Anno Dracula #1

It is 1895. Prince Dracula has ruled Great Britain for ten years, spreading vampirism through every level of society.

On the eve of Dracula’s Jubilee, radical forces gather to oppose the tyrant. Kate Reed, vampire journalist and free-thinker, takes a seat on the revolutionary Council of Seven Days, though she learns that the anarchist group harbours a traitor in its midst.

The Grey Men, Dracula’s dreaded secret police, have been ordered to quash all resistance to the rule of the arch-vampire.

With intrigue on all sides, the scene is set for an explosive addition to the Anno Dracula series.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – the Alan Moore series, not the execrable movie – casts a long shadow. Any new series featuring famous literary characters of the 1800’s is going to have to contend with its monumental predecessor, often to its own detriment. Regardless of how much I like LEG, it’s certainly sucked all the breathable air out of the genre. All that’s left is a sort of recycled emergency oxygen, and not much at that.

That being said, Anno Dracula isn’t a bad comic. It’s retreading familiar territory, but at least it manages to pull a couple of interesting ideas out of a fairly original premise.

The art does its job, giving a clear depiction of events without distinguishing itself. The writing can be surprisingly good at times; one gets a sense of a mature writer who is actually interested in the world they’re writing about. Unfortunately the writer is saddled with having to introduce five hundred characters, plus the whole backstory, in the span of one comic. There’s also the unavoidable paranoia (again brought on by Moore’s opus) that, since Dracula is a literary character, perhaps these other characters are of similar provenance…which begs the question, Why don’t I know any of these people?

Ultimately Anno Dracula is a solid comic, but it never grabbed me – it’s a workaday title. Just as every vampire pales in comparison to Dracula himself, this title can’t wriggle out from under the monstrous bulk of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. So it goes.

Final Verdict: 3 out of 5

Anno Dracula #1can be found at Titan Comics

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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