Previously in Penny Dreadful #4
Penny Dreadful #5 | Writer: Chris King | Illustrator: Louie De Martinis | Letterer: Rob Steen | Cover: Guillem March| Story: Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Andrew Hinderaker, Chris King
At last we reach the end of our prequel tale, leading us to the start of the series premiere, “Night Work.”
Recalling that Mina bit Jonathan Harker in Issue #4, he begins to have blood thirst, which Vanessa asks him to redirect into locating his wife and the Master. She has another vision seeing the vampire children call her Mother. Tex (Quincey, whatever) notices that his lover looks ill (BUM BUM BUMMM) but they have sex anyway. He later tells Malcolm about a vampire bat draining his horse (impossible, but ok) and having to put it down out of mercy, reviving the question of what Malcolm will do if Mina is gone forever. While the other chick urges Vanessa to forgive herself, Mina lulls Jonathan into leading Vanessa to the Master to begin the reign of the Night Creatures over the world.
Malcolm reiterates that he will do anything to save Mina and doesn’t care two pins about anybody else. After Jonathan reveals the symbol carved into the Master’s lair, the group sets out for London. His mind wanders to blood, revealing that Lucy, aka Other Chick, was bitten as well, and uses the distraction to lead them into a crowd of thralls. Lucy resists the Master’s directive to kill them, but Jonathan breaks Sembene’s arm before pulling himself together long enough to reveal Vanessa must seek out a protector that alone can foil the Master’s plans, then commits suicide.
Malcolm turns his gun on Lucy, but as it turns out, Tex isn’t that great with bidding his other ‘mare’ goodbye and promises to return for her once they have found a cure. He drops out of the group without fanfare, and Malcolm, Vanessa, and Sembene reconvene at Grandage Place to plan their next steps. With Sembene sidelined, Vanessa determines to find a hired gun without morals. A newsboy hands her the Wild West Show flier, saying, “But Mr. Chandler’s your protector!” Not exactly what he means… or is it? The comic ends with her calling Ethan out over his tall tales and asking if he’d like some night work.
And the rest is history.
Of the entire prequel series, the art and style of Issue #4 is still my favorite, but there were some great pages and truly creepy panels in this issue, especially with Jonathan’s hollow white or night-vision vampire eyes. The plot failed to bring any emotional connection to the peripheral characters, although it was enjoyable to have a sleeper vamp in the group, even if she ultimately acted in her own agency. The story was quite long, but less tense than last issue and a bit repetitive and predictable. My least favorite pages were the end of the story as they transitioned into the show, is it seemed those were mostly shots from the series that had been run through multiple filters, a problem I had a few issues back. I far preferred this alternate cover (below) included in the back matter, which also revealed three winners of the Penny Dreadful art contest held after the show’s demise. All three are of Vanessa and are quite stunning.
Penny Dreadful #5 = 7/10