Adding to their library of comic-to-television adaptions, Titan Entertainment has published Penny Dreadful, which takes place during the third season of the Showtime Series. It’s penned by some of the show’s writers, with this first installment written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns. Is it good?

Penny Dreadful #1 (Titan Comics)

The comic series will follow the trials of Vanessa Ives, Frankenstein, and others stuck in London’s demonic culture scene. In issue #1, we’re reacquainted with the vampiric aspect of the franchise while also being introduced to Mina and the Master. On top of this being the initial issue, you get the choice of six different covers–my favorite being the Guillem March artwork.

Is It Good?

If you haven’t seen the first two seasons of Penny Dreadful, it may take you a bit to understand what’s going on. As someone who’s watched the series, the first few pages felt very reminiscent of an episode from season one. I’m hoping this was done to get everyone (especially non-show watchers) caught up with the story. As far as dialogue, it starts well, but starts to slip once they talking about characters you wouldn’t know unless you’ve seen the series. Fortunately, the first few characters we meet are easy enough to figure out.

If you’re worried about knowing who the bad guys are, it’s pretty simple to figure out. Red eyes equal bad. Simple and to the point.

The artwork at the start of the issue is fantastic–the background in particular adds depth to the layout. Unfortunately, about halfway through the issue, the art seems to lose its intensity. Also, the SFX lettering that goes along with some of the action sequences doesn’t really fit the mood of the story. When someone shoots a demonic being in the chest, it’s a bit jarring to see the word ‘BLAM’ outlined in blue around it. It feels like the action words may have been added so it would seem like there was more text on the page. Some panels with little to no text just had oddly placed SMACKs and WHOOMPHs. Even when these odd SFX choices did manage to jibe with the story, took the attention away from the artwork.

Overall the story makes sense with the series and the writing is pretty easy to follow. The narrative explains enough, but doesn’t get so wordy that it stops being interesting. There’s discussion of a few characters we haven’t met yet, but the ones we do meet can hold their own. Plus, if you know anything about the Harker’s, you should be ok (“Dracula” if you’re lost…).

Penny Dreadful #1 Review
The story fits with the seriesInteresting narrative throughoutInteresting artwork
Unexplained charactersSFX causes some distractions
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