The Jack the Ripper killings continue to be some of the most mysterious and disturbing unsolved crimes in history. The countless theories about what really happened, or who the killer really was, can only speculate towards something that we will most likely never know the answer to.
Mysterious and disturbing is the order of the day in The Ripper Legacy, which sees the crimes of the infamous killing spree being repeated in modern day Boston. Mark Bloodworth’s black and white artwork is able to convey the mainstream look that most comics going for the realistic look use, while also optimising the more gruesome elements. After all, Jack cuts his victims in an attempt to find her soul, and when he fails to find it, he decides that he has to cut deeper…
Black and white horror comics are certainly nothing new, with The Walking Dead being one of the best selling series currently running. What makes The Ripper Lecacy a cut (sorry) above all the others is that is capable of effortlessly getting under your skin in a way that many of the other series can only dream of doing. Sure, we’re all used to seeing NC-17 style grotesque imagery, but how many gruesome horror stories actually try to explore human nature, and ask what it is that can drive someone to leave behind the boundaries of conventional morality? The Ripper Legacy seeks to answer this question, going to places and asking questions that many of us would prefer to stay well clear of. All human beings have the ability to kill, but most of them apart from a select few never do. A select few that, as The Ripper Legacy examines, is not few enough.
In order to deal with the menace of a Jack the Ripper copycat, Raven Inc. are called to put a stop to the killing. Think a team along the line of Ghostbusters or B.R.P.D, who are only called when “all avenues of conventional investigation have been exhausted”.
The two most interesting members of the group are former institutionalised physic Yuri and his sister Valentina offer an interesting look at how people with special gifts are used as tools rather than being commended for the help that they can offer, echoing X-Men’s ‘fight for a world that hates us’.
They encounter a man who claims to have been a policeman who caught and killed Jack the Ripper back in 1888, a decision that he believes lead to all of mankind’s future atrocities, in other words, a legacy was created that would continue until “the nature of humanity itself changes”. As the mysterious, lurking voice describes, original sin is something that is innate in all of mankind, something behind the door that we are all incriminated in, adding a philosophical underpinning to the familiar detective story.
In his foreword, writer Jim Alexander explained that the story is not a journey into the heart of darkness, but also one where the heart is ripped out and put on display. Indeed, The Ripper Legacy is a journey into the darkest parts of human nature, and supernatural or not, certainly wants to rip out the reader’s heart and put it on display.