Monday, 29 February 2016
Madame Frankenstein Review (Jamie S. Rich, Megan Levens)
It’s the 1930s and the love of Vincent Krall’s life, Courtney Bow, has died in a car accident. But being a Boris Karloff fan - and more than a little crazy - Dr Vince decides to bring Courtney back to life using bits and pieces of other corpses. Madame Frankenstein… she’s ALIVE!!
Jamie S. Rich and Megan Levens’ reimagining of the Frankenstein story with a Jazz Age backdrop is actually pretty decent. It’s a familiar storyline given new life (boom boom) by mixing in elements of Pygmalion but mainly with the characters of Vincent and Courtney who’re in a more complicated relationship than Victor and his creation were in Mary Shelley’s novel.
Vincent’s a dope fiend living in his own head populated with fairies and fantasy; Courtney is now Gail, the unnaturally alive shadow of her former self struggling to understand how she came to be. Rich slowly reveals to the reader their characters and neither are simply saints or sinners. Vincent had a hard life growing up as the adopted son of a rich man whose biological son loathed him while Courtney/Gail seemed in love with danger more than any man.
The lack of any likeable main characters is partly why I didn’t feel very connected to the story but it’s also not the most impressive tale either. It’s only a day since I read this and I know I’m going to forget it soon. I can appreciate Rich’s writing, it’s just not the kind of story that’s going to blow anyone’s hair back - it’s competent and nothing special. I did like that he went for an unconventional ending though.
Similarly, Megan Levens’ black and white art is perfectly fine but wholly unremarkable. You can tell what’s happening and the story’s well-paced it’s just not very distinctive or eye-catching.
Madame Frankenstein shows that you can have two creators who can capably tell a decent story just fine but you need a pulse, a spark, to give your comic that jolt of excitement and urgency to really galvanise the reader - and this one simply doesn’t have it. Ironically for a comic about reanimating the dead, it’s pretty lifeless stuff.