We all know the story of Edward Scissorhands, with its bittersweet ending laced with such potent injustice that it’d squeeze a tear from even the hardest of hearts. Originally released in 1990, Edward Scissorhands has become a beloved cinematic classic. And it always leaves a general consensus among audience members: Edward deserved better. So, of course, being an avid fan, the moment I heard there was a comic book continuation of my favourite Burton movie, that was a rabbit hole I was itching to throw myself into.
Written by Kate Leth and illustrated by Drew Rausch, the Edward Scissorhands comic series is an unofficial adaptation published independently by IDW Publishing in 2015. This review is of Volume 1: Parts Unknown, containing issues 1-5 of the original publication.
While we always have a natural hankering to see more content based around our favourite characters, taking on a title as beloved as this is a risky business.
So was it worth the risk? So far, I think so!
Taking place roughly a decade after the movie, Kim has now passed away. Her Granddaughter, Meggs, is now in her teen years and has become increasingly curious about the house on the hill, wondering if there may have been more to her Grandmother’s bedtime fairy tales than her family presumes. Meanwhile, still living in total isolation, Edward grieves alone over Kim’s obituary, pouring over his father’s old books for comfort. In doing so, he stumbles upon an old experiment, a previous attempt at building a living being. Desperately lonely, Edward attempts to finish his father’s work and revive his predecessor’s old, dead shell. However, he is quick to learn that this first experiment was decommissioned for a very, very good reason.
Now, before I say anything else, I must first draw attention to Drew Rausch’s artwork – it’s SO pretty! Possibly one of the quirkiest comics I’ve ever seen, the heavily stylised illustrations showcase the contorted aesthetic we associate so heavily with typical Tim Burton scenery, along with an overlay of the unique flair belonging to Drew Rausch. The exaggerated frames and overstated facial expressions do an outstanding job of conveying both the character’s thoughts and personalities. This is particularly prevalent in the character of Edward, who is known for having a stunted vocabulary and being extremely taciturn. The creative team remained faithful to this distinctive character trait, with Rauch’s larger-than-life artwork communicating Edward’s emotions to an absolute tee using very minimal dialogue.
I will say that the story definitely could have benefited from being longer. This concept harboured heaps of potential for much more nuance, fear factor and emotional depth, which, unfortunately, fell by the wayside at times in favour of moving the plot forward. However, this is not a reflection on the writing. Kate Leth’s sardonically humorous script seizes every possible opportunity to shine. This slightly rushed feel was more than likely due to time constraints, forcing the story to progress at a highly restricted pace. As is often the case, some of the character arcs suffered as a result.
Nevertheless, this was not to such excess that it spoiled the enjoyment of the comic. Parts Unknown captures the creep-filled melancholia of its source material, with Leth’s script sprinkling fittingly dark humour over the sad forebodings that brim within the pages. It is undoubtedly a page-turner, with beautiful visuals and heart-wrenching wit, and lays some really solid foundations for future storylines.
This leaves me to wonder what will be in store for the second volume. Regarding the above, I would like to see elements of the first arc carried over into the second. But again, I understand that there may not be time as Parts Unknown left Edward and co. with a lot to sort out!
Given the first volume’s ending, I have a few guesses as to what we’re likely to see in Whole Again, the next instalment. I won’t discuss these theories here in the interest of keeping this spoiler-free, but I’m very interested to see how this will play out. So keep an eye out for that!
Have you read the continuation of Edward Scissorhands? What do you think of this beloved movie having a comic book sequel? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!