Friday, July 27, 2012

The New Deadwardians #5

Written by Dan Abnett
Art by INJ Culbard

I continue to be very impressed with the way in which Dan Abnett has crafted this mini-series.  It's a murder mystery set in an England where the upper class have all become 'Young', or vampires, broadening the inequality that has always been so ingrained in British society.  A large number of Brits have become 'Restless' (what we would call zombies), and the 'Bright', or regular people, live confined in districts that are not always safe.

Our hero, Chief Inspector Suttle is investigating the first case of murder of a Young - Lord Hinchcliffe was found with his afterlife terminated through a method different from the standard three.  In this issue, Suttle arrives at the Hinchliffe's estate, Cadley House, to meet with his family and further investigate what has happened.

Hinchcliffe's family is rather interesting.  The son, and new Lord, is a bit of a hedonist, while the wife is typical Young - rather unconcerned about the whole thing.  Hinchcliffe's daughter gives Abnett the opportunity to explore gender politics in this strange world.  It seems that it is much harder for women, especially unmarried women, to receive the Cure and become Young.  Lady Celia is a suffragette, whose slogan is 'throats for women'.

Suttle is also given some new information about the interesting symbol that was found on Hinchcliffe.  It's all over the estate, and also on the pocket watch of Lord Falconbridge, a senior government minister, who is there to help the family through their predicament, and to send Suttle on some false leads it seems.

I really like the way that Abnett is taking a typical British mystery story and shifting it into this strange world.  He follows many of the conventions of this genre, but also manages to upend them for his own purposes.  Culbard's art is perfect for this project, and I would like to see him do more after this series ends.  I think he'd be a good artist to add to the BPRD stable.

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