Writers: Mike Mignola and Scott Allie, Artist: Ben Steinbeck, Colorist: Brennan Wagner, Letterer: Clem Robins, Cover: Ben Steinbeck.
I refuse to believe that because Mike Mignola is currently tackling real and literary monsters (Jack the Ripper in Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder, and now Frankenstein’s creation in Frankenstein Undone) that he is running out of ideas. But both of those books carry banners at the top of their cover that say FROM THE WORLD OF HELLBOY, implying that Mignola (or perhaps Dark Horse) wants us to consider them part of the Mignolaverse. Does this mean it's possible that Frankenstein's monster might interact with other Mignola creations? Hopefully!
Mignola and Allie’s Frankenstein Undone picks up where Mary Shelley’s novel left off, with the monster at Victor Frankenstein's deathbed on a ship near the Arctic Circle, relating his story to Captain Walton, and then disappearing into the waves and mists.
The rest of issue one follows the mentally and emotionally tortured monster on his quest to burn his own funeral pyre. The companions he finds along the way make him have second thoughts about his fate, and he has many philosophical arguments about life and death. This monster is very eloquent, poetic, and feels things deeply.
Being a fan of Shelley, it has always bothered me that the public was led by the latter Universal monster movies to call Frankenstein’s monster “Frankenstein.” Silly, I know, but Mignola & Allie deftly address this by having someone suggest to the monster that he take his father’s name, as is the custom in Europe.
Ben Steinbeck once again fills the art shoes admirably, his spare, shadowy style a softer, more organic version of Mignola’s more hard-edged approach. Steinbeck’s monster is designed in size and shape like most we have seen before, with stitches keeping his skullcap in place, but with additional massive conductive bolts over his body, beyond the typical pair on the sides of his neck.
There is enough action to keep this from becoming an emo talking heads book, and a twist or two to keep things interesting. So far it looks like an engaging and entertaining sequel to Shelley’s masterpiece.
Frankenstein Undone #1 from Dark Horse Comics is available January 29, 2020.