If you’re a fan of the amazing show Penny Dreadful on Showtime, you’ll love what Krysta Wilson-Cairns and Chris King have done with the story. She provides a bit of fun to story we all fell in love with. We get some old faces, some new ones and a nice bit of back (or side) story to give us a well-rounded tale. If you’re already familiar with the story, some things seem disjointed and out place but, it’s done in a way that’s no different than what fans of Wynonna Earp and The Walking Dead have come to expect, only this time it’s in reverse. If you take this as something independent of the show then, it’s a nice intro and, if you’re already a fan it’s just more gore and monster myths to fuel your love of the macabre in between seasons.
Louis De Martinis provides some pretty grim artwork to go along with the dark tales being told. The art is comparable to what would happen if David Mack decided to do nothing but pulp comics and it’s an interesting to look at. The whole comic is steeped in pale reds and darkness, which makes the bloody battles, feedings and, double crosses look like part of the scenery. There’s also a lot of panels of pure action and gore, more action and gore than story panels. The whole graphic novel looks like really intense storyboards that mimic the tone of the TV series.
Penny Dreadful is well written, each issue contained within the novel builds on the momentum of the last and as a series, it works better in collected as a trade paperback than it did in single issues. The format of this trade is akin to binge-watching a show on Netflix and, it works well for this particular brand of story. This collection serves well to fill in a lot of the blanks that the show leaves us with in between seasons but, it also manages to become something new that will satiate the readers who will never watch the show. The issue focuses mostly on Mina and Vanessa, their families, their struggles with the darkness and their becoming.
Overall, this is a nice long, dark read for people who are into a little monster lore in their comic books. Fans of the slow burn and Tales From the Crypt type comics will fall in love with this classic structured and, based trade. There’s also kudos to be given for showing the parallels between the two women, their agency and the mirror image like goals, desires, and actions. Mina and Vanessa couldn’t be more different on the surface but, they’re both strong women and, watching them play cat and mouse using the people around them as pawns and knights without making them damsels in distress is a fresh take on an old trope.
Story: Krysta Wilson-Cairns and Chris King Art: Louis De Martinis
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review