Saturday, 7 March 2015

Joe Frankenstein #1 - IDW Publishing

JOE FRANKENSTEIN No. 1, February 2015
In many ways it must have been quite hard for co-creators Graham Nolan and Chuck Dixon to envisage a fresh new take on Mary Shelley’s fictional behemoth. “Marvel Comics” have been publishing the creature’s horror-filled escapades since September 1953, when the ‘Adam of Victor’s labours’ first appeared in Issue Seven of “Menace”. Whilst “DC Comics” initially employed Frankenstein’s Monster during 1948 in a “Batman Detective Comics” story and have since had the ‘ogre’ battle both Superman and The Phantom Stranger on several occasions. Fortunately the co-writers of “Joe Frankenstein” have not only done so, but one Indiegogo fundraising campaign later, and they have had their rather uniquely fun concept for the towering ‘devil’ see print as a four-issue mini-series by ”IDW Publishing”… and a highly amusing and entertaining serialized story it promises to be as well.

To begin with the mad scientist’s monster is not actually the central character of the book. That role falls to pizza delivery boy Joe Pratt, who soon learns that his dead parents’ lineage harks back to a certain Victor Von Frankenstein. Instead the baron’s creature is actually an immortal bodyguard of said bloodline, a man of immense wealth, property, limousines and a body-warmer. Indeed, secretly housed within a derelict grain elevator close to Lake Erie, and a dab-hand with a garlic-pizza when blood-thirsty vampires come calling, the ‘Modern Prometheus’ “…is awesome!”.

“The big dead guy” is also all that stands between his young name-sake and the obviously evil machinations of The Mistress and her hitman Saxton. Though precisely what the sinister duo have in store for either the seventeen year-old or his large new ‘friend’ is pure conjecture at this stage within the storyline. But bearing in mind the grim-faced assassin casually dispatches a number of parasites with wooden bullets without a moment’s hesitation, it certainly is not going to be pleasant.

Perhaps this book’s greatest strength however is in the actual artwork of Graham Nolan, as his illustrations not only competently portray events as they happen, but the Inkpot Award-winning creator also manages to incorporate a plethora of visual gags into his well-drawn panels at the same time. As a result it is well worth paying slightly more attention to his pencils, richly coloured by Gregory Wright, than perhaps a reader might ordinarily do. Otherwise clever touches such as the vampires all holding their noses as the aroma of baked garlic bread innocently wafts past them, Frankenstein’s Monster wearing blue-tinted shades whilst holding a simmering cigar, or Joe's action figure of “DC Comics” super-villain Bane (created by Nolan and Dixon), will all shamefully be missed.
The variant cover art of "JOE FRANKENSTEIN" No. 1 by Graham Nolan


  1. You have certainly piqued my interest with this highly favourable review, Simon.

    1. Thanks Bryan. It certainly caught me by surprise when I saw a preview. But the fact I read it as soon as it arrived and promptly posted a review up (jumping the queue as I've a week's worth of reviews already written) should show just how much fun I thought this book was.