Dark Horse published Witchfinder: City of the Dead – a five-issue series by the creator of Hellboy, Mike Mignola; the co-creator of iZombie, Chris Roberson; original Witchfinder artist Ben Stenbeck and original Witchfinder colorist, Michelle Madsen.
Sir Edward Grey, occult adviser to Queen Victoria, confronts flesh-eating corpses upon the discovery of a temple beneath London. Initially, Grey quickly passes off the call as nothing out of the ordinary until he witnesses a corpse spring to life in the morgue. The mysterious link between the recent reanimation of long dead corpses and the occult Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra compels Sir Edward deep into the investigation.
I am definitely on board most anything Mr. Mignola pens and no fan of Dark Horse comics would deny Ben Stenbeck’s mastery of illustrating a story. This is a powerhouse creative team and the first issue definitely shows us why. Even a new reader could pick this issue up and not feel lost. Mignola provides enough subtle backstory to involve the reader but not so much as to insult our intelligence. No pages are wasted and Sir Edward Grey is displayed quickly as a master in the was of mysticism and macabre. He is also displayed as a rather fearless “Sherlock” of the occult. Although alluded to in Hellboy mythos, this is a subtly different arc and if you, like me, enjoy Red and his Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) tales definitely pick up this series!
The art and color provided by Mr. Stenbeck and Michelle Madsen thrust the reader into the Victorian-era and set the stage for what looks to be an exciting sleuthing story. The zombie craze in pop-culture is hard to miss but this take being a non-apocalyptic setting is a nice change of pace for readers.
Overall, I was impressed with the issue. I found nothing took me out of the setting the creators have designed. The hook of a first issue was set firmly, we are given enough back story to tantalize and enough mystery to want more. Whether or not you have read any issues or you are a Sir Edward Grey-Wiki this book is definitely worth your time.
Writer: Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson
Artist: Ben Stenbeck
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Julian Totino Tedesco