Titan Comics’ Anno Dracula: 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem is my introduction to author Kim Newman’s alternate history world in which Count Dracula has married Queen Victoria and ushered in an era of vampire domination in Britain. Judging from the first two issues in this comic book series, it is a world rich in both historical and pop culture references that warrants more exploration. Bloodshed, intrigue, and familiar characters in both fictional and real-life horror make for an exciting tale so far, and the gorgeous, sometimes disturbing, art is another reason to seek out this series.

The story takes place about 10 years after the events in Newman’s novel Anno Dracula begin, mostly in London. With the world of vampires now out in the open, Prince Dracula is set to celebrate his jubilee. The anarchist group Council of the Seven Days is on a path to clash with The Grey Men, Dracula’s secret police.

For the uninitiated such as yours truly, the debut issue comes with an introduction to the main female characters of the story, and the second issue does the same for the main male characters. Newman penned the comic series, and seems to do a nice job of getting new readers on board with enough backstory to not feel overwhelmed or lost.

The cast is a large one, but at the heart of the story is vampire journalist Kate Reed; her boyfriend, chemist Paul Muniment; and Penelope Churchward, society hostess vampire and childhood friend of Kate. Reed and Muniment are members of the Council of the Seven Days and seek to battle against Dracula’s reign. Other, more familiar faces from horror film and literature with which readers should already be well acquainted appear, but in different roles than ever imagined before Newman took hold of them.

Paul McCaffrey’s artwork is amazing and fits the proceedings perfectly. With a style that blends a sort of steampunk vibe with other retro sensibilities, the panels are rich with details, whether the subject matter is whimsical, fantastic, or gruesome. Kevin Enhart’s colors are vivid and bold, bringing the action to striking life.

Although the first issue of Anno Dracula: 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem sets the scenes for the tale and introduces a good number of characters, it also filled with suspense, and plenty of gory scenes are on display. The second issue ratchets up the intrigue and bloody mayhem. By the end of these first two issues, readers are well acquainted with the macabre world that Newman has created. As a newcomer to this world, I can recommend Titan’s series as a fine place to jump in and become acquainted with this wildly imaginative effort.

Anno Dracula: 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem will be released on 19 April 2017.