Writer: Alex Giles
Artists: Ka De Oki, Tiko Capdevila
Release Date: 26th August 2020
The continuing adventures of Betty and Ronald sees them travelling the prairies hunting monsters in the Wild West. While things seem to be going well for our intrepid duo, things take a sinister turns as they travel to Massachusetts, their wagon is ambushed, and a name from the past sours the mood. Betty and Ronald’s mission to find the Devon Demon provides us with more insight into the journey Betty has been on.
This is my first foray into the world of the indomitable Betty Mitchell, so I did a bit of catching up this afternoon. This is a series that’s not brilliant, but it is fun. It has monsters, shoot-outs and a heroine who is fiery and just the right side of Victorian temptress without being too crass or suggestive. This is not a series that’s ever going to win an Eisner Award, but it feels like it’s just fine doing what it’s doing.
I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for a good Steampunk tale, but while this has a good story at its heart, it just doesn’t quite stick the landing every time. I really like the fact that, while our heroine is dressed on the more risqué side of Victorian fashion, she isn’t the typical semi-naked source of titillation that so many female characters in this genre seem to be (I’m looking at you Dynamite). She’s strong and intelligent, and I particularly liked the fact that the object of her affection is blissfully ignorant of the fact (although I really would like to give young Ronald a slap upside the head).
There’s the possibility that this series could have been a lot darker. Certainly the material is there, and it’s fine that they keep it lighter, but I think from a personal point of view, it could have been a lot better if they’d leaned just that little bit more into the horror. That being said, I do like the variety of monsters that are in this series, and it’s always good to see Spring Heeled Jack in a story.
The artwork is solid enough throughout, although the level of detail in this issue doesn’t appear to be as good as previous issues. The character design is interesting, and with so many mythical and folklore creatures to draw inspiration from there’s plenty to keep us interested. As I mentioned though, I felt that there just wasn’t the detail in this issue that there could have been, which wasn’t particularly helped by the colouring which lacked depth. The Devon Demon, for example, disappointingly ends up as a fairly by-the-numbers, ‘grey man’ alien type which felt a little out of place.
On the whole, if you want to while away a little time in a Steampunk world with a ‘monster of the week style format’, then you could do a lot worse than pick this up.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek