If you were one of John Logan’s many fans who hated to see Penny Dreadful go off the air, then have no fear! Following the show’s cancellation, Titan Comics began work in early 2017 on a new series of comics and graphic novels that continued the story. For this review, we’ll be diving into the second installment of the Penny Dreadful series—Vol. 2: The Beauteous Evil—that was released on April 24, 2018.
For anyone who has never watched the show, this series might be a little too hard to follow—pretty sure I can say that with some certainty. After all, I watched the show and was still a bit lost. Granted, this was because I have not read the first graphic novel in the series Vol. 1: Evil Awakens, a problem that I plan to remedy very soon. But yeah, it drops you right into the middle of the action from page one.
On that note, just like the book’s creators, I’m going to jump right into the deep end with this review, too. The story opens after Vanessa’s body has been taken over by Lucifer who now seeks to give birth to the Anti-Christ. She needs Ethan to do this, though, so while she waits to get her claws into him, she is literally creating a Hell on Earth. In the meantime, every manner of person with any form of darkness in their hearts or who ever made a pact with the Devil is subject to do her bidding. As for Ethan, he and his friends discover that the only way to defeat Lucifer and save mankind lies with Dracula.
The complexity Chris King was able to include in just 114 pages amazed me. He was the executive producer on the show and it seems that his vision in that medium translates incredibly well to the graphic novel format. And the kept it moving—the story was fast-paced, action-packed, and was just an all-around awesome experience.
Artwork & Layout
A lot of the comics I’ve been reviewing lately used very crisp, sharp line work. Penny Dreadful Vol 2 took a bit of a different approach. Jesús Hervás artwork combined with Jason Wordie’s coloring gives it the feel of a horror story told through watercolors, with a hint of late 19th century impressionism thrown in for good measure. To me, this seemed appropriate, given the setting. It produces a wonderful effect on the reader.
In addition to this, Rob Steen deserves major credit for his work on the lettering. His use of different fonts for certain characters as well as the reversed background and text colors in Lucifer’s word balloons was fantastic. It really served to enhance the sense of otherworldliness of those characters and set them apart as different. It was a really nice touch.
As a fan of the television show, I really enjoyed seeing the story continue through the graphic novel series. I’m going to have to go back and get Vol. 1, though, before I go any further. I need to catch up to what just happened!
Writer: Chris King
Artwork: Jesús Hervás
Color: Jason Wordie
Lettering: Rob Steen
Editor: Lizzie Kaye
Source – Titan Comics
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