and the composition doesn’t always fit the panels, almost as if it’s giving way to the exposition heavy script. This is something that has been an issue with previous comics based on Douglas Adams’ work and usually takes care of itself as the writers and artists ease into the weird and wonderful worlds they are caretaking.
I found this first issue to be full of interesting characters and humour that I’m sure Douglas Adam’s would have approved of. It’s fun and entertaining and is a pleasant way to lose 20 minutes.
Title: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: Tony Akins/John Livesay