Publisher: LG Comics
Writer: Nick Henry
Artwork: Michael D. Burton
Available now from London-Gothic.co.uk (CLICK HERE)
For almost two thousand years, the Brothers of Sinistre have been trying to get their hands on a set powerful holy relics from the crucifixion of Christ, hoping to use their innate power to unleash a literal hell on Earth. Standing in their way are the Tuttori, a secret order tasked with the protection of said relics. And when the Brothers of Sinistre’s bloody campaign makes its way to the the streets of London, it falls to Duke Henry de Montford, the last surviving member of the Tuttori, to stand in their way.
The story, while unashamedly leaning into some pretty familiar tropes, hangs together comfortably, making this 80-odd page chapter an easy, enjoyable read. Throughout the course of this opening volume, series writer Nick Henry does a good job of introducing us to our diverse cast of characters, including The Duke, his belligerent Irish companion Jellico, and D.I. Bailey, a member of the local constabulary who finds himself unwillingly drawn into this age-old battle between good and evil.
My only minor criticism with the writing here would be the sheer amount of swearing involved. That’s not because of some personal prudish reasons, but rather as a result of the way it diminishes the impact of characters for whom cursing is an innate part of their character – the aforementioned Jellico, for instance. When pretty much every character is turning the air blue every time they open their mouths, it definitely loses its emphasis and comes across as feeling a little lazy and unnecessary at points – even though some of the swearing itself is admittedly pretty damn funny.
That niggle aside, there’s a heck of a lot of world building going on here, as the Brothers of Sinistre’s demonic forces – led by the nefarious Lord Finnius Cromwell – gradually start to creep into the backstreets of London. Artist Michael D. Burton does a great job of bringing these monstrosities to the page, and the violence and gore is gloriously excessive at times. I did feel that there a bit of inconsistency with the artwork throughout the course of this first volume, which felt a little jarring at times as Burton shifted from scratchy, almost unfinished panels to some truly stunning splash pages with a tremendous use of light and colour.
The pace is kept suitably brisk throughout, never letting the exposition slow things down too much as we dart from one violent skirmish to the next – an approach I’m definitely in favour of with stories like these. Henry and Burton do a great job of landing right in the sweet spot, avoiding the pitfalls that have plagued so many other Gothic horror titles. Too slow and you lose the reader in dusty lore and prophecies; too fast and you lose the impact of the story in a flurry of crimson.
The final pages allow us to briefly take stock of the situation before introducing a menacing new threat by way of a cliffhanger. I’m definitely fully on board with the story and, despite some roughness around the edges, I can’t wait to get my hands on chapter two whenever it becomes available. Henry and Burton have created an intriguing version of our own world history, packed with horror, secret societies and supernatural shenanigans, and I’m keen to see where they take this story next.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]