20th Dec2018

‘Penny Dreadful #12′ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

PennyDreadful_2_12_Cover-B

Another loooooong wait for an issue of this book, this issue being only the second one published in 6 months! I’m guessing this may be due to Chris King’s heavy workload, and possible involvement in the new Penny Dreadful show recently announced. The new show is set in 1930′s Los Angeles, and I’m not sure if it will tie in directly to the cast and characters we love so much, but any new stuff is good in my book. This issue brings both good and bad news however. Good in that it finally arrived, bad in that it seems it may be the final issue. Although it has all felt like it has been building to an ending, with deaths and destruction galore along the way, I’ll be sad if it is.

If you can remember where we left everyone four months ago you have a better memory than me, so recap time is called for I believe. Catriona, Victor (Frankenstein), Saduq and Nanuq (the werewolf siblings) have made their way to the Scottish Highlands to find Dracula, their only hope to defeat a seemingly victorious Lucifer. Dracula holds the sable flame, capable of defeating Lucifer, but his trustworthiness is pretty dodgy, though the team are relying on his hatred of his ‘brother’ Lucifer. Lily is back in London fighting off Lord Hyde, who is literally after her blood to make himself immortal, and Ethan is at the imminent birth of his and Vanessa/ Lucifer’s child, not quite thinking straight I think it’s fair to say. Things are not looking good anywhere you look.

When you think you know where this book is going, it always manages to throw you a curve ball, and this time it is with Dracula. Not only is he the voice of reason, playing peacemaker and seeking to help them, he has been guiding them the entire time to come to him. They were never in danger from him. He also seems genuinely remorseful about his actions and Vanessa Ives fate. He wishes Lucifer dead, and tells them of his and Lucifer’s past, including their connection to Lilith, the very first vampire who Dracula defeated and is buried beneath the lake. She is possibly more powerful than ever Lucifer.

Back in London, Lucifer/Vanessa has given birth to twins, Jezebel and Rebecca, an event that is ushering in the apocalypse as things start to collapse around the world. We drop in on Frankenstein’s Monster and Belial escaping the chaos, and Kaetenay fighting Lord Hyde who is looking for the escaped Lily. Lily has made her way to the Tower to find Ethan, and is horrified to hear he is the father of Satan’s children. Lily finds Ethan, and tries to convince him to step away from his liaison with Vanessa, as Vanessa is not Vanessa, which Ethan is forgetting. The apocalyptic effects on Earth have reached Scotland, where Victor and Cat have been despatched to London with the sable flame.

What follows next are several pages of widescreen action, as Ethan turns first on his friends, then on Lucifer, Victor and Cat fight to the brink of death, and finally Dracula turns up with his own army, as vampires fight demons. It’s grand and epic. It ends the way it always had to, with Dracula and Lucifer locked in eternal combat, both seemingly destroyed by the sable flame. The demons all die, the Earth is restored to normal, and Sir Malcolm’s ghost can finally pass over to the other side. Chris King wouldn’t be Chris King of course without dangling a few new plot threads our way, and we are left with Ethan and Lily starting a new life in the United States with Lucifer’s twin daughters, Victor confronted by Lord Hyde, Frankenstein’s Monster and Belial who all want his help, and the coffin of Lilith uncovered by the fabulous Mr. Lyle, who promises to never open it. Yeh, right.

Fabulous stuff. Again, so much story and character work packed into a single issue, it can feel a little too busy at times, but this also maintains that atmosphere of chaos and anarchy. The ending wasn’t a cop out either, it mad good sense considering how the story has unfolded. The art of Jesus Hervas has been absolutely essential to the atmosphere of this book throughout and the gritty, grainy art has been perfect.

Gothic by name, gothic by nature, possibly my favourite book being published anywhere right now. I hope it returns.

***** 5/5

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