In Review: Mary Shelley Monster Hunter #2

Doctor Victoria Frankenstein makes her case to Mary Shelley.

The cover: Surrounded by beakers, a brain has electrodes shoved into it by Doctor Victoria Frankenstein, who looks immensely pleased with her work. To the right is hooded assistant Imogen Gull. To the left is shocked Mary Shelly. These two women are flanked by shelves filled with all kinds of scientific paraphernalia. Interior artist and colorist Hayden Sherman created this cover to introduce the three most important characters of this series to the reader. This cover is in color, but the combination of off-violet and frosty whites give it a very Gothic black and white feel. Very cool. Overall grade: A

The story: Mary and Victoria are looking upon the dead-again body of Johann David Wyss. The arrival of Imogen Gull lessens Mary’s shock at seeing the corpse and the doctor reveals that she was responsible for Mary and her friends’ eviction to get them into her castle. Victoria states that she did so to share a secret with Mary. What follows is a flashback that shows how Victoria yearned to be a doctor like her famous father, but her gender closed all doors before she could open them. She has a clever way to earn an education, but it comes to a dramatic ending on Page 7. Victoria’s justification for her reanimation of Wyess’s body is given on 9 as well as her purpose in life. It’s a very timely goal and Mary considers assisting her. The last page is a good cliffhanger, placing Mary at the moment of infamous event. Co-writers Adam Glass & Olivia Cuartero-Briggs honor enough of the fictional and true history of its famous cast in this wonderfully creepy tale. This issue solidifies Mary’s relationship with her host and where their collaboration is heading. Some great Gothic moments in this book. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: The first image of this book is a close-up of the bloody upper half of Wyss: crimson covers the left half of his head and his chest is open to reveal his spine. There’s no mistaking from the get-go what artist Hayden Sherman has in store for the reader. I like that both Mary and Victoria are shocked at the dead author’s body. Imogen’s entrance has her looking almost as monstrous as the corpse, but when she pulls back her hood she’s as normal as anyone else. A preview of things to come may be foreshadowed in the top panel on Page 3, with Victoria looking kind and Imogen looking very intense. The operation sequence on 4 and 5 is great for the details in the settings, the great character work, and the colors that age this portion of the flashback. The moment of shock on 7 is the most striking image of the book for the emotion on the character’s face, the circumstances, and the surroundings around the individual. It’s perfect. The next three pages continue with beautiful art and colors that one would associate with any Victorian novel. It’s on Page 11 where things begin to head into the Grand Guignol. I love the point of view of all three panels: the first for the fantastic setting, the second for what’s shown, and the third for the trail left down the long hall. There’s an incredible panel that stretches across 12 and 13 that shows Victoria’s lab and it’s amazing. The shocking panel that ends 13 is excellent. When Mary returns to her husband and friends, notice how Sherman injects some warmer colors into the proceedings and more color onto Mary. It works very well, making the reader think all has returned to normal. The last three panels on 19 have the colors again go dark, with green used considerably, and the turn of the page ends the issue with a full-paged splash with an iconic green colored character. WOW! That’s how you end a book and get the reader anxious for the next installment. Sherman is an exceptional artist. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue and narration (the same font), scene settings, a yell, and a sound are by masterful Sal Cipriano. I do wish the dialogue and narration had been differed by more than the box and balloon that contains them, but they are distinguishable from one another nonetheless. The scene settings are like nothing I’ve seen in comics before: it’s a formal type that one would see on a passport or visa — it’s the perfect way to have the reader visually clued in to a change in location. There’s one scream, looking appropriately horrific and a sound that’s dramatic. After viewing the final page, I have a feeling that the next issue will have much more screaming and sounds. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Doctor Victoria Frankenstein makes her case to Mary Shelley about the future of womankind. Will Shelley join her? The story is deliciously Gothic, the characters are fun, and the art is gorgeously grand and gory. This is horror to savor. Recommended. Overall grade: A

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To see the cover visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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