"Madame Frankenstein #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jamie S. Rich
Illustrated by Megan Levens
2014, 32 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on June 4th, 2014
Assembling a new body for his deceased girlfriend is just not enough for Vincent Krall. He's got to add a little more crazy to it in the latest issue of Madame Frankenstein. Previously we had seen the good doctor reanimate a stitched-together corpse, but now he's decided to train her to be a perfect lady as one would expect in the 1930s. This is proving challenging as Gail (the “monster”) can barely speak and acts like an animal.
This is a psychological horror, showing just how far Krall is willing to go for a chance at happiness again. He's disturbed and now that the wheels are in motion with this project, he is showing no signs of stopping. He's also still treating other patients in the area, however he's not exactly following the Hippocratic Oath. When Gail needs a new arm, he keeps an eye out while visiting a nearby sick woman...you know...just in case she might die, making a perfectly good replacement available. When you put your faith in a physician, you're thinking that he or she is going to do whatever they can to cure what ails you. Krall's actions fly in the face of that and it's unsettling.
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The scenes with Krall teaching Gail how to be a lady come off a bit like a montage from a movie. There could be some uplifting music playing in the background as Gail slowly makes progress. I'm not saying that these pages look cheesy. They're actually a little touching, making you forget for a moment that this man brought this woman back to life by assembling a new body made of discarded body parts. Maybe that was what was missing from Mary Shelley's book: a montage set to uplifting music.
The one thing that continues to bother me about Madame Frankenstein is the fairies. Last time, Krall saw and spoke to a few of them while sitting in a field. This chapter has him speaking to Gail about them as he shows her a magazine with her on the cover as a child, playing with some fairies. They appeared to be real for some time before eventually being debunked. I just don't understand what this angle is. Author Jamie S. Rich has assured me that it pays off, so I'm willing to go with it until all is revealed. It's not often that I read a comic with both a reanimated corpse and fairies.
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Megan Levens' artwork is gorgeous. She brings a normalcy to the situation in the comic, almost making Krall's actions seem perfectly sane. This makes the scene with Gail's arm decomposing stand out, as it's a shock to see such an ugly thing in a book filled with beautiful people. Gail herself has a sense of innocence about her as she re-learns about the world. Although she's bald with large stitches covering her body, she doesn't come off like a monster. Maybe this whole thing could work out after all.
Levens is also able to tell quite a bit from the facial expressions of her characters. Rich doesn't have to fill every page with dialogue explaining a particular scene when Levens can provide a harsh gaze or innocent glance. I'd also love to see what her artwork would look like in color.
Madame Frankenstein continues its journey through Vincent Krall's fractured psyche. What's scary about this comic is not that he brought a woman back to life, but how normal Rich makes it seem. There's this glimmer of hope that maybe everything will be okay for these two crazy kids. They'll have a great story to tell their grandkids one day. I'm dying to find out what's going on with these fairies though.