Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder, Volume 4: City of the Dead (#1 of 5)
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Story: Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson
Illustrations: Ben Stenbeck
Coloring: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover Art: Julián Totino Tedesco
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Flesheating corpses and an ancient temple discovered beneath London lead authorities to call upon Edward Grey, Queen Victoria’s official occult investigator. But the sinister Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra also has interests in the underground ruins. When they ask for Grey’s help, he has to wonder if the threat is great enough to team up with a secret society he’s sworn to destroy.
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola teams with his new writing partner Chris Roberson (iZombie, Hellboy & the BPRD 1953) and his original Witchfinder collaborator Ben Stenbeck (Frankenstein Undergound) for an occult mystery exploring the darkest corners of London.
Despite not having read the other prior comics in the series (I freely admit I am a dunce. I thought this was volume 1), I ate this comic alive, pun thoroughly intended. I also found that I didn’t need to have read the other stories thus far to understand the settings and characters.
Storyline and Writing
The story alone was compelling and a bloody page-turner, at that.
Everything was apropos, even the 1800s English dialect which was appropriately spoken based on the social rank and impressively on point, which made the story all the more alluring and believable. In example, tunnel diggers and grave diggers had a free-spoken, less grammatically correct English with more cursing while Sir Edward, doctors and judges had posh, educated and grammatically correct speech.
The authors used narrative mechanisms perfect for forwarding the plot: reflections on past occurrences in the series were both helpful and aptly placed and Sir Edward’s journaling provided significant insight into his thoughts and emotions, which created a well-rounded, relatable lead character. The secondary characters were also tantamount to the progression of the plot, particularly in the manner that Sir Edward cleverly utilizes them.
The only problem I had was that there were only 25 pages total and I was hoping for a bit more story before the cutoff and “To be continued…”
Illustration, Art, and Coloring
Ben Stenbeck’s art for this comic was his standard, which is anything BUT standard. He giftedly melds his art to the storyline. For this comic, the art was grungy and dark, as was needed to make the comic a successful, whole story.
What I noticed immediately, besides the art, was how impressive the coloring was. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, incorrect coloring choices really can unintentionally kill a comic’s vibe. In this case, Michelle Madsen nailed it. The color scheme was dark and smoky with varying shades. The colors chosen were perfect for both representing the 1880s and for graveyards.
Together, the art and coloring were exquisite. Panelling was also an easy read.
Michelle’s Rating: 9/10
Advance review copy provided for review by the publisher, Dark Horse.