Detective Poe: Quoth the Raven, "The Game is Afoot"S

The first issue of Poe from BOOM! Studios promises a Hellboy-esque supernatural mystery with everyone's favorite dyspeptic poet (and his brother) at the helm.

Edgar's wife, Virginia, has died, and he's having trouble coping. (Fun fact: Virginia was his cousin and she was thirteen when they married. He was twenty-seven.) He's been sneaking out of the mental hospital to visit her grave at night, and after he gets caught (yet again), he returns to his room to find that ever-annoying raven. And a vision of a young girl hanging herself. As much as we've come to expect the former from Poe, the latter is somewhat jarring. Poe seems to agree with this; he freaks out.

Freaking out is apparently frowned upon in mental hospitals, so his older brother, William, is called to take him away. As he does so, William, a police constable, is called to the scene of a murder and is forced to bring his mentally unstable brother along. Luckily for the police force, however, Edgar goes all Sherlock Holmes on the crime scene, discovering these things called clues that the police on the scene hadn't thought to find. (Although, being Poe, I guess it's more accurate to say that he went all Dupin on the crime scene.)

These clues, fascinating things that they are, point to a supernatural motivation for the killing, implicating the victim as a practitioner of the "Dark Arts." Turns out, this is the third in a string of such murders. And it's up to Edgar A. (and his brother who thinks he's too nuts to be allowed out alone) to solve the case.

While maybe it seems like the whole Poe/supernatural mystery thing has been seen before, this still proves to be an enjoyable read, partly by letting Edgar share the spotlight with his more level-headed brother, partly by taking more the tone of one of Poe's mysteries than an action comic (so to speak), and partly by giving the reader enough questions to want to pick up the second issue. Why can Edgar see visions of tragedies that have already happened (such as the hanging girl)? Does this have anything to do with the death of his wife? Or with these murders? And what do Roman coins have to do with anything? And, perhaps most importantly, what's that giant red-eyed being on the final splash page of the issue and will the Brothers Poe escape it?

Written by J. Barton Mitchell, with art by Dean Kotz, Poe #1 is released in July.