Friday, 8 May 2015

Joe Frankenstein #2 - IDW Publishing

JOE FRANKENSTEIN No. 2, March 2015
Despite apparently having agreed for “IDW Publishing” to initially produce this comic as a four-issue mini-series way back in April 2013. At least according to the official “Joe Frankenstein” project blog. There is a decidedly rushed feeling to this title’s second instalment, which is most likely due to it containing some rather erratic and disappointingly dire artwork by Graham Nolan.

Indeed some of the illustrations, especially those pages depicting Frankenstein’s monster reuniting his young namesake with the teenager’s foster family, are so bad that it makes one wonder whether the task of being co-writer and artist, as well as Indiegogo fundraiser, possibly overwhelmed the former “Batman” penciller? Certainly the American’s character concept sketchings from 2009 and 2012 are of an infinitely higher standard than the discouraging drawings found within this book’s twenty-seven pages…

Sadly the disheartening quality of Nolan’s pictures are not the only problem with the Inkpot Award-winners’ creation, as the rather inconsistent storyline, co-written by Chuck Nixon, generates far more bewildering questions than answers. Victor’s creature has already made it clear that his primary purpose in ‘life’ is to protect his descendants from the undead and Joe is “too important to lose to them.” So why then does the monster allow the pizza-delivery boy to travel with him and leave the relative safety of his secret silo base, when it becomes clear that the vampires will attack the youth’s guardians? All this does is provide the authors the opportunity to place Frankenstein’s ‘ward’ in deadly danger and depict, an admittedly tense, action sequence where Joe has to single-handedly fight for his life.

In addition, considering the way Mary Shelley’s ‘Modern Prometheus’ easily dispatches not only several of the blood-drinkers but the sinisterly enigmatic Mister Saxton with his bare hands, why is he the one doing all the running? Surely the minions of his mate, the Bride, should be the ones fearful of him; especially when Frankenstein is armed with his pistol-shaped Ultraviolet flashlight?

Fortunately this issue does still contain the odd glimmer of interest, especially as the plot progresses and Joe’s flight from his vampiric assassins increases in grandeur. Igor is revealed to be “the ultimate super computer” Intelligence Gathering for Offensive Response, as opposed to the monster’s diminutive manservant. Whilst it also becomes clear that the ever-threatening Bride is not actually at the top of the food chain herself, as the mysteriously mummified Lord Golgatha, himself introduced at the very end of the book, makes mention of “The Master”…
The variant cover art of "JOE FRANKENSTEIN" No. 2 by Graham Nolan


  1. I was intrigued by this title when you reviewed issue #1, but after reading your latest review I'm now thinking otherwise. It is such a shame it has gone downhill so fast as the opener had so much promise.

    1. Thanks Bryan. I'm really hoping this was a time-pressure thing... though as I say they've been planning its release for ages. There's been a massive delay for #3 but that was due to a dock strike as opposed to the comic not being drawn. My fingers are crossed for #3 as Golgatha looks very intimidating and I'm hoping "The master" is Dracula himself :-)

  2. Shame it sounds interesting as well

    1. Cheers Simon. Certainly #1 is one of my fave comics of 2015. Hopefully it'll pick itself back up for the next issue. The cover art for #3 certainly looks encouraging.