Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #1

Written by Mike Mignola
Art by Ben Stenbeck
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

At the end of the first issue of Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels, editor Scott Allie mentions that Sir Edward Grey himself first showed up 13 years ago in Hellboy: Wake the Devil. That’s a long time to be planning a character turning from a cameo to a star. I feel like I need to give credit where it’s deserved, though. I might not remember Grey’s appearance in Hellboy: Wake the Devil, but this was a good enough first issue that I’ll certainly remember it down the line.

Sir Edward Grey is a Witchfinder, hunting down the supernatural in 1879 London. With three mysterious deaths, it’s hard to ignore what’s happening in the city, and as such Grey has no choice but to question Lord Wellington and learn the truth about an expedition that went to a lost city in the depths of the Sahara Desert. For in that buried city, the expedition brought something back with them—and that something could spell doom for not only London, but the entire world.

Mike Mignola may have created Grey many years ago, but you’d never know it from reading the first issue. He provides just the right introduction, so that it’s obvious who he is and what he’s doing within the first two pages alone. From there, it’s standard Mignola fare, with fans of Hellboy and B.P.R.D. being treated to stories of ancient fallen civilizations, demons, and occult weapons. Grey himself comes across as little more than an object to move these more interesting elements along, but it’s also early enough in the story that he’s got plenty of time to develop his own personality. (That was something also true of a recent story by Mignola and Ben Stenbeck in MySpace Dark Horse Presents that starred Grey, which was thick on atmosphere but light on character.) Still, I like these early hints of the horrible artifact brought back from the ruined city, and it’s creepy enough that I want to read on.

Stenbeck’s art works well in Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels in no small part because it’s both similar yet different from Mignola’s own art. Like Mignola, there’s a basic blocky look to the art, and Stenbeck does a great job of bring to life little touches of Mignola’s style like the strange artifacts that fill Lord Wellington’s study. Stenbeck, like Mignola, makes them have an almost primordial look, and the end result is something that’s more than a little creepy to stare at for too long. Stenbeck has his own style here too, though. His characters have a softer edge to their faces, something that ends up being a little more expressive than Mignola’s own art. It helps set Stenbeck apart, and the end result is an attractive style that I’d like to see more of. Having Dave Stewart color Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder also helps give the book that extra bit of identity and continuity towards Mignola’s other books, and it’s always nice to see him working on books by Mignola and company.

Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #1 is a solid start to a five-issue mini-series. I’d like to see a little more about what makes Grey tick in the future issues, but for now I’m already interested enough to want more. Mignola and Stenbeck work so well together in this first issue you’d think they’d done so for many years. As an addition to the Hellboy canon, Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder doesn’t disappoint.

1 comment to Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #1

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