Review: Helsing #3

Helsing03_coverAThough not a particularly big vampire or Grimm Fairy Tales fan, for some reason I’ve always liked the Van Helsing character in the Dracula story. He reminds me of a gothic Indiana Jones, with a crossbow instead of a whip. As such, I decided to give Zenescope‘s four-issue mini series Helsing a look, in the hopes that their Grimm Universe packs more than just the heaving bosoms of their covers. Alas, this third installment missed the proverbial mark.

After spending more than a century in a hellish dimension, Liesel Van Helsing, daughter of the famed vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, arrives in the present day to investigate her father’s hidden past and take on the evil that comes with it. Having dutifully started with the first issue, I wasn’t halfway through before I let out a groan. Pop culture references to Nickleback, Edward Cullen, and smartphones already? Ugh. I was on board with a sultry, steampunk Helsing daughter in the 1800s, but not a time traveling vampire killer that takes selfies.

The nail in the coffin is writer Pat Shand‘s ubiquitous narration. Every word Liesel thinks is in a caption, and at at times the captions consume the pages (more so in the first two books than this one). Let the art do some of the talking. The touch of a hand or a passing glance speaks just as much as words. Artists Tony Brescini and Andres Esparza are more than up for the task, but it’s tough to enjoy illustrations of a story that doesn’t grab me. That said, the smoky, shadowy London they create lends a historical feel to this issue, almost as if they are back in the time and place they should be! Also, I want to give a rare shout out to letterer Jim Campbell for his work on Renfield, he definitely captures the essence of the character.

The potential is there, especially how Shand introduces Harker, Mina, and Renfield (which are hopefully familiar names to most). Couple that with some subtle, tongue-in-check present day references and it could have been a wholly different read. Unfortunately, the depth of the storyline didn’t match the depth of the plunging necklines.

Story: Pat Shand Art: Tony Brescini, Andres Esparza
Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Zenescope provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review