The early 20th century fun continues this issue, with Chief Investigator George Suttle, a “Young” (vampire) examining the body of a fellow Young, who has been killed, his hand removed postmortem but with no signs of the usual ways to kill a vampire. As he watched the body being autopsied, we get more charming little details. The examiner, Dr. Ambler, offers him camphor rub, which people used to block the smell of the dead body, but both men are Young and are immune to the smell. “Old habit,” the doctor remarks. He concurs that the body was a Young, due to his teeth being filed down on a regular basis. “You couldn’t simulate that pattern of wear on a ‘Bright’s’ teeth.” The Bright being ordinary humans. The Inspector states, “I dislike that term.” Ambler discovers that the body also wore dentition, fake fangs. “He was evidently prone to tendencies. Or do you dislike that term too?”
They examine the strange burns on his skin. Suttle wonders if they are sadomasochistic. The doctor states that the Young are prone to self injury in “the quest for sensation.” They locate a brand on his neck.
Suttle fills in Police Chief Carstairs. Carstairs urges Suttle to close this case as quickly as possible. We get some crucial back story, as Carstairs explains that the upper class “took the cure,” i.e. became vampires out of necessity. Silently George ponders their situation. In 1861, the Restless (zombies) appeared. No one knows what caused their condition, a virus or pathogen or even a curse of some kind. They were being overrun by the zombies and therefore the ruling class took “the cure.” By becoming vampires, the upper class became technically dead and undetectable to the Restless. “It was superlative pragmatism.”
The Chief summarizes, “If we’re bloody dying now… if the cure is somehow failing… Dammit George, it would send a shock wave through the Young Class. Not to mention The Bright.”
Suttle goes home. He has a brief exchange with his butler, Roper and asks him to hire a new cook. (His old one was eaten by a Restless, last issue.) He also chats with Louisa, his maid who was given the cure after she was bitten by the same zombie. She laments that she will miss animals. It turns out animals don’t take to the Young. Carstairs calls and tells him they have fingerprint matches on the deceased; a Young arrested for the biting death of a Bright girl, Lord Hinchcliffe, adviser to the crown!
Suttle rushes to Hinchcliffe’s abode, but the family isn’t there, just Hinchcliffe’s valet, Peter Peakes, who is confused as to how Hinchcliffe could be dead. He says he didn’t notice his absence because he often stayed at his club or the House of Lords. Suttle looks around sees that Hinchcliffe’s evening attire and cufflinks are missing. He also notices that Peakes has bite marks.
The next day, Suttle goes to the jeweler that made the cufflinks. The jeweler shows him the pattern of those particular cufflinks and states they were made of silver.
Peakes is in custody and Suttle interrogates him. Peakes refuses to answer how he was made Young, but Suttle already knows that Hinchcliffe turned him, himself. Peakes finally admits that he agreed to cover up Hinchcliffe’s visits to the Bright quarters to prey upon the humans, in exchange for being turned. The guards take Peakes away and Suttle must visit Zone B.
I really like this book! It’s extremely well-written and subtle, with lots of neat little details slipped throughout. I love the slightly stuffy dialogue. It’s just a fun book that’s unlike any other comic out right now. A mishmash of Edwardian period drama and classic monsters. Good stuff!
The art is great as well. Excellent angles and story telling. The pace of the book is slow, and the art keeps it from dragging.
I’m definitely a fan of this intelligent, sharp and just plain fun comic!
THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #2
Written by Dan Abnet
Art and Cover by I.N.J. Culbard