Saturday, June 14, 2014

Guest Review - Frankenstein Alive, Alive!

   Sitting in the Guest Review chair today is David Wright, who kindly offered to join the team covering while Chuck takes a short break. 

   Frankenstein Alive, Alive!  by Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson.

   I read the first issue to the comic book limited series by Steve Niles, 30 Days of Night creator, with art by Bernie Wrightson, who is also the story collaborator. 

   Frankenstein Alive, Alive! was really pretty good and quickly captured my interest to read more of the series. It is currently on its third issue, which was just released recently on the IDW imprint.  

   The book is sort of on an irregular schedule, but when you open the book you'll understand why - once you see the artwork by Wrightson. First off, I've always admired Bernie Wrightson's artwork, and in this book, most of it is done in black and white, which really helps to showcase it. Some of the backgrounds are done with a blue monotone flourish, which also helps to make the artwork pop. Wrightson's art can be pretty varied, but here it's detailed and you can tell he's putting a lot into each page. If you've ever seen the text / illustrated Frankenstein book he did a few years back, the art is similar in tone to that.

  The story was pretty interesting as well, starting off with the monster not being dead, yet still fatalistic and wanting its deliverance from the living. It knows it does not fit in with life and never will fit in, but finds some solace and work as a freak at a carnival in a sideshow.  Here it finds a small, yet simple lifestyle among the other freaks of natures. 

   From that opening scene there's a flashback and we get to see some of the monster's life while in the Arctic wasteland. We see he is haunted by his creator, Doctor Frankenstein, for the killing of his wife, brother, and best friend. The doctor's ghost is vengeful and goads the monster to commit suicide, however the monster gets caught up in an ice storm, and encased in a block of ice. The monster is frozen in time.  

   As time passes, the monster's icy tomb is melted, and again his creator torments him. In the distance the monster sees a volcano, and decides to end it all by jumping into it. Again the spector of his creator taunts him to end it all. However, the book ends not with the monster's demise, but with something quite common to comic book fans: the cliffhanger.

   The remainder of the book is a discussion between both creators reminiscing about growing up and how they became fans of the Universal monsters and horror fans. There is also a reprinting of the original text from the Mary Shelley classic, Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus

   I felt that the reprinted material of the original novel was a bit of a cheat, as I already own a copy, but if you've not read it, it's probably a worthwhile inclusion. 

Grade B+


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