Thursday, January 11, 2018

Anno Dracula 1895 – Seven Days in Mayhem – review

Author: Kim Newman

Artist: Paul McCaffrey

First published: 2017 (tpb)

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: It is 1895, Count Dracula is Prince Regent and undisputed ruler of the British Empire, his power is supreme and unchecked. The curse of vampirism has spread far and wide through all levels of society and through all ranks of the British government. Now, on the verge of Dracula's 10th Anniversary of rule, anti-Dracula forces in the guise of the Council of the Seven Days are gathering. The Council - a secret cabal of free radicals, made up of vampires and humans alike have sworn to overthrow the Crown Prince of Darkness at any cost. They plan to sabotage the Jubilee with a devastating bomb attack. Now vampire journalist Kate Reed must uncover the truth and unmask the true conspirators behind the sinister plot or risk plunging both human and vampire kind into ruin and disaster from which no side will recover...

The review: I mentioned when reviewing Anno Dracula: One Thousand Monsters that it was good to get back to a nineteenth century timeframe. In this graphic novel we not only do that but also return to Victorian London and spend the story with vampire Kate Reed – a character cut from Stoker’s Dracula, she appears in the author's notes as a friend of Mina, but is made a wholly rounded journalist character through Newman’s series.

We also see Princess Christina Light – a light based vampire – in her revolutionary role that is alluded to in One Thousand Monsters – the hypocrisy of this is touched upon in both this and the prose volume. This, therefore, gives an in-depth backstory for one of the primary One Thousand Monsters characters.

If I struggled at all, it was with the artwork. Not that it is terrible, in fact it is rather good. However it felt a little well-lit, colourful even. In my mind’s eye the Anno Dracula universe was dark, gloomy, oppressive. This never felt so. Clearly Titan (who produced the book) and Newman as author were happy with the direction and it is a very personal gripe but it just took a little away from the whole thing for me. That said, in our brief meeting with Dracula, I was impressed with the look he was given. 6.5 out of 10.

My thanks to Sarah, who bought me this for Christmas.

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