11th Oct2017

‘Penny Dreadful #6’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Chris King | Art by Jesus Hervas | Published by Titan Comics


This second story arc, which began last issue, has not disappointed and looks like keeping up the very impressive standard of the first arc. No treading water for this title, it’s always full speed ahead, with constant plot reveals, story developments and character introductions. As a fan of the show I wouldn’t have accepted a sub standard comic cash-in, but this exceeds even what I would have settled for. It has been, and is, the TV show in comic form.

This arc has so far seen Lucifer ascendant, Sir Malcolm dead, Ethan reunited with Lily/Brona, a resurrected Vanessa Ives who’s not quite herself, a kick ass Catriona, and a very mixed up Dorian Gray. Did I mention Victor Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll/ Lord Hyde, and Renfield are also pieces on the board too. Chris King is not scared to handle big casts of characters for sure, and not afraid to introduce new elements, such as Mother Joan and her holy order of warrior nuns who want Ethan to team with them to take on Lucifer. Ethan was fine with that, but not so fine with their other planned ally. Dracula. They have previous.

A quick observation before reviewing the story proper. It is interesting how, without the uniting influence and rallying point of Sir Malcolm, the group have splintered and are doing things in their own way. Not sure if Chris King meant it that way, or that’s just the way the story has taken the characters, either way it’s a nice touch. So, Ethan, fancy a team up with Dracula? I can’t use his language but let’s call it a firm no. Ethan also can’t get over the fact Brona/Lily is alive, and she gives him a sort of truth, explaining the resurrection but leaving Victor’s name out of it. That may come back in the future.

Of more immediate concern is that it is the middle of the day in London and it is pitch black, ash is falling from the sky and there is a Blood Moon. The End of Days is coming. Lily explains to Ethan, through a story told across the Church’s stained glass windows, why they need Dracula. Dracula and Lucifer were both banished to Earth by God, where they both lusted after, and fought each other for, Lilith, the first Mother of Evil. Lilith turned to God, and he granted her the protection of a sable flame, one that banished Lucifer to Hell. Dracula, however, stole it and Lily explains how they need that flame to stop Lucifer now. Ominously, the final stained glass window is smashed, so both Ethan and ourselves do not know how all this will end.

Meanwhile Lucifer/Vanessa has been gathering his forces, including the Brides of Blood, and preparing to conquer the world. Something Kaetenay is all too aware of as he travels by ship back to London, with Sedna, who shares a power not unlike Ethan’s. As we drop in on Bedlam, where an angry Jekyll is telling Victor not to jeopardise their work by bringing Catriona there, Chris King throws yet another of these frequent curveball surprises at us. Sir Malcolm is back…kind of. Dorian Gray has, for the first time laid eyes on the resurrected, kind of, Vanessa Ives who is busy getting the most powerful in society to set Britain on the path to war. He quickly realises it is not Miss Ives, but indeed the devil to whom he sold his soul, and that bill includes betrayal of those he knows.

A superb issue all round. Chris King juggles a huge amount of story,characters and subplots like an absolute master, and they all fit seamlessly to create a perfect tapestry. You know when an issue is over too soon for you it was that good. The atmosphere, which can only be captured by an artist and writer in perfect synch, is pitch perfect, and the scratchy art of Jesus Hervas and moody colours make this absolutely delicious. Savour each page, don’t bolt it down like I did first time round.

A cliché perhaps, but this is how comics should be. Absolutely unmissable.

***** 5/5

Penny Dreadful #6 is out now from Titan Comics


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