This series creatively meshes a variety of pre-existing characters in a freshly re-imagined Victorian London universe. Kim Newman’s brilliant script is a true tribute to literature and an artistic creation beyond Bram Stoker’s classic novel. She uses anarchists, criminals, and artists from novels, short stories, films, and even operas as characters coexisting in her version of Victorian London. As I read, I found myself searching the characters’ names and reading up on their original roles in other works. The interactions between these characters make the tale unique and creative. I appreciate that the characters are not popular, because it allowed me to enjoy learning about lesser-known figures and their stories. (I may need to go and read The Princess Casamassima after reading this series!) When a work can inspire and encourage a reader to research and explore other works, I find that to be impressive.
As for the action of issue #2, we witness more fighting, blood, magic, and mystery. There is also a shocking, but amusing, moment that reminded me of The Godfather’s horse head in the bed scene. The gore is actually somewhat humorous. The blood and torture is just slightly over the top, which I find to be perfectly fitting for the atmosphere of the series. Stoker’s Dracula is dark and dreary and ominous. Newman and Paul McCaffrey embrace the elements of the Victorian Gothic but have so much fun with them. It is such an brilliant balance that creates an amusing adventure.
The resistance group proves to be very resourceful and multi-talented. Revolution is brewing, and the cast of characters involved are deep in preparations for the upcoming uprising. McCaffrey focuses our attention on the action of the fight scenes, and then in other panels adds brilliant and amusing details—like the vampire dog biting a prisoner and the dead bird on Penelope’s hat.
We also finally get to meet Prince Dracula himself. In line with the blend of Victorian Gothic and comedic exaggerations, Dracula is created as a perfectly amusing villain. He definitely does not resemble the nightmarish Gary Oldman version of the monster. Instead, he kind of reminds me of a Space Jam alien. Dracula is essentially a funny, green monster with exaggerated features and buckteeth. It’s a perfect representation for this series.
The variant covers for this issue are all wonderful in their details and coloring. I love Mike Collins’ cover with his use of bright red in the moon and eyes of the people. Dracula’s silhouette in the moon looks down on the city as he mystically commands from a place where he can see everything and everyone. And Kate stands in front, the only person in brightly colored clothing, posed to tell us she means business. The whole cover is simply captivating.
Torture, questionable loyalties, and skilled fighting all make their way into issue #2. The revolutionary council is going to give Prince Dracula a tough fight when the uprising goes down. And there will most certainly be more blood-filled pages to add to the excitement of it all.