Synopsis: Ten years ago, the world changed forever. Dracula was made prince of Great Britain in 1885, ushering a new age for vampires. The undead now rule over the living with an iron fist, and their cruelty reflects the horrific dictatorship of Dracula. However, there is a revolution; a revolution that lies shattered. Kate Reed, a journalist (and also a vampire) works with other subversives to undermine the tyrant’s rule. Sadly, Kate and her six other cohorts have been betrayed by one of their own. While trying to pick up the pieces of the failing resistance, Kate and her fellow anarchist come across the crime bosses of all of the crime in London, The Limelight Ring. Though they too have their faults, these dangerous criminals may be the only hope of toppling Dracula’s regime.
Review: There is something so uniquely special about Anno Dracula as a series. Reminiscent of Penny Dreadful (which sometimes threw everything, including the kitchen sink, into the story) , this steampunk, horror mashup is packed with a plethora of bizarre characters who flesh out the world building. The main protagonist Kate is a progressive woman who is out-of-place in her own society. Her egalitarian thoughts about the treatment of Great Britain’s poor and human citizens makes her an outcast, yet Kate remains a deadly predator because she is a vampire. This is what makes this story so interesting to read. Anno Dracula likes to set up dichotomies. It is a story the reader is simultaneously familiar with but knows nothing about. Kate is a predator, but she is being hunted. Using these tactics helps keep the reader interested in a plot that can be a tad convoluted at times.
When I first glanced at the art for the series, I wasn’t sure how I would respond to its style. I approached the series with preconceived notions. These notions were wrong since the story benefits from this slightly cartoonish take on a bloody tale. The art team playfully conveys the rigidity of british high and low society at the end of the 1800s with sheer brutality. Seeing ladies and gentlemen of elevated social standing turn into bloodthirsty monsters is a treat. Also, the irony isn’t lost on me. (I finally see why some would enjoy Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.)
Thoroughly enjoyable is how I would categorize my first foray into this new tale. The creative team is doing some interesting things here, and although it may be a little to specific for everyone to find appealing, it is a fun romp for people who love period pieces with luncheons and evisceration.