Wednesday, October 14, 2015
"But no one can control a force of nature."
Science can be fun. It can create effects not previously expected, solve problems thought unsolvable and give people ways to think creatively. When science is used for more selfish reasons--such as creating life for instance--things can get a little more complicated. When those creations start thinking for themselves as they do in Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Storm Surge #1 from Dynamite Comics, things get entertaining. The issue is written by Chuck Dixon, illustrated by Andres Ponce, colored by Mohan and lettered by Bill Tortouni.
While healing from a beating she suffered at the hands of Victor Helios - once Dr. Frankenstein - and her own maker, Erika Five decides to leave the comfort of her glassed-in porch and bottle of cognac to go exploring into Victor's secret home lab, which she believes is an antechamber to something more sinister. With the help of the bodiless head Karloff and his disembodied hand, Erika finds a secret lab and within sees experiments revealing Victor's attempts to do more than create a race of super-immortals... and a mirror-like portal to another universe, one of infinite realities Victor is trying to bridge for his own horrible reasons!
It's difficult to take a property as storied as Frankenstein and make it feel original, but that's what Dixon attempts to do in Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Storm Surge #1. Erika is written as somewhat battered and tired of dealing with being beaten, as Dixon gives her something to investigate in the mansion of Victor Helios. That exploration brings with it Karloff, who provides some measure of comic relief to the proceedings. Dixon's dialogue is equal parts amusing and dramatic as he works to balance Erika's serious quest with Karloff's less than serious approach. One of the problems with the issue though is that it's difficult to discern the stakes--Dixon doesn't make it entirely clear why Erika is so hellbent on finding Victor's secret lab.
Ponce illustrates much of the book with a subtle attention to the settings of the castle. For example, a study at the end of a long hallway is illustrated full of books that gives it a lot of weight as a room representative of a vast--almost haunted--mansion. He does focus a lot of attention on Erika's physique as well; at some points, the way her dress falls feels perfectly natural while at others it seems to cling tighter to show off her body. Her appearance does provide a striking contrast to the morbid persona of Karloff, with further underscores the almost Beauty and the Beast narrative. Mohan casts the majority of the book in a pale blue light that accents the eerie nature of the mansion.
Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Storm Surge #1 is a book that takes somewhat familiar characters in a different direction. It vilifies Victor Frankesntein in other ways aside from just being the man who attempted to play god and created a monster. Dixon gives Erika plenty of reason for wanting to learn more about Victor and find a way to get back at him, even if her motivations aren't completely revealed in the first issue. Ponce's illustrations are clean and concise, showcasing an inherent beauty in Erika throughout. Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Storm Surge #1 is pretty enjoyable and doesn't carry the same philosophical weight that its literary inspiration seems to carry.
Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Storm Surge #1 is in stores now.