Thursday, October 27, 2016

Monster of Frankenstein

Marvel Comics has done more than super heroes for decades. The Monster of Frankenstein takes the old legendary monster and his creator's tale and brings it into the Marvel Universe. This collection includes issues #1-#18 of Monster of Frankenstein, Giant Sized Werewolf by Night #2, the Frankenstein portions of Monsters Unleashed #2, #4-#10, Legion of Monsters #1, and even Marvel Team Up #36-#37.

That's a lot of Monster.

At first, this is done in an independent fashion. The tale starts with a search for the Monster. As the search is conducted, the leader is telling the "original" tale from the novels with a few tweaks here and there.

But this being a monstrous tale, it's also a tale of tragedy and death follows where the monster walks leaving him the only one of the original issues alive.

At the end of that, the Monster is alive and aware but is still out of time. During that period, he fights Dracula, among others, and encounters hatred in many forms. His appearance causes those about him to be frightened.

Interestingly enough, this take of the Monster is intelligent. He can initially speak, but after battling a vampire minion of Dracula and loses his voice for several issues. Probably an homage to the old movies.

In many ways, it's very much a Silver Surfer tale if the Surfer was prone to bursts of murderous rage that was actually carried out. When John Buscema takes over some of the penciling, it's even more mirrored.

This collection includes all of the comics, several of the horror magazines with fantastic black and white artwork. It is during the black and white period, that Frankenstein is pulled into the "modern" era.

Much like Captain America, the Monster goes into a state of suspended animation and can bypass decades at a time.

And the art? On those magazines? No one can say they're not getting their money worth when they can see those pencils and ink work of John.

Most of those told tales, though are self-contained. They don't "hit" the Marvel Universe properly until we get an encounter with "Werewolf By Night"

That's an old take of a classic where the traditional "monsters" wind up meeting and fighting each other.

But that was still a 'corner' of the Marvel Universe, it's not until we get a few issues of Marvel Team Up, an old title from Marvel where Spider-Man would monthly meet different heroes, that we see the Monster in full in the setting, done up by Sal Buscema no less.

Marvel and DC have both had their use of the Monster and while I think lately DC has done a better job with the character, this collection, at least now, was a very reasonable $3.99 and for me, the black and white artwork alone was enough reason to put down the money.

In this Halloween season, The Monster of Frankenstein makes for appropriate reading.