CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Author: Max Allan Collins
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Titan Books
RRP: £9.99
ISBN 1 84023 771 6
Available now

Las Vegas is being terrorised by a copycat killer who is recreating the murders of the legendary Jack the Ripper. His victims are ritualistically murdered then butchered and, like the Victorian archetype, he evades the best efforts of the police to catch him. It's left to Gil Grissom and his CSI team to stop the killer and bring this savage history lesson to an end...

Serial is hardly an original premise: take the murders committed by Jack the Ripper and bring them into the 21st Century. And, of all the various attempts to bring this story to a graphic novel, only Batman's Gotham by Gaslight managed to achieve any critical success.

Having said that, can you think of any other way to turn a successful TV series into a mini-series collection of comic books, and keep the reader interested over five issues? Not an easy task. And for that reason alone Max Allan Collins deserves to be congratulated.

But, before you think of purchasing this collection, you need to ask who it is aimed at. The dialogue and characteristics of each character don't really match up with the screen characters. And, a worse crime, is that the illustrations of the characters are appalling in places. When you are publishing a graphic novel based on a movie or TV show, you have two choices. You can bring in an illustrator that will be able to reproduce a perfect likeness of the characters, or you can bring in someone who offers their own interpretation of the characters. Sadly, Gabriel Rodriguez's work looks like he is copying from poor photos. In fact he seems to only have a limited number of photos to work from, as he tends to repeat the same angles of characters time and time again. This looks shoddy.

There is also the question of credibility. The characters jump to too many conclusions without a proper explanation for the reader and this makes the whole project seem rushed.

Even serious CSI fans will probably feel that the release of this collection is a serious crime.

Nick Smithson

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