Story: Aaron Mahnke and Delilah Dawson
Script: Delilah Dawson
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Designer and Letterer: Christa Miesner
Editor: Chase Marotz
Joseph Drew, the English journalist (among other things), has been requested to see the Duke of Wellington himself. Wellington, of course, wants everyone to know the stories about him are
fake news bloody lies. He’s here to set the record straight: The Iron Duke was truly fighting evil itself.
We flash back to a letter the Duke gets, taking him to Yorkshire to investigate a boy who disappeared, a black dog with red eyes, and a murdered man with cult inscriptions all over him. The further the Duke of Wellington investigates, however, the closer he gets to unleashing Hell on Earth.
Fans of the Lore podcast and/or Amazon Prime TV show might recognize one of the names involved in this comic: Aaron Mahnke. For so long, Mahnke has been telling us ghost stories and causing us to wonder what is real and what is the imagination of man — it’s honestly surprising it took him this long to dip into comicbooks. With the help of writer Delilah Dawson and artist Piotr Kowalski, Mahnke has a heavy-weight team behind him to bring us the story of the Duke of Wellington, Monster Hunter. So how does it live up to the billing?
A lot of times, the word “dry” is used to positively describe a piece of British entertainment (“that actor’s dry sense of humor connected with me so much”). In this case, I’d use “dry” in the less-than-positive connotation — oh the wonders of the English language.
It’s not that the book is bad or worth passing over. Fans of Lore (and I am one of them!) will definitely want to pick this book up. I always love when Mahnke tells us a tidbit about a well-known historical figure who is as much a monster hunter as the other people he’s been talking about in any given episode. While I doubt the Duke of Wellington embarked on this escapade, the book still gives us that flavor.
The problem is that the book lacks a certain get-up-and-go. It starts out with in the classic “it was a dark and stormy night” fashion, and then when we get to the hook of the story, it still takes its time pacing-wise. Since this is a five-issue story, I hoped for a little more action. There were also portions where the dialogue felt strange, almost like it was an American trying to mimic the British people they saw on Downton Abbey (I dare say! Poppycock!).
The artwork is incredibly detailed and takes you right to pre-Victorian England. Certain parts felt slightly stiff — especially a fight scene — but it was much preferred to glossy, computer-generated art. Brad Simpson’s colors do even more to make you feel like you are right in the middle of the
action story, with colors that evoke the warmth of a firelit room or the chill of dark clouds promising rain. Christa Miesner also adequately handles the varied styles of lettering quite well and makes it all readable (except for those of us not well-versed in cult inscriptions).
Wellington gave us a somewhat intriguing story with a promising start, but I found myself wanting more action by the end of the book. Hopefully, the next issue has less Wellington walking around and talking to himself and more character-driven monster hunts. I know this team is capable; I just didn’t see it here in the debut issue.