11th Jan2018

‘Penny Dreadful #8’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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


Penny Dreadful has to be one of the toughest books currently out there to recap. Not only is every issue absolutely crammed to the brim with story, but Chris King weaves multiple threads over many issues, many of which began life on the TV show itself. You can’t just recap a single issue without back story as it makes little sense on its own. I do try and recap but, hey, don’t blame me if you still scratch your head.

Last issue ended up with many of our cast in a carriage that had plunged into the Thames, as the streets of London burn and are overrun by Lucifer’s follower’s. Well, you can’t make an End of Days omelette without breaking a few eggs. Prior to that we had checked into, not literally of course, the mental hospital Bedlam, where Victor Frankenstein and Lord Hyde had been conducting their very dodgy experiments, though Bedlam is now overrun by literally possessed inmates. Ethan and Lily had gone to Bedlam to see Renfield, in their hunt for Dracula, but had in reality been betrayed by Dorian Gray. Catriona has been running around with the ghost of Sir Malcolm, and Kaetenay is also up to something. And……breathe.

We dive into this issue with an underwater fight, as Ethan fights off a demonic attack on Catriona, as Victor takes Renfield to the surface. They survive and make for the Abbey where Lily should be waiting. Lily isn’t though, she has been taken by Dorian back to his house. Dorian is conflicted by his order to serve Lucifer, who granted him his immortality, and his desire to help the group. He reveals his hidden picture to Lily, into which his sin is cast, and asks her to end it all for him. She sees her immortality as a blessing, but Dorian now sees nothing but a curse.

The group now reveal to Renfield why they need him, to contact Dracula. He refuses, as Dracula abandoned him and Lord Hyde has since cured him of his desire for blood. As Victor tries to persuade Renfield the Abbey is attacked by a large group of demons, which the group barely survive. Renfield gives up Dracula’s possible location, an island off the coast of Scotland called Marbh Beo, before seemingly sacrificing himself to allow Victor to escape. Ethan has reluctantly transformed to save everyone, though the final demon tells him to follow them, as Vanessa is waiting for him. Ethan, unwisely, does so. Vanessa is indeed there, and seduces Ethan. Ethan does not know what we do, that Lucifer is possessing the body of Vanessa. Vanessa is now pregnant by the Wolf of God, she will give birth to the anti-Christ himself. Worst one night stand ever.

Another great issue, with some truly sparking dialogue throughout. As much as I love the action, and to be fair it really dominated this issue also too much, it is the character interplay and relationships that I appreciate the most. The final Lily and Dorian scene is very touching, and another punch in the gut. Chris King’s getting good at that. The dialogue, like Chris, is King. Jesus Hervas  and Jason Wordie do a great job, as always, with the art and the colouring. Who thought static pictures on a page could feel so alive, dripping with such evil and drama everywhere you look. Every page positively dripped with badness. Great job by all.

Another issue, another confirmation this is one of the best books being published anywhere. No treading water here, just great story and art. Every issue. Each issue reminds us that while TV lost a great show,  we readers gained a fantastic comic book.

****½  4.5/5


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