Occult Detectives, Secret Societies, And Cursed Artifacts – Witchfinder: The Gates Of Heaven #1

by Brendan M. Allen

A series of occult events mystifies the man known as the Witchfinder, but even more surprising is the revelation that he is not alone in exploring the paranormal in London. When a personal invitation arrives from the palace, Sir Edward Grey is pulled even deeper into underground supernatural exploration alongside new allies in the race to stop a mad scientist from destroying London in his pursuit of mystical power.

Sir Edward Grey, occult detective and advisor in such matters to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, is back at it in the newest Witchfinder miniseries, The Gates of Heaven. London, 1884. A couple Beefeaters see a ghost, ancient occult artifacts turn up missing, and folks turn up dead under bizarre circumstances. The game’s afoot! (What? It’s period correct. It’s not even original Doyle. He stole it. Shakespeare. King Henry IV, Part 1.)
Whatever’s going down, it’s not just weird and spooky, it’s important. Her Majesty personally entreats Sir Edward to keep a tight lid on this one. Might not be so easy with other supernatural investigators poking around at the crime scenes.

Gates of Heaven is billed as a standalone story. It’s worth noting I haven’t read any of the previous Witchfinder series, and I had no trouble finding my way around. Chris Roberson and Mike Mignola put together a script that’s very familiar and easily accessible, with hardly any exposition. Some weird stuff happens in a secret room underneath the Tower of London, and they call this Edward Grey fellow to sort it out. Okay. I’ll buy that. Personal summons from the queen? Sure. He’s got connections. Cool. Throw in all that steampunk secret society world dominance stuff, and this thing is shaping up really nicely.
The artwork from D’Israeli and Michelle Madsen isn’t something I’d typically expect from a Mignola joint, but it work really well for the period and subject matter. There’s a really cool historical, steampunky vibe coming off these pages.
If you’re into the occult, detective stories, steampunk tech, murder mystery, ghosts, monsters, and goofy Victorian swear words, give this one a shot.

Witchfinder: The Gates of Heaven #1, published by Dark Horse Comics, released the 23rd of May 2018. Written by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson, art by D’Israeli, color by Michelle Madsen, letters by Clem Robins.

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