08 December 2009

Angel vs Frankenstein

Spoilers Ahead

Let me start off by saying I'm not a fan of the concept of this issue. Do fictional characters really need to meet up with every other character from the same genre? Okay, I liked Dracula in the Buffyverse, but that made sense and fit with the overall mythology. I could even see another Frankenstein-like monster (à la Daryl Epps in Some Assembly Required) but the Frankenstein? This isn't Scooby Doo, people. But apparently someone felt the need to pit one prominent brow against the other, leaving the rest of us to ponder the mashup that is Angel[us] vs. Frankenstein.

That being said, the story is actually pretty good. Well-written (aside from a definite overuse of exclamation marks) and compelling, it left me wishing it wasn't just a one-shot. Angelus has a penchant for screwing over everyone he encounters, a "courtesy" he extends to Frankenstein's unnamed monster. Vowing vengeance against the vampire, the monster's best-laid plans go awry when Angelus proves to be more of a challenge than expected. The conclusion is satisfyingly punctuated with a question mark.

The artwork is also really well done, particularly the monster. Deviating from the classic green-skinned, bolted neck look, the monster is much more zombie-like in appearance--which is pretty much how you'd expect a reanimated corpse to look. It works. And unlike the average zombie, he also elicits a lot of empathy; I could easily read a comic devoted solely to this character. As someone not that into Frankenstein in any form, that's saying something.

Back to the artwork, the colouring is good, managing a lot of depth and mood with a limited palette. It's perfect for a Victorian monster tale. I also like the paper the comic is printed on: heavy and matte, it makes the comic feel more substantial. IDW has used this paper for a few other issues of Angel; they can feel free to use it more often.

Okay, so did Angel really need to share space with Frankenstein? Probably not, but I'm kind of glad he did. After so many recent disappointments with other comics/books/movies/TV shows, this one turned out to be an exceptionally pleasant surprise. Well done.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale human until the vampire chooses to show their "true" face: bumpy, animalistic features; yellow eyes; prominent fangs. Staked vampires turn to dust.

Strengths: Super strength, super speed, no need to breathe, enhanced sense of smell, awesome martial arts skills.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, stakes.

Mythology: Need to be invited into a private home (but not public spaces like inns).

Text Bites

The Monster: (after Angelus pulls them both into the river) You fool! The current is carrying us toward the villagers!
Angelus: That frets me not at all! I don't have to breathe!

Angel vs Frankenstein
one-shot. Art and story by John Byrne. From IDW.

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