"Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Prodigal Son - Volume Two" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Chuck Dixon
Illustrated by Scott Cohn & Tim Seeley
2011, 128 Pages
Trade Paperback released on June 14th, 2011
Of all the classic monster stories out there, Frankenstein was one that I could have done without seeing updated in the modern age. That didn't stop Dean Koontz (aka Stephen-King-Lite) from creating the sequel to Mary Shelley's original novel. Apparently this has been in the works for some time with several novels and even a made-for-TV movie that was released a few years back. Now it's a comic coming from Dynamite Entertainment.
It's present day and Dr. Frankenstein is somehow still alive. He's now stateside, creating a new race of human-esque creatures and going by the name Victor Helios. He's sent them out into the world to infiltrate society so that when the time comes he can take out the old race and replace them with his creations. Unfortunately these beings are a little unstable and start killing people. Helping the cops investigate is Frankenstein's original monster, who is now a big emo guy with the hoodie and mascara to match. He's also calling himself Deucalion, which is something I cannot pronounce.
This is the second volume of a two part collection so it's a bit like flipping channels and coming across an episode of CSI and having no idea what's going on. There have already been a few murders and the cops have a few leads. Unfortunately the recap at the front of the book didn't provide that much info.
Anyway, the story itself just isn’t that intriguing. I feel like I've heard this song and dance before. The mad scientist wants to destroy humanity and replace them with his superior race. Isn't that what Hitler wanted to do decades ago? I always thought Dr. Frankenstein was a little more original than that. There are several of his creations running around, but none really have much depth, including Deucalion. Yes, they have super powers and each one appears to have their own little quirks (like the guy can only walk by doing crosswords — each floor tile being a letter), but I just couldn't bring myself to care about them. Deucalion, although barely in this volume, is basically a brooding emo dude who mopes around an abandoned movie theater until the cops come and practically force him to help them.
Most of the dialogue is pretty mediocre as well. One of the cops tries desperately to be the wacky fun guy. He wears Hawaiian shirts and cracks some of the absolute worst jokes I've ever read. It gets pretty annoying after a little while.
The interior art Tim Seeley isn't bad. There are a few awkward scenes, but for the most part everything looks good. Close up shots of people end up a little off with features just not quite where they should be. Some of the supernatural elements — such as the floating head found in Victor's house — look great, though. Scott Cohn handled the covers and I wish he could have done more because in most cases that's the best art in the book. Each one showcases an epic scene that would be fitting for a movie poster.
Frankenstein could probably be updated a bit, but that story is a classic because it fits within the time frame it was written. In a world where we have stories like the X-Men, where people fear what they don't understand and wield metaphorical pitchforks and torches at others because they're different, a modern day Frankenstein feels rather out of place. I give Koontz some credit in trying to continue this story, but that's a tough act to follow. The conclusion of this book promises more, but I don't know what else they can really do with this or if the interest is even there.