Review – Jenny Finn #1 (Dark Horse)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Mike Mignola, Troy Nixey
Artwork: Troy Nixey, Dave Stewart (colours)
Release Date: 15th November 2017

“Fresh fish!”

Last week saw the re-release of one of Mike Mignola’s unsung classics, Jenny Finn.  Finally in colour, courtesy of the always stellar work of Dave Stewart, the series is set in the putrid docks of Victorian London and introduces us to our titular enigma as she quietly goes about her business in a city not only ravaged by a bizarre aquatic plague, but also at the mercy of a depraved serial killer.

Mignola fully embraces the story’s Lovecraftian influences right from the get-go, with all manner of tentacles and supernatural whisperings of doom on display from the very first page.  Interestingly, Jenny herself isn’t the main focus of the narrative here, instead serving almost as a peripheral character for the time being, a potential antagonist who seems mostly oblivious to the horrors that are unfolding around her.

Instead, Mignola and co-writer Troy Nixey frame the bulk of the story from the perspective of Joe, a fairly harmless and unremarkable dock worker who obliviously interjects himself into Jenny’s world, setting off a chain-reaction of violent and disturbing events in the process. He’s a nice enough fellow, but there isn’t any real sense of investment in him just yet – an accusation that could be levied at any one of what is essentially a bunch of fairly unlikeable characters.

Troy Nixey’s artwork is grotesquely exaggerated throughout, and not just the plague-ridden inhabitants of the city, either (although the way the plague manifests itself is genuinely disturbing).  Even the faces of the quote-unquote “normal” people seem to be contorted and twisted, giving the whole book a thoroughly unsettling aesthetic as the twisted story unfolds.

The city itself also ends up coming across almost like a character in itself, with a stifling, ever-present feeling of clutter and a dank, dirty feel that really helps to accentuate the more macabre aspects of the story.

Ultimately, Jenny Finn is an uncomfortable, unsettling read that offers up way more questions than answers – for the time being, at least – but given Mignola’s unquestioned pedigree and the fresh, disturbing feel of Troy Nixey’s full-colour art, this new series still comes highly recommended.

Rating: 4/5.

ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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