"Penny Dreadful: The Awakening #1" Comic Review
Written by Ali Chappell
Published by Titan Comics
Based on the series created by John Logan
Written by Chris King
Illustrated by Jesus Hervas
Colored by Jason Wordie
2017, 40 pages, $4.99
Comic released on April 5th, 2017
**The following review contains SPOILERS for the Penny Dreadful TV series**
This new series of Penny Dreadful takes place six months after the series finale of the hit Showtime show. They have teased us about this for months and it is finally here. Chris King, the producer of the show itself, has moved into the writer’s chair to take on the sequel we have all been dying for.
For those of you know from the finale, Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) was killed by her lover Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett). She had always been a troubled soul and while yes, Ethan killed her, he did because she begged him to. Now he is haunted by her vision. However, he is battling his own demons, and he confides in Dr. Seward (Patti LuPone) and asks for help; but only next Friday and only in the full moon. For those of you who watched the show, you know what is going to happen. For those of you who don’t, take a moment to ponder what evils can be unleashed underneath a full moon within one person?
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On a completely different continent, we see Mr. Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) excavating a tomb in Egypt with the Duke of Kent. As they uncover an ancient sarcophagus, Mr. Lyle reads that this was the tomb of Amun-Ra and his blood thirsty beasts that feasted upon the living. He begs the Duke to leave this tomb where it lay or destroy it, but not to open or bring it back to museum. Only evil can come from this. They abandon the tomb and Mr. Lyle returns home to London, to his museum to prep for the gala.
Before the gala starts Mr. Lyle receives a last minute piece. The sarcophagus. In a furious rage, he orders it to be burned, but the Duke has other plans for it and in the evening, death and destruction is a foot.
The story leaves us with suspense. It ends with a cliff hanger that will drive us mad until issue #2. As for Ethan Chandler, his hopeless heart and visions of Vanessa must wait while he battles his own inner demons. Each tale is told in a similar way as show does, where each character gets to build their arc and grab you by the throat with it while still intertwining each character with one another. It’s quite well done.
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The artwork is beautifully drawn. From the frame-to-frame design to the most meticulously done covers, it’s done with such precision. Jesus Hervas captures the essence of each character and the traits that define them most. He brings life to their eyes and you feel their pain as you read on. The scenes that involve transformation of a character are drawn to life with the dull colors against harsh flashes of reds. As well, the way Jason Wordie draws the eye by using very few dramatic hues against the darkness of the picture brings more breath to this tale; the yellow in Mr. Lyle’s hair, the red in the heart on display.
I might say I’m biased, as anything to do with Penny Dreadful I will adore, but throwing in ancient Egypt as well? You have me hook, line and sinker. The story leaves us begging for the next installment. They have awoken an ancient beast that the Duke wishes to control to summon the dark father himself. Will they destroy the world or each other? I need to know. Like now.