Heavy Metal Comics/Magma Comix 2021
Written by Paul Cornell
Illustrated by Emma Vieceli
Coloured by Pippa Bowland
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Elizabeth Kleve is a brilliant young medical student, attracted to the waspish, charismatic surgeon James Frankenstein. He wants to further medical science... by all means necessary. So how far is Elizabeth prepared to go? A twisted horror/romance that walks a fine line between attraction and fear.
Sometimes it can be hard to update a classic story like Frankenstein in a way that we haven’t seen before. By creating this in a modern setting is brilliantly done because not only is the technology that we have so cutting edge but let’s face it with enough money you can have a section of a hospital all to yourself and do the kind of research you want unencumbered. Misdirection and flat out lying plus by throwing a few bones that seem more mainstream legitimate makes it easier for the board to overlook a few things. It is the modern world where you grease the machinery and basically you retain anonymity. Add romance into the mix and do it the way Paul has creates this stronger sense of drama than you’d expect.
I love the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information that creates a depth and complexity to the story that makes it feel utterly delicious. The character development borders on predictable but at the same time it’s so perfect in how we see and know who these folks are. Through the dialogue, the interaction and how they act and react to the situations and circumstances reinforce how we see these characters. The pacing is superb and how we see the twists and turns along the way really sets the stage for what we’re going to see.
I am a fan of the way that we see this being structured. How the layers within the story and how they connect with each and with the larger arc as well as the characters created interconnectedness that really is tough to do but Paul makes it feel effortless. The way we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how this moves the story forward is beautifully done.
The interiors here are an unexpected treat. Right away we see through the opening how strong the linework is and how with the varying weights and techniques that create this detail work is astounding. The opening also has several integral parts in what we see though I wish the junk hadn’t been blacked out, in this day and age a penis shouldn’t be a big deal, unless we’re in the bedroom then it should be a big deal. The work we see is so good, its so strong and the faces, facial expressions and body language is gorgeous as it furthers our opinion of these characters. The composition within the panels including how backgrounds are utilised bring out some great depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope of the story is laid out perfectly. The colour work is actually dynamic as it all has this muted aspect to what we see. So the colours and the various hues and tones within them being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work are so subtle that they become a huge focal point throughout.
That whole crush on teacher while still being one of the top students at school and dealing with some jealousy among her fellow students may seem a bit ordinary but trust me its not. What this does is border on obsession so when she finds herself with an opportunity to work closely with this mysterious and enigmatic man she jumps at the chance. Circumstances and the whole way that Frankenstein manipulates everything makes me excited to see just how much more he’s capable of doing. This is going to blow you away and Paul does what Paul does best and create something so much extraordinary than you expect it to be.