Script: Gordon Rennie
Art & Logo: P.J Holden
Colours: Steven Denton
Lettering & Production: Jim Campbell
Published by Renegade Arts Entertainment
I had known about the Dept. Of Monsterology for a while, but it was the prologue story published in the Meg (#341) which really got me excited. It looked marvellous; the standout no doubt was P.J Holden’s magnificent artwork. The double page splashes almost had me salivating, the colours by Steve Denton were deep and crisp. I was sold to the premise straight away, not to mention being a big fan of horror/ adventure comics.
Well what then do I make of this first issue (#1 of 4)?
Well the cover for one, is a bit too dark. I know it’s supposed to depict the murky depths of the ocean with red eyed monsters at the bottom, but I could barely make them out. It’s a shame as it does a disservice to P.J’s art, in my view it could’ve been a bit lighter (I love the title design though). Other than that small quibble, Renegade have done a great job on the quality of the comic itself, with nice smooth papers which really brings the story alive (it smells bloody marvellous too!).
The interior art is mindbogglingly good. Even the shot of the monster strewn sea bed on Page 3 looks much clearer than the cover. The story opens with Team Challenger and their mission to investigate some strange goings on beneath the South Pacific Sea. It set up the characters really well, with each getting an introduction which I liked, from Amelia Court to Harry Wilmington – the professor with a cool mechanical suit, but we soon discover there’s more to him than we first realise. His character reminded me a little of Johann Kraus, the ectoplasmic agent in Mignola and Acrudi’s B.P.R.D series, but Harry is a whole different kettle of fish!
Halfway through the issue we drop in on Team Carnacki, I would’ve liked to have seen more from the preceding Team, but there’s a lot to get through with so little time. We follow Team Carnacki in a psychic investigation in Budapest as a young girl, Sawmi goes Astral Surfing, aided by her colleagues Dominic Belasco (a psychic) and Doctor Sonam. She comes up against a pair of Chinese Vampires, speaking of which, Holden’s art three pages later depicting our young protagonist surrounded by the demonic pair – is simply outstanding. Like the previous Team’s exploits, this was also an enjoyable read.
Gordon Rennie’s script is really engaging, he has a great talent of creating vivid worlds and interesting characters which I find really appealing. His Absalom series is one of my favourite strips in 2000AD, and I really enjoyed Necronauts. And P.J Holden’s artwork just grows from strength to strength. Some of his work here is just dazzling to behold, Steve Denton’s colours add to it greatly. Like I mentioned prior for the prologue story, it’s really vibrant and crisp. And what would a great comic be without an equally great letterer? Jim Campbell does a cracking job here, I don’t know why we don’t see more of his work in 2000AD.
While reading this comic, although I did get a B.P.R.D vibe, I must say that the Dept. Of Monsterology felt like its own beast, with its own mythologies taking shape. This opening issue is really great as we learn about some of the characters and the world they inhabit, but it seems like this is but an icing on the cake. Already I’m feeling that this is going to be an exciting strip and I can’t wait to pick up #2.