REVIEW: Anno Dracula, 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem #1

What if your country was taken over by a monster. Not only that but he replaced the important leaders in government with more monsters that he keeps under control. (And for the record, I refuse to make any cheap Donald Trump jokes.) Under his reign, he is replacing freedom with oppression. With his power reaching out not only through the country, but around the world what would you do?

That is the dilemma facing four women in Anno Dracula, 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem. Three of the women are vampires. One is the daughter of a criminal mastermind. Two are co-conspirators in a plot to overthrow the vampire emperor. Can they succeed?

The story takes place 10 years after the events in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, but in this universe. Van Helsing and company were unable to stop the vampire’s plans and were killed. Dracula married Queen Victoria and after near death, became the ruler of the British Empire.

The issue begins with Dracula taking on an invasion feet of the combined French and German armies and navies, backed by America. After the fleet is defeated by Dracula with the aid of monsters of the deep, dissatisfied members of the Empire’s elite come together to plot the undead king’s overthrow.

On her way to a secret meeting, vampire Kate Reed is stopped and warned by Fah Lo Suee that one of the members of the conspiracy has already betrayed them. Kate is aware that Fah Lo’s father is the leader of a crime ring and distrusts her warning. She goes to the meeting with fellow heroine, Christina Light.

Meanwhile, Penny Churchward is meeting with the Prime Minister, who is also a vampire, to discuss a special appointment, but her friendship with Kate overshadows the commission.

The first issue is fast paced and manages to pack in a lot of information without getting too bogged down in exposition. It will be interesting to see how Kim Newman (who wrote the novels the comics are based on) brings the four women together and how they might succeed where Van Helsing, The French army and the German navy have failed.

The artist, Paul McCaffrey (Zombies vs. Robots, The Mummy, Rivers of London), shoulders much of the world building in this dark monster run empire. The crowd scenes with humans and vampires interacting tell you so much that you want to know about this place. Even the horses are menacing. And he draws such fantastic sea monsters.

If you didn’t pre-order this book, you should definitely consider picking up a copy from the shelf when you visit your comic book store this week. Even if you aren’t a big horror fan, there is enough going on to grab you.

Writer: Kim Newman
Artist: Paul McCaffrey
Colors: Kevin Enhart
Publisher: Titan Comics

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