Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review - Van Helsing vs. Frankenstein #1 (@Zenescope)

"Of all the ways I pictured my evening turning out, this...actually, this is spot on."

There are plenty of "dirty jobs" that people don't really want to do, but somewhere near the top of the list is likely to be the job of monster hunter. The work is fraught with peril and doesn't really offer much in the way of recognition. There are some like Van Helsing in Van Helsing vs. Frankenstein #1 from Zenescope who loves what she does and does it well, regardless of the pros and cons. The issue is written by Pat Shand, illustrated by Leonardo Colapietro, colored by Slamet Mugiono and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Liesel Van Helsing has dedicated her live to keeping the streets of New York City safe from the otherworldly threats that lurk in the night. However, when she teams up with a hunter who is every bit as cunning as she is, the very nature of the hunt is thrown into question. With the tables turned and Helsing now on the run from an unstoppable foe, she must unite with the creatures of darkness if she wishes to survive.

Writing the issue with a romantic sensibility, Shand attempts to infuse Van Helsing vs. Frankenstein #1 with some Penny Dreadful flair. Shand's dialogue in the issue is steeped in monster hunter airs, as all the characters realize that they're among the best at what they do. And what they do is hunt down and fight monsters, the search for one carrying the weight of the issue's (and presumably series') plot. Shand uses a pretty harmless opening skirmish to introduce the reader to the world that Van Helsing and her cohorts inhabit on a nightly basis and then uses that to build up that mythos surrounding their latest target. The issue is paced in a way that it feels like another day in their life, but Shand does manage to throw a slight curveball into the equation at the end that proves monster-hunting can be dangerous for even the experts.

The artwork by Colapietro is largely consistent in its presentation. Van Helsing maintains her Zenescope appearance and the action sequences are well-rendered and allow the reader to follow along quite clearly. Colapietro offers some emotion through facial expressions, some of which come across as a little askew. The monsters themselves are drawn quite ferociously and provide plenty of horrible opponents for the monster hunters to contend with as Colapietro fills quite a few pages with massive beasts. The colors by Mugiono are largely dark and add a pervasive sense of dread to the entire issue.

Van Helsing vs. Frankenstein #1 presents new challenges for Van Helsing to contend with, some of which are external and some of which are internal. Van Helsing is more than up to the task, but some things might even be too difficult for her. Shand's script is straightforward and moves pretty smoothly. The artwork by Colapietro largely keeps up with the action with panels switching from quiet contemplation to action sequences. Van Helsing vs. Frankenstein #1 will appeal to fans of Zenescope's take on the character while also offering something for new readers to check out.

Van Helsing vs. Frankenstein #1 is in stores July 27.


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