If there is one thing that I’m learning very quickly about Mike Mignola it’s that he really knows his genres. Not only does he know them well, but he knows how to mash them together. He makes it look so easy in comics, however, it is anything but I imagine. With the new graphic novel of Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder Volume 2 we get the melding of two very unlikely genres; the western and the Victorian detective.
Edward Grey is the Queen’s official paranormal detective, and in this book he finds himself searching for a man out in the wild west. What he actually finds is something just as frightening as anything else he’s encountered throughout his journeys.
With a script by Mignola and John Arcudi we get a different approach to a central facet of American culture. It has the same vibe and tropes of a western, but it is a western reinvention that uses (of course) monsters and witches. This book definitely has one of the most interesting plots Ive read recently, and while very slowly paced, it’s very enjoyable. Many of the surprises within the book backfire at times, but it has one of the most intense and poetic final chapters of any graphic novel I’ve read.
If you don’t know the character very well, fret not, there is enough background given on the Witchfinder that you’ll feel okay about reading it with fresh eyes. The character seems to fit the bill of what we would think about when deciding what qualities a detective from England would have if he lived in the 1800s and battled monsters. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good read. One thing I noticed fast in the book is how genuine and real the dialogue is. The accents and dialects attributed to each character are perfect and make the story that much more enjoyable to read. Another thing I liked that shouldn’t have surprised me was how cool the monsters were. True, they’re not brand new monsters, but the way they’re presented and drawn makes them great antagonists.
John Severin provided the art, which wasn’t spectacular in my opinion. Very early I figured out that it would look like most of the other B.P.R.D./Hellboy books, which isn’t a bad thing at all, this just doesn’t let the book stand out at all. It’s not bad art at all, it’s just not different. So if you like the typical Mignola-esque art you should be fine here. However, his art really shines during the very intense action sequences which somehow feel different than the regular expository sequences.
Witchfinder Volume 2 is a good book. If you like paranormal comics it should be on your must-read list, plus, I personally can never get enough of stories set in different eras dealing with the horrors we love about today. Also, have no worries about not knowing anything about the series beforehand, just read it. You’ll be wanting to find the other Witchfinder comics in no time.