The world of “Hellboy” is a lot bigger than most people think. One of the ways is that there’s an important character from 19th Century England called Sir Edward Grey who people call “The Witchfinder.” The newest story featuring Grey is “The Reign of Darkness” written by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson with art by Christopher Mitten.
Sir Edward Grey is investigating a string of weird murders that may be linked to the occult. He suspects “crank spiritualist” Gordon Asquith, but there may be much darker other forces behind the murders.
This comic reads like a “Sherlock Holmes” story if Sherlock Holmes was a bit more extreme than normal and Scotland Yard hated him. It’s an interesting concept that so far has been executed well. Sir Grey is an interesting enough character. Returning to the Sherlock Holmes similarity, he does things his own extreme way and he knows he’s right but he can’t quite get the evidence to suggest that he is right. The case does seem like something interesting with the added occult element, but there is a chance it could be a bust.
Miss Goad, his assistant, is his version of Doctor Watson. She exists. That’s all that can be said about her.
Mitten’s artwork not only brings out the typical “Hellboy” comic look, but it does try to recreate 19th Century London. While we do see some of the garbage and everyday life of the Victorian (clothes hanging from apartment railings) and cracked in buildings, it doesn’t quite bring it out. It needs to be more crowded and a few more details to make the reader smell the stench of 19th Century London. If the reader can’t smell 19th Century London, you missed a few details. The clothing is accurate, though.
“Witchfinder: The Reign of Darkness” has an interesting premise that can be a great read featuring a great lead and artwork that, while missing a few key features brings the reader into 19th Century London.