"Penny Dreadful: Volume 1" Trade Paperback Review
Written by Ali Chappell
Published by Titan Comics
Story by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Andrew Hinderaker, and Chris King
Written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Chris King
Illustrated by Louie De Martins
2017, 129 pages
Trade paperback released on May 11th, 2017
Penny Dreadful writers Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Andrew Hinderaker team up with producer of the show Chris King, and artists Louie De Martins and Simon Bowland to bring the comic book version of the Showtime hit gothic series, Penny Dreadful. This graphic novel is set prior to the show's beginning. Building towards that Penny Dreadful storyline we already know so well.
The story is based around Vanessa (Eva Green), a tortured medium, searching for her childhood friend, Mina, who has been used as vessel by vengeful vampire-like demons. Vanessa urges Sir Malcolm Harker (Timothy Dalton), Mina’s father, to join her as they search for his daughter along with Mina’s husband and bane of Malcolm’s existence, Johnathan Harker. Sambene, Malcolm’s loyal servant from Africa, and Jonathan’s six shooter friends Lucy and Quincey, are all in for the ride of their lives. As Vanessa dives deep into Johnathan’s mind to see how Mina was taken, they are faced with battling vampire demons that surround the church they are hiding out in.
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The story grabs you right away. Considering this is the introduction to the new comic series, it is remarkable. As for most introductions, though, you want more. I can say the same about this issue, but what they have given us is something to grow and expand on. They are giving backstories to characters; they are creating animosity between individuals within the story; they are planting the seeds for a very successful series.
Louie De Martins does an amazing job with the art. He captures Vanessa’s eyes perfectly in every frame. His use of colors within different segments of the story is beautifully done; from the yellow and orange tones when Malcolm talks about Africa to the purple overture whenever the demons who are controlling Mina are surrounding her, he paints the mood with vibrant yet subtle colors and looks at each scene as though he were filming the series rather than drawing it.
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The first installment of the Penny Dreadful comic book series will have fans begging for more. It works in the same light as the show, where it’s a tragically beautiful slow burn that you need to watch every single week. The comic book takes hold of you and pulls you in to it’s gothic romance world.