Better Angels: A Kate Warne Adventure OGN TP
Publisher: Archaia / BOOM! Studios
Release Date: October 27, 2021
Price: $19.99
Creator(s): Jeff Jensen (Writer), George Schall (Artist)
Cover: George Schall
Format: 216 pgs., Full Color, 6" x 9", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9-781-6841-5736-5
Age Rating: Teen
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

This is based on a true story, although there are huge fictionalized expansions on it, only fitting in a story that is about a truly outrageous main character.  Kate Warne was a widow by the age of 23, and a detective by the age of 28, and only lived to the age of 35, but did a lot with her life, as far as history has preserved the final seven years of it.

Jeff Jensen has taken the very small amount that is known about the real Kate Warne, who may have been the first woman to be a full-time detective, and turn it into an excellent story.  The truth is that she worked for Allen Pinkerton, and she guarded Abraham Lincoln on his trip from Illinois to Washington D. C. through hostile places like Baltimore.  She kept awake as Lincoln slept, and this may have given inspiration to the Pinkerton logo, which had an eye with the slogan "we never sleep."  The details of her work in Baltimore seem to be fanciful creations, but she did in fact do things somewhat like what the graphic novel shows.  Her assistants in this story seem to be mostly fictional, but are very entertaining, especially the one who likes to blow things up.

Pinkerton and Warne really did a lot to keep Lincoln from both physical harm and emotional embarrassment on his trip to Washington, and it would be worthwhile for this creative pair to write about some of her later real cases.

People who like unusual crime and detective stories, ranging from written mysteries to the better episodes of NCIS, will find this story to be enticing.  The artist’s style might not appeal to everyone, but it’s good for this story.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.