The Secret Adventures of Houdini: Book 1 Review

October 22, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Writer: Todd Hunt

Illustrator: Sean Von Gorman

Publisher: Alterna Comics

This weekend I went to see Mike Super a magician/illusionist and I thought to myself man I wish I could have seen a magician of the Harry Houdini caliber. They just don’t make those anymore but just because we can’t see Houdini live doesn’t mean he doesn’t live on. Todd Hunt & Sean Von Gorman brings the story of Houdini in a unique way by not only depicting his great abilities but putting him in situations to use them practically. Harry Houdini name is always associated with magic but magic doesn’t exist in the real world or so Houdini thought.  For Houdini it is up to the magician to make the audience believe in magic and not actually create magic.

While Harry Houdini’s thought process does make sense he is up for a rude awakening. Todd Hunt tells us the story of Houdini’s adventures dealing with the supernatural element.  From his first encounter within the supernatural realm it is really unclear why or what he is doing there.  I didn’t put too much stock into it because clearly Todd Hunt was trying to show how Houdini would battle dark magic.  What I loved about Houdini’s fight scenes is the use of his known abilities such as being a master of disguise. I thought his cleverness was used wisely here but his actual abilities to fight felt a bit forced. I am not sure how I imagine Harry Houdini fighting but the brawler style doesn’t fit. I would much rather see Harry do something out of sheer ingenuity  then punch out his enemies and I am not saying he doesn’t do that because he does. I just want to see more of him thinking and less punching.  The dialogue actually used for Harry was pretty good and I enjoyed seeing him use his famous punch lines during his fights.

The secret adventures of Houdini maybe fantasy but Todd Hunt & Sean Von Gorman do a great job pulling out facts/people from Harry’s real life that only add to the story. I especially loved seeing a guest appearance from Hardeen (his less famous brother) and wife Bess.  I also loved how Sean Von Gorman drew Harry shorter then mostly everyone in the story which makes sense because he is only 5’6”. It’s the little things that make a story great and these two know what they’re doing.

It’s always important to grab your reader’s attention from the opening panels and Todd Hunt did just that. As the story progressed it felt a bit jumpy at first but once you end the first volume everything becomes quite clear.  When I finished the issue I was sad because I thought wait that’s it? My automatic need for more was a huge signal to me that this series has great potential for the future and I can’t wait to see how volume 2 goes. My only gripe with this volume was that I think the art needs to be sharper because at times it looked more like a photocopied picture then a drawn panel. That issue only arises in a few panels because the majority of the art fits the book perfectly.  I feel like Todd Hunt and Sean Von Gorman are building a world that can be enjoyed by all. Check out The Secret Adventures of Houdini on November 21st when it hit stores nationwide

3.5 out of 5- Has Great potential to become something special!

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