This review originally ran on Comics Bulletin
The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Tilney
(David Doub, Sarah Elkins, Danielle Alexis St. Pierre, Joamette Gil; Dusk)
David Doub's The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Tilney is, besides being a mouthful of alliteration, solicited as a modern day "penny dreadful." In the 19th century, a penny dreadful was a serialized salacious publication full of lurid scenes and titillating whatnots and hobnobs. So, needless to say, as a fan of things lurid and titillating, I was all on board for what this book had to offer. Unfortunately, I found little lurid and nothing titillating about Miss Tilney's trials and tribulations.
What I did find was a barely entertaining story about a plucky young reporter who, given her first big break in the business, finds herself enmeshed in a prison break, tales of black magic, and the wrong end of a big white tiger.
Getting through this book offered its own trials and tribulations. There are so many problems with pacing, perspective, and personality here that I became so distracted while turning its pages that I found I had to reread the whole thing just to figure out what the hell was going on. And even when I did figure out what was going on, I was still confused and, to be honest, not very interested. What could have been a vehicle for an engaging tale of Victorian mystery and intrigue featuring a strong female lead character became, rather, a thick fog of ideas into which the reader wades blindfolded, cold, and alone, stumbling over wooden art and dialogue.
The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Tilney is all too clunky and washed out and forced to flow. There is even a scene in which an enormous white tiger is savaging a woman, and yet somehow Doub and Elkins even take the life out of this. I mean it's a giant white tiger savaging a woman! How can you mess that up?
So what am I left with? I guess I've got this. The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Tilney succeeds in putting the "dreadful" in penny dreadful. That's the best I can do. God lord, that's the best I can do.
Find out more about The Trails and Tribulations of Miss Tilney at Dusk Comics.
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