ARCHIVE PAGE 1 - March 2006
Previous posts that appeared on the front page of comic book brain.com
MARCH 12, 2006
The Frankenstein monster has had so many various representations in comic books, for example the Dick Briefer version from the 1940s and 1950s (see a page about Briefer's Frankenstein here) and then there are numerous versions closer to the original Mary Shelley rendition.
In the Grant Morrison written DC Comics Frankenstein #1, he is apparently a ruthless avenger that went into some form of hibernation in 1870 after successfully defeating the sinister, well-dressed Melmoth. Melmoth's minions, "spine-riders," grotesque humanoid-shaped creatures, show up again under the guidance (or controlling, not sure which) of a pimply high school student who is called only by the name of "Uglyhead." He is afforded the power to read the minds of his fellow students - - how this is possible is not explained - - and he uses this power in a megalomania fashion to complete a plan to destroy them. In a plot not unlike Stephen King's Carrie, there is the one lone student who shows "Uglyhead" some kindness, who is then targeted to survive the coming annihilation, and is the readers introduction to the prom-night scene of conflict.
Morrison's story dwells upon the self-loathing of the students, and in an example of the mind-control powers of Uglyhead & the maggot spine-riders, a particular blonde-haired student is controlled to overnight transform into a pimply, oily female counterpart to Uglyhead, because "deep down inside you're Uglyhead, too." The setting for the coming cataclysm involving the whole student body is thus set.
The story now at full tilt, the Frankenstein creature crashes up through the floor of the school - - whether Frankenstein was conveniently buried under the school or tunneled there from elsewhere is not shown. Confronting Uglyhead outside the Excalibur Fantasy Butterfly World (near the school), Frankenstein smashes him through a storefront window and a sword hanging there (by a thread, I guess) falls to sever Uglyhead's "spine-rider" and of course his head.
Apparently rejuvenated by electricity, the story ends with Frankenstein marching off to bring further battle to evil because "something was left undone," probably in regards to Melmoth?
Mahnke's art captures the grimy-pimply look of high school as a land of narcissism and self-hatred. Frankenstein is rendered (and colored by John Kalisz) effectively as the usual corpse-assembled being, but the age-old dilemma of why the creature is called Frankenstein (versus the Dr. Frankenstein that made him) is not explained.
The constant problem of 22 page comics comes to the fore in that space is not given to fill in the basics of a satisfying story. Many of these "main" characters for the tale do not even warrant names, or even identities beyond that of stereotype high school numbskull. Each scene seems hatched full-blown without any background that explains any motivations or even the mindframe of the characters. The Frankenstein character destroys his enemies, along with all of the student body, who were in the midst of being assaulted by the maggoty spine-riders. He then burns the place to the ground, shoveling ashes into the flames. I am impressed with how thorough he is being, though I am left confused by what is the exact nature of the conflict he is pursuing that transcends centuries.
Very well-done art, and some very good moments of writing highlight this tale. The downside are the unexplained plot elements and the cookie-cutter characters from the doomed school body.
NOVEMBER 16, 2005
WHAT THE HEX??!
Does Clint Eastwood know he is starring in the reboot Jonah Hex?
This issue number one is written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti; Art by Luke Ross; Cover by Frank Quitely. THIS REVIEW HAS MOVED TO A NEW PAGE HERE.
NOVEMBER 9, 2005
SKIN DEEP - The Bulleteer
"Get that ring off, expose some skin!" (page 3)
Rather than use botox, Lance Harrower invents a metal "smartskin" that "bonds with collagen," so that (among other things) he can preserve his wife Alix in a permanent state of youthful comic-book voluptuousness (more or less in the shiny, reflective style of The Silver Surfer). READ MORE
Sensation Comics #13 - H G Peter 1943
Sensation Comics #13, 1943, cover by H.G. Peter
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Jodloman Panel, 1975, House of Mystery
More Jess Jodloman - Sunken Pearls of Captain Hatch, 1974
Planet O' the Apes
Wonder Woman in White
Jim Aparo, Brave and Bold #105, 1973
Jim Aparo artwork, Batman and Wonder Woman team-up, Brave and the Bold #105.
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Original Page Dec 2005 | Updated Jan 2016
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