30th Aug2018

‘Penny Dreadful #11′ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

PennyDreadful_2_11_Cover-A

I know they say good things are worth waiting for, but it’s been close to three months since the last issue of Penny Dreadful. Yikes. That’s enough to test even my memory, which is a shame as the book was racing along at a fair old whack up to then. Chris King is a busy guy in several fields, so I’m guessing the delay lays there rather than with Jesus Hervas, who to date seems to have been on target every month. Anyway, as only old timers like me fixate on monthly schedules anymore, let’s move on to the proper stuff. The story.

So, where the hell were we? Well, hell was on Earth as you recall, and our heroes were all scattered to the winds fighting on various fronts. Ethan, with Lily by his side, is busy trying to stay alive in the face of overwhelming odds against Vanessa/Lucifer. Catriona, Victor, Saduq and Nanuq (the werewolves) are battling witches aboard a speeding train as it heads to the Isle of the Living Dead where Dracula awaits. That’s probably one of the coolest sentences I’ve written in any review, and the action lived up to it. It is, in the modern vernacular, all kicking off.

Score one for our team, as Cat and the were-siblings make short work of the witches, who judging by the decapitated heads shouldn’t be back any time soon. Victor has also managed to escape death, again, by plunging a knife into an ice wall to prevent a thousand foot plummet. Now that’s lucky. Back in London Lily is not quite so lucky. Regaining consciousness, she finds she has been taken captive by Lord Hyde, Dr Jekyll in his monstrous form. He wants some of Lily’s blood to make himself immortal, and Lily narrowly escapes when Kaetenay runs just enough interference with Hyde. Where the hell is Ethan when you need him?

Well, being an expectant father he is, of course, with the soon to be mother of his child. Of course, that mother just happens to be his dead former lover now possessed by the Devil but hey, relationships are complicated. The ghost of Sir Malcolm pleads with Ethan to do the right thing and kill mother and baby, but Ethan thinks he is delusional, knowing Sir Malcolm is dead, and runs away. Not great, as Vanessa/Lucifer is on the verge of having the Anti-Christ cut out of her. Catriona, Victor and company have managed to get a lift on a cart, and are making their way to town. The boy who drops them off seems suspiciously keen to help, and suspiciously keen to drop them off at a certain pub. Hmmmm.

Looking for a local to guide them to the island, they find Quincy Morris, who agrees to take them, in contrast to everyone else who thinks them mad. Quincy has an agenda of his own, he is seeking revenge on Dracula for taking his wife. Seems like both sides can help each other. The ferryman, Kharon, requires a human soul to transport them over to the island, always a slight dent in travel plans, but Victor manages to bribe him with the sacred knife they have. You know, the only thing that can defeat Dracula. Sigh. One eventful crossing later, they literally knock on Dracula’s door. All seems to be going well, until one person turns traitor, one person gets shot, and the person you least expect to try and keep the peace tries to do just that.

It was worth the wait. In fact, the wait made me appreciate the whole thing that little bit more. Fantastic script meandering all over the place, juggling the different storylines perfectly, in perfect synergy with that trademark loose and scrappy, but gorgeous, art from Jesus Hervas and the perfect muddy and subdued colours of Jason Wordie. It is a team book both characters wise, and creative team wise, as all are equally important to it working.

Every bit the gothic masterpiece the TV series was. Superb.

***** 5/5

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