The Adventures of Cordelia Swift #1
Writer: Matt Garvey
Artist/Letterer: Aleksandar Bozic
Publisher: LabRat Comics
A review by Amelia Wellman
Victorian London, steampunk contraptions, a female lead that doesn’t take antiquated notions of woman lightly, and more! All are present in Matt Garvey’s The Adventures of Cordelia Swift!
Set against the backdrop of steampunk Victorian London in 1856, a plucky young American detective named Cordelia Swift is the newest addition to Scotland Yard, much to the disgust of her peers and colleagues, for both being foreign and a woman. Cordelia is a smart (but naïve) detective who’s out to prove she has what it takes on her first case: a homicidal maniac of monstrous proportions who is terrorizing the innocent people of the East End.
The Adventures of Cordelia Swift is a Jekyll/Hyde story that I’m afraid I wasn’t immediately attached to. It starts a little slower than I would have liked, though I will say it doesn’t meander too long in any one spot. I think for The Adventures of Cordelia Swift #1, I’m projecting other similar works I’ve seen onto it, and that’s definitely unfair, but it did colour my whole experience while reading.
I ended up being more interested in Cordelia Swift herself than what was happening around her. She is a little stiff and stereotypically the “strong female character” to begin with, but the introduction to her no-good brother in a flashback makes me wonder about her past and character more. Cordelia will become a more fluid character in time as Garvey has more time to mold her into a human and not just a “female character”.
The art of The Adventures of Cordelia Swift #1 is in full black and white, giving it a fast, sketch-like quality that helps sell the dirty hustle and bustle of brick and cobblestone covered Victorian London. It’s also very detailed, with lots of little things that draw your eye around the page, but with no single thing having more attention given to it then everything else. Even the characters are no more detailed than the backgrounds they inhabit. There’s nothing too inventive in terms of how the panels are laid out and flow into each other, but I personally think that, like the black and white, it works for the stuffy Victorian time period the story takes place in.
Check it out. While not my own personal cup of tea, The Adventures of Cordelia Swift #1 is still an admirable comic. The art is fantastic and the characters intriguing. The story feels too similar to other things I’ve happened to recently get my hands on, but who knows where the narrative goes in subsequent issues. So if you’re interested in steampunk crime with a female lead, check out The Adventures of Cordelia Swift.