Titan comics 2016
Story by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Andrew Hinderaker & Chris King
Written by Chris King
Illustrated by Louie De Martinis
Lettered by Rob Steen
With the truth of Mina’s abduction finally revealed to them, and the knowledge that they are searching for a creature that has untold powers sinking in, Vanessa and Sir Malcolm turn their attention to the man who has lost his hoped-for future, but may yet prove the key to discovering the whereabouts of Mina...
OH yes, yes, yes this is perfectly done! Once upon a time if I’d seen this style of artwork I’d have turned away from it but here what Louie does is utterly amazing. His sense of style and imagination, creativity and the way he just brings the pages to life here astounds me. With the subject matter at hand there isn’t a style that would do more justice than this does. The flow through the page layouts with the angles, perspective and the creative use of colour and line work both fill you with awe and fear. Vanessa’s vision page sums it all perfectly in one image for me and it’s stunning.
That this story really brings us Vanessa, Sembene and Sir Malcolm together for the first time is spectacularly done. That it weaves itself into the story of Dracula, with Mina and Jonathan is superbly done. I love the way that Vanessa is so firmly entrenched into the mythology of the creatures that go bump in the night this way. Just the way all these different characters are brought together for this story that is a proper introduction to the series has been so well crafted.
The characterisation here is fascinating and we see how it leads into the character’s portrayal on the show. So they’ve managed to capture them beautifully. The conversations that take place here flesh out the characters and their experiences prior to the one here. While vampires may not have been the subject per se I do like that they’ve all had those encounters that have shaped who they are to more readily accept what they are facing here as reality. Yes there is a healthy dose of skepticism among some of them, like Sir Malcolm thinking he can save his daughter from what she’s become, but overall the gravity of what they face keeps coming into stronger focus. It’s such good, strong writing that you almost believe that this is how history unfolded.
I think the ending was something I hadn’t quite expected to see. It’s two-fold as the group becomes splintered and they know they are in no shape to go after the master. Then the introduction in the comic of Ethan Chandler. So it’s like this leads directly into the first episode of the show where we meet him and their conversation as Vanessa wishes to hire him for some night work.
It’s also great because this is the just the beginning of Penny Dreadful arcs from Titan Comics. There will be more and if this first five issue run is any indication of what we can expect then it’s going to be a fan favourite series if not already achieving something of a cult status. While the show may have ended too soon there’s an opportunity here to really change that ending and keep their adventures going. I look forward to what’s next from this creative team as this has been one of the best surprises of the year for me.