Story by: Mike Mignola
Art by: Ben Stenbeck
Colours by: Dave Stewart
Letters by: Clem Robins
Somewhere, right now, a comment section is beset by the grinning avatar of a nerd on a mission. “Um, actually,” the comment reads, metaphorical lips twisted into a knowing smirk, “This series should be called Frankenstein’s Monster Underground.”
They do this because they must. This is all they have, the poor dears. Let them have it. Let’s talk about a comic about a dude called Frankenstein who fought Hellboy in a lucha match that one time long ago.
The story begins somewhere in the middle with Frankenstein arriving at a temple in Mexico having been shot. As Mignola launches into the meat of the plot, he gives the character context and motivation with a sense of effortlessness. Through out the years, Mignola has done exemplary work taking areas of interest and blending them into a big tapestry, filling out corners of a world along a visible timeline with methodical ease. Clearly, he is trying to make us all look bad and is succeeding at every turn. The story reads clean whether you’ve immersed yourself in the finer points of the Hellboy universe, or if you’re approaching the concept free from back story. Exposition flows into the mechanics of the story without pulling you out of the flow and making you wait for the plot to continue. When the ending arrives, you’re sold on the emotion of the moment from what’s occurred within the confines of the story as printed, which is no small feat.
Art for this tale is provided by Ben Stenbeck – one of Mignola’s collaborators on the Baltimore series of comics – and the ever-vital colours of Dave Stewart. The pair work scenes beautifully with Stenbeck working from the Mignola play book, drenching scenes in shadow with impeccable stage dressing and camera motion. Stewart embellishes this with colour that denotes time and place as the story demands. While Stenbeck sets the stage, Stewart draws out the inky darkness and gives it life.
Clem Robins does an exemplary job of lettering. He’s either doing it by hand, or doing a fantastic job of building variation into digital lettering. Either way, there’s a seamlessness to his craft in this book, which calls upon him to change style for the volume of a voice, or the sound of an action. Working together, the creative team builds pages that flow, breaking wide and drawing in close as the story demands. The craft is undeniable and the read entertains. If the elements sound like they might be your cup of tea, then by all means, give the book a try when it arrives in shops.
Brandon Schatz and Danica LeBlanc are the owners of Variant Edition Comics + Culture located in Edmonton, Alberta. They specialize in matching people with the comics and books they never knew they wanted. In their spare time, they write articles and produce podcasts at Submetropolitan.com