Review: Róisín Dubh

by K. A. Laity

I know a lot of Irish folks who get a little tired of seeing outsiders plunder their mythology without careful study, so it’s a delight to be able to share a new comic series that digs into the darkness of Irish myths for some grand storytelling. Rósín Dubh is an original graphic novel from Atomic Diner, the publisher of Irish titles such as Freakshow and Atomic Rocket Group 66.

The team includes:

Story: Rob Curley and Maura McHugh
Script: Maura McHugh
Covers and Lettering: Stephen Byrne
Art: Stephen Byrne (Issues 2 & 3)
Stephen Daly (Issue 1)

Synopsis: It’s 1899, and the cusp of a new century in Ireland. 18-year-old Róisín Sheridan harbours ambitions to become a rival of the magnificent English actress Ellen Terry, if she can persuade her father that a career on the stage is ladylike. Her plans are destroyed one horrific evening when she and her parents are viciously attacked by Abhartach: a neamh-mairbh who has been released after 1,400 years in the ground. To survive and seek revenge Róisín must take up a new calling, one determined by ancient Gods whose agendas are not clear, and which will place her entire existence in jeopardy.

Review: The story grabs you from the start, flipping back and forth between Róisín and her parents inside a coach and the wild hunt going on outside in the black night. We get the bloody back story of the Abhartach, who sought ever darker means to gain power and paid the price by becoming a monster: neamh-mairbh means ‘half dead’. Although the people got together to subdue him for centuries, there are always those who seek out that kind of power and release it once more into the world. Róisín and her family pay the price of that release — and she gets a harsh introduction to the supernatural history of the Abhartach and his blood-thirsty ways. In the second issue, Róisín returns from the dark journey into the west with new gifts: a sword, a cloak and a hooded crow Fainche who will guide her. The art thrusts you into a moody world, almost Mignola-esque in its noirish tones but identifiably Irish in its sensibilities. The pacing of the story grips you immediately and rips right along. Good stuff — I’m counting down the days to the next issue.

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  1. Can’t wait to get our hands on it. Love, love, love!

  2. looks good!

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