Friday, June 13, 2014

Guest Review - Doc Frankenstein

   This guest review is by David Wright, who kindly offered to join the team covering while Chuck takes a brief vacation.

Doc Frankenstein by the Wachowskis, art by Steve Skroce.

   At comic book conventions I usually like to thumb through the cheapo boxes just to see what I can find. That is the best way to experiment with something that looks interesting without having to spend too much money.

   At a recent visit to the Dallas Comic Con I found this issue of Doc Frankenstein, which had an interesting cover, and I thought it might be part of the Franken-Castle comic, however, it turns out that it was not.  The Franken-Castle comic was sort of an odd mishmash of the Frankenstein monster and the Punisher (Frank Castle).  

   Doc Frankenstein, as it turns out, is a comic scripted by the Wachowski siblings who wrote the Matrix movies, among other films, with pretty nice art by Steve Skroce on the Burlyman imprint. 

   It is actually a pretty interesting take on the Frankenstein mythos brought into the modern world. The comic opens with a small introduction by the Wachowskis discussing how they still enjoy comics and grew up reading Jack Kirby who drew and wrote about the impossible while also name-dropping the Hard Boiled comic by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow from a few years back. They enjoy comics that take us places we've never been to before, and show us action we've never seen. 

   I can appreciate that, and that's a good beginning for their Doc Frankenstein title, which opens up with Frankenstein defeating a large alien-looking monster similar to something found in a Godzilla movie not far from the White House lawn with the President and staff looking on the scene by way of a security camera. 

   The scene shifts by way of a flashback, and we get a brief look at what the Frankenstein monster's life has been like over the years after his Arctic years of exile. He turns up in the Wild West as a lawman ridding the world of bad men, only to run into more trouble with life and humans along the way. He is still an alien and outsider to life stating, his father didn't give him tear ducts to cry at some of the failings of humanity and his sadness over trying to fit into our world. How does an eight-foot-tall, blue-skinned being resurrected by a lightning bolt do that? He realizes that he never will fit in, but rather he'll have to carve out a place of his own, and figures he'll have to defend himself from humanity for the rest of life.

   One of his oppressors is the church. I guess that's a pretty natural enemy for the blasphemous undead. As time has passed from the Wild West to the present, Frankenstein has built up a fortress of solitude so to speak, and found a girlfriend in the interim who accepts him. Peace is fleeting though, and the first issue ends as the church launches a full scale attack on his compound and the outsiders that live there.

   Doc Frankenstein is a fast and fun read if you like unusual comics. One of the things about the bargain boxes, however, is that you might find something that piques your interest and you'll be motivated to find the rest of the series. Which is the way I feel about this series. 

   It was nominated for the 2005 "Best New Series" Eisner Award, and to my knowledge has yet to be concluded. 

Grade: A


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