Image © Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson and IDW.
Though I hate to think about it, it’s been forty years since Bernie Wrightson blew me away with his wonderful art on SWAMP THING, making me a fan for life. We’re both still here, he’s still creating masterful work, and I’m still blown away. The art is presented ina range of painted sepia browns, delivering an accurate reproduction of every pen line and brush stroke, and allowing for every nuance to show. Really fine work, full of detail yet never losing sight of the drama and storytelling.
This new series, building on the original Frankenstein novel by Mary Shelley, is well written by Steve Niles, though not a lot happens physically in this issue. It focuses on the development of the “monster” after he’s rescued from his self-imposed prison in the arctic by an explorer, Dr. Ingles, who becomes a friend to the composite man. Dr. Ingles helps educate the fellow, allowing him free reign in his library, and giving him lessons to address his questions. For a while the creature is able to forget his own unhappy situation, until an encounter with someone else reawakens his awareness of how frightening he seems to ordinary people. We can imagine that things will no go so well for Frankenstein’s creation from here on.
I’m disappointed with the decision to fill the last eight pages with the beginning of Shelley’s 1818 novel, a work that’s widely available everywhere, instead of an original text story, as in the first issue. Perhaps Niles didn’t have the time for it, or IDW didn’t have the funds to pay for it. At any rate, the comics story is well worth having.