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Frankenstein Underground #2

    Ian Jane

  • Frankenstein Underground #2

    Frankenstein Underground #2
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: April 22nd, 2015.
    Written by: Mike Mignola
    Illustrated by: Ben Stenbeck
    Purchase From Amazon

    Need to get caught up with the first issue of this mini-series? Click here! The second issue begins with a sequence in which the sinister Marquis De Fabre shows off to his equally sinister cohorts his latest acquisition - The Lady Iblifika, formerly of Hell, in bird form!

    Meanwhile, in Mexico circa 1956 the creature known as Frankenstein's monster laments his lonely, hellish existence. As he stops to sip water from a lake a giant tentacle lashes out and constricts around his arm, dragging him into the deep. The strange creature pulls him further into the water but as it reaches the bottom a massive lobster-like creature attacks it and frees him. He heads to the surface through a hole he sees and emerges in what appears to be a prehistoric world. There are monsters and dinosaurs aplenty here and almost instantly he's attacked by something akin to a pterodactyl.

    Flashback to Austria a year prior, the monster, clad in rags, takes solace from a winter storm inside an old church. He approaches a statue of the Virgin Mary and asks for mercy and peace, unaware that behind him someone approaches. The rector sees the monster as an affront to God, attacks him, and attempts to send him out of the church and back into the snow. A fight breaks out and we return to the present where we see the monster fighting an army of archers and armor clad warriors. It does not go well.

    In this second chapter, Frankenstein's monster truly does go underground - in the literal sense - and in doing so writer Mike Mignola and illustrator Ben Stenbeck have managed to create a pretty fantastic world. This issue has a nice mix of fantasy and gothic horror running through it. It's sort of the comic book equivalent of a James Whale/Ray Harryhausen collaboration, and as you can easily imagine, that's high praise.

    Mignola's story is well paced and a fun read. The narration from the titular monster helps not only to keep things in perspective but to ensure that he earns our sympathy even when forced into violent action. The prose is literate without being pretentious, paying homage to the text of writers like Shelley and Lovecraft without aping their work. This all fits in quite nicely within the established 'Mignolaverse' - it's creative, weird, dark and wildly entertaining. Complimenting the story quite nicely is Stenbeck's artwork, colored by Dave Stewart. Stenbeck uses Mignola's trademark style as a sort of launch pad off of which to deliver his own take on the sort of ink-heavy artwork you'd expect. He definitely has his own thing going on here, this isn't a carbon copy of Mignola's style, but the influence is there. Stenbeck adds a fair bit more detail though, and his panels tend to have a lot more movement in them than you might guess. There's some really creative layout and creature design here, particularly once things head into dinosaur/monster territory. A solid read - one that will definitely bring you back for the next issue.
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