With a two-in-one offering of From Hell, we garner the causality of the Ripper murders: the cause was Sir William Gull and the royal family, the effect was the loss of faith in a system that perturbed its investigators and the momentum of the 21st century. It is through the reading of this chapter that a stark change in my reading experience of the comic book becomes obvious. In the From Hell Master Edition: The Apprehensions of Mr. Lees, there is this wonderful addition of individuality that captures the parts of the whole for this series.
Where the inks and line work of Ed Campbell created a consistent atmosphere and ethos within the work that helps maintain the surprise and dread for readers, the color additions through Campbell and Pete Mullins gives more definition to each panel. The biggest surprise in these recolored issues of From Hell has been that they offer a new reading experience, one that offers a new perspective for readers on the work itself. Certain scenes that held a gut-punch before retain their vitality, but Mullins’ color allows us to properly empathize with our characters in their quieter moments.
Even more ambitious is that these colors allow for a new texture into how the murders have affected the society and its people to their core. While the black and white made the individuals hard to decipher, these palettes offer depth into these humans who are suffering from trauma.
In the two different epigraphs for the issues, Moore manages to play tongue-in-cheek with the themes of the stories. There are beautifully realized scenes in each of the two stories. A personal favorite moment of mine is from “The Apprehensions of Mr. Lees,” which is where Sir William Gull is on trial by the Free Masons. It’s an interesting character piece that allows for another fantastic monologue through Gull. In “A Return to Cleveland Street,” a wonderful moment is the conversation between Mr. Lees and Aberline.
Former readers of From Hell will gain a new perspective and reading experience through these master editions of the series. Even more importantly, new readers could grasp a different sensation going through the original black and white versions of this series. Either way, From Hell stays its course as being one of the richest comic books for years to come.