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Frankenstein Underground #1

Published by Daniel Bennifer on April 30, 2015 1:37 am
2 Comments
 

Mike Mignola takes on the challenge of writing Frankenstein’s monster. Does he succeed in the first issue of Frankenstein Underground?

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus is one of my favourite novels of all time. It’s a timeless tale of one man’s obsession to create life – and the monster that became his undoing. If that wasn’t enough, Mike Mignola is a favourite comic book artist and writer of mine.

So, when I heard he was tackling this tragic creature, I was instantly intrigued, or rather ecstatic. I wasn’t sure if it’d live up to my high expectations. But, I was sure as hell enough going to give it a chance.

Mignola is a master at storytelling. He’s able to take a make readers truly sympathize with utterly tragic characters. And that’s exactly what he does with Frankenstein’s monster. You’ll come to feel for him. This, and more, is accomplished in the first issue, so we’re eagerly waiting to see what happens next.

Those of us who are Hellboy fans will already recall Frankenstein’s appearance in House of the Living Dead, which saw the pair boxing it out in 1950’s Mexico. After which, the duo hung around, wallowing in a little self-pity over drinks.

Though, there are no prerequisites to Frankenstein Underground. You don’t have to have read any prior work from Mignola. It’s a mini-series that anyone and everyone – who’s willing to take a chance on it – can pick up, read and enjoy.

Let’s talk about the artwork, which is quite simply sublime. It’s dark (but, then again, this is a horror series from the master himself), but it seemingly manages to be vibrant at the same time. It’s really rather beautiful and it perfectly complements the tragic tale of one of the most tormented creatures in literature to this date.

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It’s probably not a surprise that it’s so spot-on, though, with former Baltimore artist Ben Stenbeck handling it. Stenbeck and Mignola have routinely worked together now, and the duo seems to be on par with each other in almost every aspect now. We’re not aware of how much back-and-forth happened between the initial sketches and the finished product, but needless to say, the end result is ace.

The same could be said for the colouring. It both felt and looked like I was reading an issue of Hellboy in Hell. However, that’s far from a bad thing. It would appear that David Stewart just stuck with the same style and color palette, for the most part. But, it works and helps sell that its all part of the same universe.

Finally, the lettering by Clem Robins just adds to the overall beauty. There are no complaints to be made about it and rather more praise. It’s never intrusive or annoying and rather, simply just feels right.

Despite the amount of praise I have personally for the first issue in this bold new series, that takes on the challenge of reinventing one of the most infamous characters of all time, I do have some concerns that its not going to be as widely read by as many as it deserves.

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That’s not because of anything the book does. Neither is it Dark Horse or Mike Mignola’s fault, or anyone else on the team. It’s rather because it’s a dark story, in comparison to the plethora of feel-good superhero tales we’re so accustomed to in the comic book world. I can see a fair amount of people who would potentially like the book doing little more than writing it off on face value alone. And that’s a damn shame.

So if there’s one thing I could do – it’s that I would encourage you to take a gamble on this. Even if it’s not your typical genre of comic book or even if you’ve not read prior works of Mignola. It’s well worth the read.

There’s no doubt that Mignola’s hit a home run with Frankenstein Underground #1. If the rest of the series continues the trend then it’ll be a real winner for Dark Horse.

Frankenstein Underground #1 is available now in any decent comic book store. We’d suggest you snag a copy.

 
 

The Verdict

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art

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design

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colouring

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lettering

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story

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overall

9.5

9.0

9.5

9.0

9.5

9.5

What’s being said...

  1. Hellboy Fan (May 1, 2015 8:05 am)

    Great review! I really think this is a great addition to the Mignolaverse. Hope we see Frankenstein appear in more after this series is finished.

     
  2. Carl (May 2, 2015 2:11 pm)

    The breakdown at the end of the review is neat, guys. I’m digging it.

     
 

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