Daily Archives: October 19, 2009

Shades and Grey

Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #4
Writer/Cover artist: Mike Mignola
Artist: Ben Stenbeck
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $2.99 US

I don’t think Mike Mignola and his various collaborators have ever released a poor Hellboy or B.P.R.D. comic book, and I’m sure there are thousands of fans who never miss an issue. I can’t help but wonder if Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder, a title that lurks on the periphery of the Mignola-verse, might slip by those fans. If so, they’d be well advised to check out this Victorian monster-hunting story. Mignola captures the same sort of gothic vibe and sense of dark adventure he does in his other titles, and it’s spiced up with an interesting dose of historical fiction. History has always played an important role in his Hellboy comics, so it’s fun to sample a similar story that’s actually immersed in that history. This penultimate issue of this limited series doesn’t read as such. Mignola keeps ramping the story up, introducing new characters that add to the intrigue and mystery. The writer also has a knack for partnering with artists who are skilled at incorporating the unique Mignola style into their work while still instilling their own unique styles into the storytelling, and Ben Stenbeck is no exception.

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Quick Critiques – Oct. 19, 2009

The Anchor #1 (Boom! Studios)
by Phil Hester & Brian Churilla

I’m of two minds when it comes to this story. As I read the opening scene, which is set on a battlefield in Hell, I was completely put off, not by the barbarism of the demons or the violence, but by the stilted tone of the dialogue and narration. I always find such scripting puts too much distance between the subjects and the audience, and this was no exception. Once the story shifts its setting to the earthly plane, though, it gets to be a lot more fun. Seeing him fight giant monsters in a European city is far more entertaining than battles in Hell peppered with purple prose. Emergency volunteer Hofi Eriksdotter serves as a vital component in the story, as she provides a grounded link. Furthermore, the premise of a warrior who exists in two realms — the human world in his physical form, and in Hell spiritually — is a novel one, as is the masochistic source of his power on Earth.

Churilla’s artwork is rather light in tone, which makes for an interesting contrast with the more gruesome aspects of the story. It’s quite effective, though. He conveys the raw power that the title character possesses, and colorist Matthew Wilson does an excellent job of reinforcing the depth of the wounds that the Anchor sustains, as well as how that pain is channelled into power. Churilla’s designs for the demons in hell are rather simple and uninteresting. 6/10

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