Convicted psychotic killer and extremist fanatic Edward "Mad Dog" Mastock violently escapes the guillotine's blade in the Tower of London to once again terrorise the Socialist Republic of Britain. But dogging Mastock's bloody footsteps is his longtime adversary and nemesis, Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock, at odds with Scotland Yard and intent on bringing Mastock's horrific murder spree to an end, once and for all. Aided by his friend and colleague Detective Roderick Ratzi, LeBrock follows the trail of carnage to Paris, otherwise known as Grandville, the largest city in a world dominated by the French Empire that is the prime target of Mastock's sadistic terrorism. Can LeBrock capture the Mad Dog before he can mete out his final vengeance, or will LeBrock's own quest for redemption be dragged to ground by the demons of his past?
This is the sequel to the fantastic first book in Talbot's anthropomorphosised steampunk series. Detective Inspector LeBrock is back home after the events that led to the deaths of both Napoleon and his beloved Sarah. He's in a bit of a slump having locked himself away and drunk himself into a stupor. It takes his friend and partner (the frankly magnificent and dapper) Detective Ratzi to drag him from his torpor in time to investigate (unofficially) the escape of his old adversary Edward 'Mad Dog' Mastock who, having escaped from his execution in the Tower of London has headed for Grandville (Paris) and begins a murder spree against the cities prostitutes. LeBrock and Ratzi soon discover a link between these killings, the escape and events that lead to the very top of the new British government.
As I mentioned in my write-up of the first volume I am a long time Bryan Talbot fan having read his work for pretty much as long as I've been reading comics. This series is amongst his finest work. It is stunning! the characters are real, which is saying something considering the main characters are a gun wielding badger and a rat with a straw boater and a monocle. It's unashamedly a pulp romp filled with ne'er-do-wells and heroes but that doesn't proclude it from being tightly plotted and filled with the most gorgeous eye-candy artwork. As before it's a sumptuously realised piece of work that is as beautiful to look at as it is to read.