18th Aug2017

‘Anno Dracula 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem #5’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Kim Newman | Art by Paul McCaffrey | Published by Titan Comics


I’ve really enjoyed this series so far, it has definitely had its own feel to it from the beginning. Kim Newman has crafted a bizarre yet semi-familiar world, full of bizarre, but semi-familiar characters. I am, of course, a bizarre and semi-familiar reviewer. It’s been a blast though, much like the blast the rebels wanted to give Dracula during his anniversary celebrations. Last issue saw us on the evening of the Jubilee itself, with Kate being framed for the planned bombing while actually trying to defuse the bomb. It set this book up for an, ahem, explosive finale.

Although we have a cast of thousands, the main thing to be aware of since last issue is that there seem to be a lot of spies and turncoats everywhere, possibly on both sides. No-one can trust anyone. Kate has started to realise this now, and luckily engineers an escape by jumping in the Thames. She has realised that the anti-Dracula Council of Days she is, or was, a member of was a sham. Sunday always had other intents, known only to Christina Light who herself has manipulated others including Kate’s boyfriend and fellow council member Paul, and is in alliance with Count Graf Von Orlok, a man more ancient than Dracula himself.

To add to the general confusion and shifting allegiances, Penelope Churchward and Special Branch come to Kate’s aid. Christina Light is one tough cookie though, and the fight is not easy. While all these political and terrorist related shenanigans are going on, we get some good old fashioned thievery, as The Daughter of the Dragon steals the Crown Jewels, which her father, The Dragon, makes off with. Or thinks he does, as she fills the sacks with cups and other junk. She hides the real Crown Jewels, for such a time as and when Dracula is gone, and declares herself now Mdme. Fah Lo Suee, no longer Daughter of the Dragon but a ‘she-dragon’ in her own right.

Her first action as her own woman is to help Penelope and Kate in their fight against Christina Light, and her ally Sunday. Only, there is no Sunday. Sunday was an illusion, a fake creation of light made by Christina. She was always the one in charge, the one prepared to throw everyone under the bus to get at Dracula. Kate ultimately wins this fight, as Christina gets trapped in a semi-transparent state, and Von Orlok decides to end their partnership. Penelope makes sure everyone realises Kate and Fah Lo saved Dracula’s life (obviously reluctantly). That, of course, deserves an audience with the big man himself. Dracula is indeed a big man, and he has an offer for Penelope, Kate, and Fah Lo, one that they can’t, and shouldn’t refuse.

‘We’ll think it over’ says Kate, to Penelope’s horror.

Kim Newman’s resolution to the last 5 issues was both satisfying and yet slightly underwhelming. Underwhelming in the sense that many of the fun character cameos ended up being just that, cameos, and left us with a sense that their stories need to be told at some point too. Satisfying in the sense that Newman tied it together beautifully. It was never about the Council of Days taking down Dracula, it was about being the adventure that brought together the formidable team of Kate, Penelope, and Fah Lo. That story arc was fantastic. The art, by Paul McCaffrey, was fine as always, though I still feel there are better artists, and styles, out there for this type of book. His art lacks a little menace for me.

Kim Newman has created a rich world, and one most deserving of many more visits. I hope there’s a lot more to come yet from this alt-world Charlie’s Angels team and perhaps Dracula himself.

**** 4/5


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