"Madame Frankenstein #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jamie S. Rich
Illustrated by Megan Levens
2014, 24 Pages
Comic released on May 7th, 2014
A wise man once said “Love is a burning thing.” It's something that can consume us and drive us mad. People have done insane things, including but not limited to murder, all in the name of love. Vincent Krall is actually doing the opposite of murder. He's bringing a lost love back from the grave in Madame Frankenstein, from Jamie S. Rich and Megan Levens. Of course, returning someone to the land of the living rarely works out well.
This first issue is told in flashes of different moments. The opening page shows Krall meeting a beautiful young woman named Courtney Bow. This is immediately followed by a scene with Krall and a lab assistant preparing to reanimate Bow's corpse. There are similar juxtapositions throughout the comic, such as when Krall flips the switch and we're shown bits and pieces of the car accident that took Bow's life the first time. You have an idea of how things are going to turn out in the lab, so seeing these glimpses into the past and even the present as Krall attends to a local family's medical needs helps give you a clearer picture of the setting.
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There may be a bit more to Krall's story than just love, however. The man sees fairies. You know, like Tinkerbell. This came as a complete surprise to me as it was far from what I was expecting the comic to be about. I'm curious about this and how it works with the rest of the overall plot.
Madame Frankenstein is set in 1932 and Megan Levens artwork helps preserve that time period perfectly. The characters look like they were taken from the set of The Great Gatsby. She bounces between creepy mad science in Krall's lab to a beautiful gorgeous landscape. The aforementioned fairies are far from Disney-like. Instead they're emaciated with an almost alien look to them.
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What really stands out is Courtney Bow. While she jumps off the page right away with her stunning features, it's her corpse that steals the show. She goes from a peaceful slumber to an alert anger to outright fear, each shown without a single actual word spoken (aside from a few grunts). All of this emotion is conveyed from Levens' artwork.
Madame Frankenstein is off to an interesting start. It's not your average crazed-scientist story and definitely not the same old tale as originally written by Mary Shelley. Instead it's a new spin, tied with love, curiosity, and a bit of madness, with some definite inspirations taken from classic monster films.