Do you like monsters? Do you like creepy tales about unfamiliar worlds? How about creepy girls with insane power? You’ve come to the right place as Dark Horse Comics has released a hardcover of the fantastic Jenny Finn story. I gave this series very high grades when I reviewed each chapter, but finally I get to sit down and read it all in one sitting.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
London’s dockside is threatened by the twin terrors of a plague leaving bodies covered in tentacles and a slasher killing women in the night. Desperate for answers after the wrong man is executed for the murders, a group of Londoners holds a séance to contract the supposed killer, and his story of a girl born of the sea who has brought a terrible curse only brings them more questions.
Why does this matter?
This is Mike Mignola, comics great, working with amazing artist Troy Nixey on something Victorian in setting and creepy in atmosphere. It’s a blending of styles that is unique and well worth an adaptation.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
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 an Lost City of Children vibe going on with the dynamics here and, if you liked that film, you’re bound to like this story.
As the story progresses we meet new and weird characters further fleshing out this world. Dare I say I hope they make a sequel? The Prime Minister and other characters all seem to belong in a cuckoo house and yet somehow are allowed to walk about. When an army of underwater JIM suit wearing soldiers shows up you’ll be fully immersed in the strange. The last chapter wraps things up, but you’ll wish it wouldn’t.
This hardcover comes with a complete selection of Mignola’s gorgeous covers with the cumbersome title and UPC removed. There are also 24 pages of sketches from Nixey which are downright gorgeous. They come with four pages of notes from Nixey which help add some clarity to this book as well as a heap of praise for Mignola. They read like a personal diary of sorts and they’re worth a look.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Farel Dalrymple takes over for Troy Nixey on art and it’s a huge shift in style. Some of the visual motifs are still there, but it’s a huge let down to see the visuals change so much. No disrespect to Dalrymple, but the moody nature of the comic dissipates here and the style is somewhat simplistic when held up to Nixey’s work.
The last chapter is also different in its pace seemingly rushing to get it over with rather than slowly unravel this strange little tale. The story is a strong one that builds well, but it closes off as if the creators wanted it over with. I wouldn’t be surprised if more issues were planned originally too. In the extras, Nixey touches briefly on his not drawing the last chapter but doesn’t reveal why. Unfortunate!
Is it good?
This is a good volume that may have suffered due to the high expectations set by the first volume. I liked it and laughed, but it wasn’t a nonstop thrill ride of ridiculousness like the first volume. Still, I enjoyed it and like these characters enough to want more.
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