COMIC BOOK REVIEW: MADAME FRANKENSTEIN / AUTHOR: JAMIE S. RICH / ARTIST: MEGAN LEVENS / PUBLISHER: IMAGE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 10TH
Taking its inspiration from the well-known and often visited theme of man’s quest to control life (and death), Madame Frankenstein is a stylish new comic book series from Jamie S. Rich and Megan Levens.
Doctor Vincent Krall has embarked upon a quest to create a woman from the remains of a friend who was the unfortunate recipient of his unrequited idolisation. Partly through professional vanity and partly through misguided adoration, Krall initially cares little for the consequences of his actions until events begin to spiral way out of his control and he is forced to face reality.
There is no doubt that Madame Frankenstein is a complex book, with many layers of complicated motivation besetting its main characters, but there is perhaps a little too much information being forced upon the reader for the format. Absorbing several editions of the comic in one sitting provides the most enjoyable experience as Rich delves into the psychological forces that drive his creations. The downside is the development of such a detailed backstory feels slightly rushed, as if there is an urgency to extol as much information as quickly as possible. More patience and subtlety leading to greater intrigue may have generated a more tense and involved reading experience.
In having chosen a stark, black and white palette, Levens brings a cold, chilly feel to the page which reflects the dark central story. There is a classical elegance to many of the panels that surreptitiously holds the eye for longer than necessary, leaving a strong imprint on the memory. This however only emphasises the occasions when the page becomes a little too fussy, the artist working hard to incorporate the brisk plot.
There is no doubt that Madame Frankenstein is an impressive piece of work but how long it can sustain the main story remains to be seen. If Rich has enough ideas to push the narrative forward, and with Levens’ striking artwork giving it life, this could quickly become essential reading. If not then it may just turn into a missed opportunity.
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