Synopsis: The hit TV series ‘Penny Dreadful’ is presented in comics for the first time! This prequel reveals the terrifying events that led Vanessa to try and find her missing childhood friend, Mina Harker, and exposes the true nature of the vampiric monsters infesting Victorian London. Beautifully realized by Louie De Martinis, and written by the scriptwriters of the hit show!
Review: With ‘Penny Dreadful’ #1, writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns sets up the series to come. Readers are reintroduced to Vanessa Ives, Sir Malcolm Murray, and Sembene in short order. Unfortunately, the reintroductions are double-edged swords, because Wilson-Cairns has to lift scenes directly from the first season to facilitate them.
Readers get a shot-for-shot recreation of Vanessa encountering Vision Mina on that moody beach and a vampire fight sequence that is frankly too similar to the ones in the show.
On the upside, artist Louie De Matinis captures the aesthetic of Penny Dreadful perfectly. Readers can see the psychological, spiritual, and physical pain drawn into every character, particularly Vanessa Ives. I felt that Eva Green could come off the page. I also really appreciated the lurid yellows and reds with which De Matinis highlighted the fire and extreme violence.
In short, ‘Penny Dreadful’ #1 plays like a greatest hits album with a wonderful cover and liner notes. Fortunately, it’s a greatest hits album that comes with one new track so far — Sir Malcolm’s son-in-law Jonathan Harker. He’s a character I wondered about from the very beginning of the first season, so my curiosity is piqued.
Unfortunately, there’s another double-edged sword to contend with. Sir Malcolm and Harker don’t get along — a rift that pre-dates vampires. I’m really hoping that subsequent issues of the ‘Penny Dreadful’ comic are longer on new material with which to flesh out this world and shorter on the age-old in-law bickering that’s threatened.
Writer: Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Artist: Louie De Matinis
Publisher: Titan Comics