Published on July 8th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Dirk Gently #2 Review
Holistic Detective Agency: The Interconnectedness of all Kings
Issue 2 brings more ridiculous randomness to IDW’s new comic based on Douglas Adams’ creation.
But what happened last time? Not sure? Then don’t worry, there’s a handy ‘previously’ page to help you out. And a list of characters in case you forgot.
Then the story kicks in with Dirk gathering a hoard of followers in a local park with his tales of ‘historical facts’, like the tourist version of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Tonya Fong disputes most of Dirks knowledge but she is unable to stem the flow of impressionable tourists as they are taken by a random gust of wind towards the San Diego Natural History Museum. There they meet Neferhotep and Craig passing themselves off as Museum workers while fighting the urge to devour all they meet.
If they had gone inside the museum instead of hitching up to a Party Bus and heading for a random party hotel, Dirk and co may have come across the Museum curators trying to cover up the appearance of a break in and the disappearance of the Ahktenkhamen mummies. They are able to fool the police but not the CIA agent Kate Schechter who turns up with badge in hand and quips on her lips. (Don’t know Kate Schechter? Then read The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul where she first appeared).
Meanwhile, or possibly elsewhere, Estelle and Bill (serial copycat killers) have the Central Caffe staked out. When Susan, Hamisch and Crowther leave, Estelle follows, hoping to track down Dirk, while Bill attempts to get their bag of tricks back. Crowther is obsessed with a phone App called Souler Power attached to the phone he was given but it appears to be making him ill and just a little distant.
I’m sure it’s all connected, somehow.
This issue speeds passed and you’re at the end before you know it. Part of the problem with this is that the story doesn’t seem to have developed very much. Dirk gathers crowd, meets mummies, has a party; others move from one place to another with no real interaction. It feels like a very elaborate, but not very entertaining, way to get all of the characters together in the same place. This obviously has to happen for narrative purposes but it could have been done with a bit of style and finesse. The entire issue is taken up with this character manoeuvring so ultimately it feels like a wasted issue.
There are, however, some wonderful moments in the comic. The party scene in the hotel is not only humorous and leads to an actual important plot development, it is also cleverly designed. The two page spread shows all the action and while being static for most of the characters, Dirk moves through the chaotic jumble like a man driven, pulled by forces beyond his control. Everywhere you look there are snippets of possible story elements; the obvious ones where Craig (or possibly Neferhotep) is sucking the life force out of some party goers; to less obvious with the lady in the large hat asking the professor type if he wants to see her spaceship. Is this just an in joke? A throwaway reference? Or does it have narrative importance? Only time will tell. I would image that the reader will be able to revisit this party scene later in the series and see part of the story set up here.
The other bonus to this issue is the inclusion of Kate Schechter whose appearance isn’t intrusive; you don’t need to know who she is to follow the story. She’s a treat for the fans of Dirk Gently but also a strong comedic character. In some respects she comes across more accessible than Dirk does in this issue. She’s quick and funny and knows how to manipulate a situation. Dirk feels forced and his story is a little contrived. Part of this is how Dirk Gently stories work, the whole randomness aspect, but it doesn’t feel as natural as it has in other formats.
After last issues strong start this is a little bit of a disappointment but the Artwork is good and the design fits the tone of the story; it’s just the rambling narrative that lets it down in places.
Title: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: Tony Akins/John Livesay