Sunday, 6 May 2012

The New Deadwardians #1 & 2

The New Deadwardians
Writer - Dan Abnett
Artist - I.N.J. Culbard
Publisher - Vertigo

The New Deadwardians is a good old fashioned detective story, a murder-mystery with a twist. After reading issues 1 & 2 I have to say I'm glad I picked this up. The artwork cleverly depicts 1900s London in the aftermath of a zombie incursion, and there are numerous little graphic touches - eye colouring, the use of shade in daylight panels - that add further depth to what is essentially a classic story.

We are immediately introduced to our protagonist, George Suttle, via his "remarks", a sort of diary / internal monologue, and from the outset he is shown to be a classic detective, a flawed individual with a dark past and uncertain future. Set in a version of Edwardian England replete with the undead (zombies and vampires by another name), the comic is one of Vertigo's new season of comics, and a change from my usual fare of Marvel superheroes and re-told fairy tales.

Despite having a lot of back-story to include, Abnett manages to pace the first two issues wonderfully, moving the main mystery along smoothly whilst adding layers of story - such as the unfolding tale of Louisa the housemaid which adds a nice 'human' touch to an undead tale.

Visually, Culbard brings pseudo-Edwardian London to life, and although the entire comic uses an essentially dull palette - greys and brown dominate throughout - the occasional splashes of colour, especially where the "restless" are concerned, create a nice contrast and prevent the panels from becoming too similar.

I have high hopes for the rest of this short series (sadly there are only 8 issues), as Abnett already has me caring for Suttle, and my interest has well and truly been piqued by the turns the mystery has already taken.

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