REVIEW: ‘Wellington,” Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Wellington #1

Wellington #1 is published by IDW Publishing with a story by Aaron Mahnke and Delilah Dawson, script by Delilah Dawson, art by Piotr Kowalski, colors by Brad Simpson, and letters by Christa Miesner.

Wellington #1 tells the story of Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. We open the issue during 1848 in London whereupon a journalist has been requested to document the life of the Duke of Wellington. Sitting alone in a room aglow with a roaring fire, in a mansion adorned with a multitude of rooms, Sir Wellesley seeks to have the truth about his life recorded for posterity’s sake. For what he was truly fighting, was evil itself.

Sir Wellesley then begins to recounts a story from the summer of 1828. This subsequently plays out over the remaining pages of the issue. The Duke of Wellington seems to be some type of detective, although no specific details are given about his past experiences or why people rely on him to solve these peculiar mysteries.

The Duke has been asked to rescue an old friend, as her town has recently been plagued by three unexplainable incidents; a missing child, a spectral black dog, and a man murdered under highly dubious circumstances. While Wellesley is skeptical, by the end of the issue, he rightly wonders what is really going on in this sleepy little country town.

Throughout the pages of this issue, Kowalski has painted a very clear picture of where this story is set and the players involved. His attention to detail with the scenic outlays is fantastic, most notably when the Duke investigates the Bell pits. Seeing the ambient English countryside, contrasted against the darkening, ominous stormy sky creates a brilliant visual packed with tension.

Simpson does well to capture the scenes with the copious levels of color that still allows the illustrations to sing with detail. Many of the panels take place in English housing that is only lit by candlelight as shadows cast long eerie images against the walls. The imagery creates the perspective that evil is on the precipice of breaking free and infecting our world. The tones of fire, paralleled next to the ever-present darks helps reinforce the elements of suspense within the issue.

Sadly, where I felt most let down by Wellington #1 was actually related to an element I thought would make stand apart – the dialogue and overall story itself. Dawson and Mahnke seem like they have a really solid mystery to reveal to us over the following issues. However, they don’t give enough detail in the opening issue to really let you sink your teeth into the meat of the plot. The dialogue is dry and dull, which results in a pace that feels very cumbersome.

Upon reading the synopsis of this issue, I was really hoping for some gripping suspense, yet it spends too much time in a lackluster transition that dulls the tension. The first half of the story, while setting the expectations and introducing the characters, drags out and has some repetition. For example we see a letter explaining the mysterious events happening in this town, then a few panels forward we get the same explanation but this time from the source of the letter. It’s not until later in the issue when the excitement picks up does the dialogue become interesting, but it ultimately feels delivered too late.

Where I was hoping to be regaled with a Sherlock Holmes type of mystery tinged with some paranormal investigation, in the end, I found myself feeling no attachment to a story that while a great concept, had no follow-through.

Wellington #1 is available in stores now.

Wellington #1
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TL;DR

Where I was hoping to be regaled with a Sherlock Holmes type of mystery tinged with some paranormal investigation, in the end, I found myself feeling no attachment to a story that while a great concept, had no follow-through.