Frankenstein Underground 3 (May 2015)

Frankenstein Underground #3

This issue brings the Creature to an underground city, which he–in a delirious state–thinks is Hell. This delirious state also leads to some fight scenes, which Stenbeck rushes through. There’s some better action later on in the comic, but on a grand scale. Stenbeck can’t seem to handle the one on one fight scene, which is too bad.

Mignola’s story stalls out pretty soon after the Creature finds out there are reasoning men living in the underworld too. Then there’s a lengthy expository monologue from the lead reasoning man. Mignola enjoys the pseudo-history lesson and his enthusiasm makes it interesting to read. But it doesn’t really take the comic anywhere.

And the comic goes out on what should be a rather significant cliffhanger but it’s not because Mignola rushed through areas where he should have been foreshadowing better.

It’s okay, but it’s losing ground way too fast.

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Mignola; artist, Ben Stenbeck; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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Frankenstein Underground 2 (April 2015)

Frankenstein Underground #2

Besides the art–I mean, who doesn’t want to see Frankenstein’s monster fight a dinosaur–there’s not much going for this issue of Frankenstein Underground.

The villains do villainous things for a page, but not too villainous. Just plotting villainous and kind of evil. Then they’re gone and the story jumps to the monster going into an inner Earth, full of dinosaurs and cavemen.

And giant squids. Because it’s not just Edgar Rice Burroughs, it’s got some Jules Verne going for it too.

It’s kind of okay, Stenbeck’s art makes it work out. Like I said, the Frankenstein Monster versus monsters. I think that idea was even a Toho movie. And Stenbeck’s art is classy.

Notice how much I repeating myself? It’s because Mignola didn’t write enough story for a fourth of a comic book, forget about a full length one.

This issue is a pretty waste of one’s time.

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Mignola; artist, Ben Stenbeck; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Frankenstein Underground 1 (March 2015)

Frankenstein Underground #1

With the first issue of Frankenstein Underground, writer Mike Mignola signals something special about the comic. He gets how to write the Creature. He understands how he needs the Creature to function in the story. For comics, it might not be a huge development, but for the Frankenstein Monster as a iconic figure? Well, his icon’s always getting tarnished.

The art, from Ben Stenbeck, helps a lot. There’s an enthusiasm in the quirks of Mignola’s script–whether the flashbacks or the setting–and it comes across to the reader. Underground feels special, even in the scenes with the plotting villain, just because he’s plotting against the Creature.

There are occasional–subtle–nods to other Frankenstein adaptations, but Mignola’s setup for his Creature’s story is an excellent one. The issue ends on an “end of act one” cliffhanger so what he and Stenbeck come up with next remains to be seen.

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Mignola; artist, Ben Stenbeck; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 3 (January 2012)

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Lemire continues the uptick on Frankenstein, but it’s hard not to think it’d be better as a series of backups, not a feature title.

The format of the issue suggests chapters. For example, once the team gets done with one disaster, they talk a couple pages and have another disaster. The pacing would be perfect for an eight-page backup.

Besides the first few pages and the middle monster fight, the issue’s almost entirely exposition. The cast stands around and figures out what to do next. There’s bickering, joking and flirting and Lemire does it all pretty well.

It’s still unclear if we’re supposed to laugh at Frankenstein or support him. This issue he comes off a little like Peter Griffin from “Family Guy,” only right all the time.

Ponticelli is the key to Frankenstein‘s success though. His off-beat monster art makes the lengthy exposition scenes fun to read.

CREDITS

War of the Monsters, Part Three: The Titans of Monster Planet!; writer, Jeff Lemire; artist, Alberto Ponticelli; colorist, Jose Villarrubia; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Kate Stewart and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 2 (December 2011)

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This issue’s actually pretty good. Frankenstein didn’t make much impression (I’d almost forgotten it exists) and I don’t know if this one really will either. It’s pretty good in the sense it’s wholly mediocre with some wit involved. Ponticelli’s art smoothes things along.

But the change is Lemire. He’s no longer introducing his derivative plot details and characters, he’s not even doing much with the titular Frankenstein. He’s concentrating on the supporting cast—the new DC Universe’s Creature Commandos—and it works a lot better for him.

There’s a long flashback explaining their origin, all from the fish-girl’s perspective (think DC can get Dark Horse to do a crossover date issue with her and Abe?). Lemire can’t quite make it compelling, but he doesn’t bore. And he gets in some good observations.

The banter between the Commandos works too.

Still, it’s definitely undecided if Lemire can make Frankenstein work.

CREDITS

War of the Monsters, Part Two: The Dissection of Nina Mazursky; writer, Jeff Lemire; artist, Alberto Ponticelli; colorist, Jose Villarrubia; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Kate Stewart and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 1 (November 2011)

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I was expecting more from Alberto Ponticelli. The art’s good… but it’s hurried. I guess it’s hard to care when you’re on DC’s attempt to knock-off the Hellboy franchise.

Frankenstein is little more than recasting the Creature Commandos as B.P.R.D., only with Frankenstein’s Monster as Hellboy. It’s not a bad idea, it’s just totally unnecessary.

For his part, Jeff Lemire doesn’t do a terrible job writing. He doesn’t do a good job, just not a terrible one. Frankenstein is constantly referring to his creation and creator, which is supposed to interest the reader in his origins.

Instead, Lemire is obvious and the references are annoying.

But having Professor Bruttenholm decide he wants to run around like a mix of Hit-Girl and Harley Quinn? That bit’s funny.

Frankenstein at least appears, visually, to be amusing. Sadly, I doubt the writing will ever be amusing by itself.

CREDITS

War of the Monsters, Part One: Monster Town, USA; writer, Jeff Lemire; artist, Alberto Ponticelli; colorist, Jose Villarrubia; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Kate Stewart and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

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