As far as horror goes, it’s the stuff that unnerves you and makes you feel uncomfortable that can really stick with you. A clown jumping out or a thought of the end of the world is one thing, but little intricacies can stay with you forever. Enter Jenny Finn, one of the most unnerving comics I’ve read all year.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
London’s dockside is threatened by the twin terrors of a plague that leaves bodies covered in tentacles and a slasher killing women in the night, all of which began after the arrival of a strange young girl who is followed by whispers of doom wherever she goes.
Why does this matter?
From the minds of Mike Mignola and Troy Nixey comes a London based horror story about creatures and curses. It’s crime and horror combined with colors by Dave Stewart and art by Nixey. With this kind of talent how can it go wrong?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s gross, but I can’t look away!
The pace of this book is exceptional — there’s a lot of story, but it moves at a brisk and easy to follow pace. Nixey’s art is detailed and fluid, which makes the strange deformities populating people’s faces and bodies all the stranger. The panel work is exceptional too as it slows and speeds up depending on how many panels there are on a page, helping to plow through and give the reader more or slow down when we should sit and think about what we just saw. There are visuals in this book that are disgusting to look at, but it’s the kind of disgusting you won’t want to look away from. The rendering of the characters is quite unique, especially when it comes to the eyes. I was reminded of Eric Powell’s work at times in part because the characters look nothing like anything you’ve seen before. Nixey also nails the setting with accurate looking streets and London shipyards.
The story is well plotted, opening with three quick pages drawing the reader into the time and setting until it lands inside a brothel. It’s here we find one of the first atrocities and god is it disgusting — even more disgusting knowing a prostitute was servicing this beast. From there the story introduces Jenny and finally the lead character, who is somewhat obsessed with Jenny. There’s a Lost City of Children vibe going on with the dynamics here and, if you liked that film, you’re bound to like this story.
Tentacles are never a good sign.
This is a slow boil horror and has a storybook sort of feel that captures the strangeness of scenes very well. Take for instance the introduction of a man in a steampunk helmet. He shows up, the prostitutes know who he is and there’s very little explanation to the reader what he’s doing there. It will pique your interest, but then we never see that character again. It never frustrates with elements like this because there always seems to be a new oddity to discover as you turn the pages.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a mystery story going on here so there’s bound to be questions when you finish each issue. That said, I did want a little more info on Jenny, who is barely touched upon. She’s introduced and there are some clues about her abilities, but she’s gone from the story as quickly as she enters.
Is It Good?
Jenny Finn is a must read for horror and crime fans alike. Equal parts unnerving and interesting, the story will stay with you into the dead of night, creeping you out even when you’re done.