I’m in a Frankenstein sort of mood this week, so I thought I’d offer up a helping of monster mayhem in the form of Doc Frankenstein, a book that I don’t think gets enough love.
Doc Frankenstein, the character and the comic book, kick ass. No – kicks major ass. It’s got everything a growing boy needs: monsters, blood, guts, jet fighters, gunplay, hot women, giant aliens, explosions, cowboys, Eskimos, and carnage carnage carnage. It’s like they made this book just for Dave!
Created by Geoff Darrow and Steve Skroce, Doc Frankenstein is a bi-monthly comic written by the Wachowski Bro – um, the Wachowski Siblings, and published by their fledgling publishing company, Burlyman Entertainment. This is not your typical start-up comic company. The Wachowskis threw some money at this one, and the production values are very high. It’s got beautiful color and is printed on nice slick paper.
Doc Frankenstein picks up where Mary Shelly’s story leaves off, and recasts the Frankenstein Monster as an ass-kicking juggernaut of ass-kickery. Okay, I think I’ve just exceeded my self-imposed “kick-ass” quota, but sometimes, there’s no other phrase that fits. The Frankenstein Monster, who is now called “Doc Frankenstein” is immortal, indestructible, and damn smart. At the dawn of the 21st Century, Doc has constructed a well-financed empire of his own, but has made some powerful enemies, who show up in force at the end of this issue. In an extended flashback narrated by Doc we get part of his back story, including a huge double-page gunfight with banditos in the old west and a slobber-knocking brawl with a yeti. The Wachowski Bros. florid narration adds a certain gravitas to the proceedings, but never detracts from the pulp fun of the book.
And the art – man, Steve Skroce’s art is frickin’ gorgeous. It’s reminiscent of his co-creator Geoff Darrow’s detailed artwork, but is not as hyper-detailed and always keeps the focus on the important elements on the page. I’d call it Geoff Darrow-lite, but that doesn’t do justice to Skroce’s work. Skroce, who has worked on Marvel books like Gambit and Amazing Spider-Man and did storyboards for The Matrix, has a beautiful, clean style and a firm grip on visual storytelling. Darrow provides the pretty cover, which has a fantastic logo.
I think it’s keen, but don’t take my word for it. I’ve digitally cut up some panels from the sequence where Doc comes out of his self-imposed Arctic exile to help a little Innuit girl being chased by a yeti. The captions are Doc narrating.
Let’s take a look:
Man, things don’t look good for that little girl. Check out the scary yeti! The coloring, the fine hair, the sense of motion - is that a thing of beauty or what?
Fortunately for the little girl, she’s fallen into the right icy tomb. It’s time for a monster throw-down! Frankenstein’s monster vs. a yeti? Only in comic books, my friends!
Sure, the yeti looks scary, but Doc Frankenstein was literally made to kick ass. Now, THIS is a quality panel – if you like splattering gore and flying yeti eyeballs, that is. Fortunately, I do.
Check it out:
That is one lucky little Eskimo girl. What are the odds that she would fall right into an icy hole occupied with the one guy in the world that can beat a yeti's face into paste?
Doc Frankenstein returns the lost girl to her people and decides to re-join the world of humanity. The yeti fight scene is the perfect synthesis of character development and graphic monster violence. Love it.
Needless to say, I highly recommend Doc Frankenstein to any fan of pulp mayhem. Burlyman is on their third issue now. Go buy it. You CANNOT GO WRONG with Doc Frankenstein.