When a brute of a man tramples an innocent girl, apparently out of spite, two bystanders catch the fellow and force him to pay reparations to the girl's family. The brute's name is Edward Hyde. A respected lawyer, Utterson, hears this story and begins to unravel the seemingly manic behavior of his best friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and his connection with Hyde. Several months earlier, Utterson had drawn up an inexplicable will for the doctor naming Hyde as his heir in the event that he disappears.
Mattotti and his longtime collaborator Kramsky return to the comix world with an interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale of gothic horror. While the story is set in Victorian England, Mattotti's artwork evokes the masterful expressionism of Berlin of the 1930s and such influences as Max Beckman, George Grosz and Giorgio de Chirico. Dr. Jekyll's obsession with the duality of the human personality-the good and evil that reside within-leads him to concoct the potion that brings out his purely evil side. Depicting this transformation, Mattotti's art becomes even more expressive, reminiscent of the later paintings of Francis Bacon. Jekyll's assertion that with his potion "Life would be relieved of all that is horrible" proves wrong. Indeed, he has distilled life's horrors in the person of the brutal Mr. Hyde, who haunts the nightclubs, parties, darkened streets and brothels of London, a perfect vehicle for Mattotti's masterful command of color, composition and mood. An accomplished colorist, Mattotti saturates the book's pages with a rich palette, and each panel is beautiful and expressive. Kramsky's adept condensation of Stevenson's book appropriates snatches of the original text verbatim, maintaining the power of Stevenson's prose while using a minimum amount of text. This is an impressive and vivid interpretation of Stevenson's timeless tale of the human spirit. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.