The Horror Honeys: A Horror Comic Review ~ Madame Frankenstein

A Horror Comic Review ~ Madame Frankenstein

A Comics Honey Review by Shannon

Title: Madame Frankenstein
Issues: #1-3
Author: Jamie S. Rich
Artist: Megan Levens
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: May 2014

In 1932, Vincent Krall sets out to create his perfect woman by reanimating the corpse of the love of his life. He’ll soon discover, however, that man was never meant to peer beyond the veil between life and death. 

Artwork: 4/5
Layout: 5/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Re-Readability: 4/5
Total: 3 1/2 out of 5

Going through my long list of comics, I was introduced on twitter to Jamie S. Rich and Megan Levens' gothic horror, Madame Frankenstein. I thought “Frankenstein story with a female lead? I'm in!”
However, this ended up being a different beast than imagined.


Artwork
The interior pages of the comic is illustrated by Megan Levens a recent name in the comic industry. She creates the world in black and white with sharp crisp lines, weight and shadows, which works well with a gothic horror theme. 
A couple little gripes I have with her art 1) is a page with the use of grayscale screentone as wallpaper, it was being rather distracting from the rest of art, and 2) some variation of facial expressions could be used to help make the characters not look so wooden.

Layout
Otherwise with the artwork, the comic itself is well laid out and is easy to read on a large or small screen. The sound effects text and the dialogue bubbles are fluid to read through without any distractions.

Writing
Here's where I see some issues. So far I've read through three issues out of a possible seven in the story arc, however I am having some trouble figuring out what kind of genre they are putting their comic into.
It's described as a gothic horror but doesn't seem to hit the notes for me, if anything it would work best like the original Frankenstein* and consider it a science fiction or a gothic romance. The writer, Jamie S. Rich then throws a curveball by introducing Fairies (an idea based on the Cottingley Fairies photographs) who are familiars to Dr. Krall.

I understand the idea of fantastical ideas being something science hasn't explained yet but that element still feels a little weird to me, maybe something to be explained in further issues.

*A small tangent but with a name like Madame Frankenstein, I am a little disappointed that the lead female character is not the doctor. There have already been a few films that had Frankenstein creating a feminine monster. One day I would like to see the reverse.

Characters
I am going to say it now. Victor Krall is a DICK.
Everything I am reading about this character comes off as selfish and only to prove something to his adopted brother, Henry. His interaction with Gail, his creation, comes off as patronizing and creepy- almost infantalizing. Especially since she was a resurrection of the girl, Courtney that he fell in love with. 

I don't know exactly how I feel about his character development yet because I am not sure if we are supposed to sympathesize with Dr. Krall or see him as a obsessive sociopath. If its the former, then the writing is suffering, if the latter, then its doing its job.

Re-readability
So far this series is feeling slow and I am wondering what will be the biggest conflict in the series: Victor/Henry rivalry, the moral implications of resurrection, or his obsession with possessing the girl he previously lost? Again, this is only the first three issues so there will be more to be revealed in later issues, I just hope it picks up the pace.

Conclusion 
With a concept done a few times before, Madame Frankenstein attempts to add more of a magical realism by introducing fantastical elements, however this doesn't add much to the story yet and leaves one with more questions than answers. Along with (in my opinion) an unsympathetic lead character, one would hope the remaining issues will give more of an idea of why everything is happening.

Find Madame Frankenstein at:

Jamie S. Rich 
Megan Levens