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Review – Penny Dreadful #1 (of 5) (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Writers: Andrew Hinderaker, Chris King, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Art: Louie De Martinis
Release Date: 11th May 2016


You’ve seen the Showtime T.V. show right? You know, the one in which Eva Green can regularly be seen snacking on bits of scenery in a wonderfully excessive way?

For those of you who have yet to see this magnificently bombastic Gothic Horror, it’s the story of Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) and Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) who band together to survive and thwart the paranormal and supernatural threats that wish for their destruction. Along the way we also get to follow the dark and dreadful stories of Frankenstein’s Monster (Rory Kinnear) and Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney). The third season is about to begin, and it’s pretty damned awesome too.

Well, this is the prequel. It’s written by the show’s scriptwriters, which means that It should be pretty awesome too, shouldn’t it? Let’s see.

This first issue explores the events that led Vanessa to try and find her friend, Sir Malcolm’s daughter, Mina Harker (Yep, Dracula’s floozy), and exposes our protagonists to the vampires that plague Victorian London for the first time.

I usually review the writing before I discuss the art, but bear with me here. Louie De Martinis’ art is magnificent. It’s dark and scratchy, with an almost photographic quality. The splashes of vibrant vermilion really “pop” out of the pages and his use of solid blacks against blue and purple backgrounds is especially effective. His art feels wonderfully cinematic, and the uncanny likenesses of the main characters really help you to hear their voices, something which I have no doubt is exactly what the writers want (I should probably point out at this point that while it does help, it certainly isn’t necessary to have watched the show prior to picking this one up).

So, to the writing… It doesn’t disappoint at all. You can tell that the writers know their subject inside out. You can feel their love coming right out of the page. Because De Martini presents the characters so well visually, the dialogue just feels right. The right things, said with the right tone by the right characters at the right time. Perfect.

This isn’t just 20 pages of sequential art. This is 20 pages of cinematic pre-visualisation done by superb scriptwriters, aided by a magnificent concept artist. If you have any love for the T.V. show, then you must buy this comic. If you have any love for Gothic horror, then you must buy this comic, and frankly, if you have any love for well-written excellently illustrated comics, then you really should buy this comic. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Rating: 5/5.


PREVIEW ARTWORK
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rxyjwppkjrmmxij7yk76The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil


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