The skinny: Frankenstein #1 is very short but sweet, largely due to it’s art. Fluff pads out the issue but it did enough to make me keep an eye out for #2.
Frankenstein Alive, Alive! #1 (IDW, May 2012) is frustratingly good. The art is gorgeous, gothic, and very appropriate for a new take on Frankenstein. It captures the mood quite well. The sketchy style reminds me of the recently-released Batman: Death by Design. This borrows one of that book’s best features: sparse but well-used color. Just look at that subtle sky:
The story is off to a slow start but does leave me with hints of curiosity. I like that it’s told from Frankenstein’s perspective. I’m not sure how long he’ll be an even mildly relatable character but I do like his desperate beginnings. The problem is that issue 1 was over just as soon as the tale was beginning to hook me. So I went back to do a page count:
- 19 pages of story
- 3 pages of interview with the creator
- 6 pages of letters by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
That doesn’t add up to 28 pages of joy, just 9 pages of feeling a bit cheated. The interview is definitely filler and the letters remind me of that issue of Batman by Grant Morrison that was 97% prose and 3% crappy art. I never did finish it. I likely won’t finish these letters either. Shelley’s writing is the source material for Frankenstein but her style has not aged well. I read the original book so I know I have the patience for it but still question if it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
I’m not expecting every #1 to be like Saga with it’s vast world-building, no ads, and high page count but this just feels too short to recommend unless you’re really into the Frankenstein character. That said, the seeds planted in this issue will make me flip through #2 when I see it on the racks. But I’ll check for the ratio of story to fluff next time.
P.S. According to CBR: “Each issue will also include supplemental materials, including interviews, essays and a serialization of the original prose story by Shelley.” This material might be relevant but they certainly need to balance what’s supplemental with what’s original and necessary for a good comic book. Interviews and prose ain’t it.