All is not well in Victorian times as Lady Bertram and Maria face murder most foul in a wicked web of debauchery, brought on by the vengeful brother of Lady Bertram’s long dead husband. Still, all is not lost for with every new foe and challenge, there are also allies with which to rail against those that seek to destroy the lovers and their family unit.
Marguerite Bennett continues to draft a tale that resembles all the best parts of a Lovecraft-ian love / horror story. The dialogue never misses a beat, with overblown speeches filling the page with an unlikely ease. For all the good things about Bennett’s writing here, this issue does feel like it’s treading water somewhat. From a longevity point of view, there is nothing really new in here, nothing that we haven’t seen already in the four issues that precede it. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing; after all, if you love pizza there is nothing wrong with having pizza every day. However, you may find that the fifth one isn’t as great as the first one you had. This is a problem that I think AfterShock Comics needs to be aware of, especially after providing the comic racks something so fresh and vibrant as books like American Monster, Jackpot, Second Sight and of course InSEXts.
Where this book continues to excel is the fantastic art from Ariela Kristantina which manages to go from dark violence, grotesque horror to the sensuality and sexuality of lover and all the way back round again. Whilst the story is meandering in this issue, I don’t think I will ever get bored looking at the art on show. Bennett and Kristantina have created a world that both fascinates and horrifies in equal measure. Kristantina is helped out superbly by colorist Bryan Valenza, whose washed out painted look gives the impression of seeing the world through a misty looking-glass, which in turn gives the book a slightly “it’s our world, but not our world” kind of feel.
I have really enjoyed this series from the get go with its eclectic mix of genres. Now, however, is time to maybe stop resting on its laurels and move the story along some. Constant threats to the child notwithstanding, there doesn’t seems to be a major bad guy in force, unless you consider the calculating Maria might have something evil lurking under her bustle. That said, this slice of Victorian horror is still enjoyable, even if it’s my fifth pizza.
Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Ariela Kristantina
Colored by Bryan Valenza
Cover by Ariela Kristantina