The Demonhuntress 1888 takes us to 19th century London, where our protagonist Faustina Strauss is attending university. Faustina is a woman from a wealthy family in the west. Although to her, money is only a means for betterment; both her own and for others. As a fighter and a scholar, Faustina is confident. This clear confidence causes her to be a target in her college and city. As the serial killings of the infamous Jack The Ripper begin to ravage the women of London, someone must investigate! Faustina acts independent of the incompetent police force and aims to take down this criminal conspiracy herself.
Paulus Linnaeus creates world that is extremely engaging in no small part to the art style. The backgrounds and cityscapes are very fitting of the era portrayed. There are outstanding shots of a fog-covered London that really steal the show. The colors are vibrant and the backgrounds are almost always intensely illuminated. This at times can feel a bit off-putting; it seems to slightly change the dark tone of hunting killers in night time London. The brightness does however enhance the focus on our heroine , who is brightly clad in white. The action is very dynamic and engaging, with a clear perception and flow of movement. It is easy to track a two-page fight sequence through blurred panels.
The fights are amongst the most enjoyable parts of this comic for me. A very layered hero; Faustina shows clear brutality as she rains down violence upon her enemies. She takes great satisfaction in hunting and killing the monsters lurking in her town. While she clearly prefers peace, she holds no qualms in murdering the scum she faces. A new twist in the classic mystery of Jack The Ripper also helps the plot to feel fresh and new. The idea of Jack the Ripper, hunter of women, being in turn hunted by a woman is a fascinating set-up. It plays off very well as the story progresses. Faustina herself is set-up as this Sherlock Holmes-esque figure.
Faustina develops plans through her wit, learning from experience. This makes it very easy to root for her and her moral superiority. Although, I do wish Faustina has more of a challenge throughout the comic. She investigates and navigates difficult terrain and a society that dismisses her simply for her gender. While she uses this fact to her advantage, it does seem like she faces no real foil to her skills. She is in dire need of a Moriarty to push her.
Overall The Demonhuntress 1888 is well-rooted in its protagonist, who stands proudly above the misogyny and ignorance she faces. Faustina inhabits a world not meant for her. Yet through her training and wealth of knowledge, she still paves her own way in it. The journey is a fascinating one; I really hope to see more of her backstory, especially how she develops her large arsenal of skills.
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