(W) Marguerite Bennett (A/CA) Ariela Kristantina

For a new publisher, trying to make a splash in the overcrowded racks, Aftershock Comics have gone about their task using quality over quantity, with this book steeped in a dark display of decadence and desire.

The year is 1894, Lady Bertram is in a one-sided loveless marriage, where her husband finds her dowry more attractive than her.  As such, it’s no surprise that she looks for love from other sources; in this case it’s in the loving embrace of her maid, Maria.  Together the two hatch a plan that will see to the demise of Lord Bertram and allow he pair to be together.

In the past, I have been quite critical of writer Marguerite Bennett, whose superheroine work I have found a tad tepid.  However, this book shows all her styles as a writer.  The cynics among you may think it’s the graphic display of sex that catches the eye, but the story had a couple of clever twists that I didn’t expect.  This coupled with some fantastic dialogue “you [Lady Bertram], could light up a London fog” for example had me smiling.  The love between two women is real and is shown to great effect in the tender moments of their conversations.

Ariela Kristantina, who like Bennett, has spent some time at Marvel Comics, produces some exquisite art in creating this Victorian erotic horror story. The fact that these three facet merge so well is down to Kristantina who conveys the opulence of Lady Bertram’s public façade, the hunger and need of her time with Maria and ultimately the horror that awaits the main players.  Bryan Valenza is also on top form, giving the various elements equal amounts of respect ensuring that no one part of the story dominates at the expenses of the whole issue.

I have recently  bemoaned the fact that books like Grimm Tales of Terror seem to promise so much, with their use of curvaceous covers, then fail to deliver true horror.   As such, InSEXTs, with its erotic/horror vibe is breath of fresh air, showing that female characters can be strong and vibrant, without the need to conform to a societal norm.

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