In Review: Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland #5

I'm a fan for life after this. Highest possible recommendation.

The cover: A classic scary cover is when a reader can see that the protagonist is oblivious to the proximity or size of the antagonist behind him or her. This cover is classic to me. Bathed in a blood red light, Grey proceeds forward into the depths of a cave, wielding only a knife. Behind him are two gigantic eels about to pounce upon him. I love the look of the characters, the setting is excellent with just a hint of the cave, and the coloring is outstanding. Grey looks comprised of the color he’ll soon be wearing to his grave. Super job by Julian Totino Tedesco. Overall grade: A+

The story: 1881, Hallam. The floods have begun in Unland. Sir Horace, who’s been in a state of incapacitated shock, witnesses his wife disrobe before him, revealing the series of braces that allow her to move. She needs them because her arms writhe like an eel, of which two gigantic supernatural ones are outside the window. She tells her husband, “You never understood Mona. You can’t own it or control it. You’re supposed to allow it to work through you…Unland is rising.” As Edward makes his way to the mansion he’s told Horace discovered Mona and learned that “whoever holds Mona rules Unland. Water obeys.” Unland is safe as long as Horace holds Mona, and that’s when an electric eel the size of Godzilla attacks. This is major monster epic-ness from Kim Newman and Maura McHugh. This isn’t just monsters running amok, though, there is the survival of a town at stake, and potentially the fate of England. Highlights include all of Pages 7 and 8, the last panel on 9 (ICK!), Master Poole’s reveal and state on 11, all of 15, 17, 18, a fantastic final line from Grey, and a surprising cameo on the final two pages, set in 2006. Normally when I rave over a book, I just pick out panels that are cool plot points. Did you notice I had to go with entire pages? This is perfect classic supernatural terror. Overall grade: A+

The art: The visuals are a gothic love letter to fans of horror. Artist Tyler Crook has created a flawless book. The book opens with a fantastic disaster of Biblical proportions, with lightning splitting the sky. The story then moves into a mansion’s interiors where a sick individual is horrified to see what his wife has become–a thing twisted by an entity beyond human understanding. There are monster eels of several sizes to create a savage, threatening presence for readers. The eel on Pages 5 – 8 looks like something exhumed, rather than a flesh and blood beast. The final panel on Page 9 is just creepy, but would make a Lovecraft fan squeal in delight. I love that the mansion has a secret passage that leads to the climax, and Crook could have taken ten pages to get there and I would have been thrilled. Page 15 is beautifully creepy. 22 made me beam. This book looks amazing. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: With so many different settings and so much power being thrown about, Dave Stewart really shines. The opening deluge is wonderful dripping in blues and greys, yet no details in the artwork are lost. The mansion is faded wonderfully, as if natural life left it long ago. The glowing blue eyes of the eels are eerie. When blood appears–and, Boy, does it!–it is so brightly crimson it’s impossible to look away. The setting for the climax is beautiful in blues, but the content of the imagery makes the beauty of the coloring all the more perverse. The middle panel on Page 17 explodes with power because of the coloring. Stewart does a superb job. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Clem Robins creates scene settings, sounds, dialogue, supernatural creature speak, and a lot of yelling. It’s excellent work, and I love the font used on Pages 6 and 7. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Sir Edward Grey’s adventures are gothic terrors that must be read. I’m a fan for life after this, and I hope each creator returns to reveal a new tale soon. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

 

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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