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Published on November 18th, 2015 | by JCDoyle

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Dirk Gently #5 Review

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Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: The Interconnectedness of all Kings

The IDW comic book version of Douglas Adams’ holistic detective is like the short lived BBC4 T.V. series starring Stephen Mangan; it has all the elements of a Dirk Gently story but it never seems to bring them all together successfully. Issue five is the conclusion of the first story arc and it unfortunately fails to deliver a satisfactory payoff.

The story is almost predictable, which should definitely not be the case for Dirk Gently, as Chris Ryall uses everything that he has introduced over the previous issues to tie up every outstanding plot thread, ticking them off one by one like a teacher marking a primary school maths test. This results in a formulaic reminder of the object/person followed by its/their use to wrap up an element of the narrative then repeated until everything is neatly finished off.

Dirk Gently 5 insert 1

Part of the problem with this series so far is that it feels like a long introduction to a collection of characters which has had a bland ‘evil being attempts to take over the world’ plot thrust up on it. Add some mystery to each of the characters so they have some future development potential and then check them off at the end of the story with a quick “we’ll meet again” despite the fact their interaction with Dirk in this first arc has been meaningless for the most part. Due to the arrogance of the central character, something I never really got from Adams’ original novel’s,  it’s a wonder that any of these characters want to see him again anyway, let alone set up shop with him; which is where the story has really been heading since the very beginning. The entire plot has been forced to land Dirk at the cafe, his new base of operations.

Ilias Kyriazis and John Livesay’s art work is consistent and the lay outs of each page is what makes this comic worth giving it the once over. Some of the otherwise bland crowd scenes are dealt with in a range of different ways, for example using a large panel with cartoon tags for the important cast members or by splitting the image up into irregular shaped panels to draw the reader’s attention to the various characters. This later technique also adds an element of action and excitement to the comic that is actually missing from the story. The best sequence in the comic comes when ancient Egyptian God comes face to face with modern, revenge fuelled serial killers; its two pages of brilliantly choreographed action but even this has an anti-climactic ending. It’s over to quick while the rest of the comic can’t come to an end soon enough.

Dirk Gently 5 insert 2

For followers of the comic there are a few little gems, the odd reference (some a tad more subtle than the Doctor Who quip) and a nicely tied up tale that leads into the potential for pretty much anything. However, it isn’t nearly as gripping as it should be and the major let down is the humour. Douglas Adams created novels that bulged with effortless mirth, this comic can barely find a laugh with a super-nova powered flash light.

A disappointing end to the first arc but at least it has sufficiently laid the ground work for the future.

DirkGently 5 cover v1

Title: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Writer: Chris Ryall

Artist: Ilias Kyriazis/John Livesay

JCDoyle

JCDoyle

Lover of comics and Art and Sci-Fi in multiple media. Currently teaching my kids the ways of the Geek (while protecting my first editions)
JCDoyle

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