Writers: Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson
Art: Ben Stenbeck
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: August 31, 2016
For those associated with Hellboy lore, the name Sir Edward Grey is a familiar one. He is a mysterious, immortal figure that is usually on Hellboy’s side in his fight to reject his demonic destiny. But there was a time when he was still mortal and was known as The Witchfinder. Mike Mignola brings Grey’s hayday to live in Victorian London with the new Dark Horse series, Witchfinder: City of the Dead.
**Minor Spoilers Ahead**
London of 1882 can be a precarious place. Crime, disease, zombies….. Still reeling from his experiences with the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra, Sir Edward Grey finds himself entrenched in a new mystery. He is summoned to Saint John of the Cross Police Hospital to examine the case of a grave robber who claims that he was attacked by the resident corpse of the grave he was attempting to burglarize. A small wound on his hand resulted in a fast spreading fever and a hasty death. While discussing the details of the case with the coroner, the thief suddenly reanimates. Grey is able to save the good Doctor’s life with some quick thinking and a sharp saw. Grey investigates the Lamb Street cemetery, the location of the robberies. He confronts two grave diggers who vehemently deny that any graves have been disturbed, but Sir Edward knows that these men are hiding something. He decides to return to the boneyard under cover of night to continue the investigation but before he can, he is confronted by August Swain, a representative of the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra. Swain wants to barter a deal in which the Brotherhood would assist in Grey’s current predicament in exchange for Sir Edwards help in a matter of importance to the Brotherhood. Sir Edward rejects this offer immediately but you can tell that this is not the end of the two parties dealings with each other. Grey does return to the graveyard that evening, accompanied by the doctors from the police hospital, only to discover that 3 separate graves look freshly dug, even though the occupants have been long deceased. The men exhume the sites, finding that the corpses are hardly decayed. That spells bad news for the gentlemen as the dead come alive and prepare for the kill.
Mignola and Roberson have created a new series for Sir Edward Grey that is simply put, cool. I always love a good zombie tale, especially a period piece. The Witchfinder brand has always been steeped in the supernatural just like it’s parent source material, Hellboy, and the writing tandem set the tone for this and future issues flawlessly. Stenbeck’s art and Madsen’s colors are perfectly muted to convey not only the aura of the past but the dingy feel of the subject matter, as if we are venturing into something that conveys the filth of resurrection of the dead and the dark magic needed to achieve such a feat. This series is only a 5 parter, but I am sure that it will satisfy those who choose to enjoy, fans of Hellboy or not.
4.5 Necromancers out of 5