With Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter #2 essentially being a horror book, fans of the genre should grab a copy and give it a go. Frankenstein enthusiasts should also pick it up, just for a different take on events. Gruesome fun.
I could be wrong, but was it Alan Moore that popped up with the idea of using real life and out of copyright characters in a comic book? The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen certainly got the creative juices flowing for a myriad of creators, as the idea has been procured many times since. AfterShock Comics has its own take, too, with Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter #2 by writers Adam Glass and Olivia Cuartero-Briggs.
The tale of Gothic horror seems to be intent on explaining the origin of Shelley’s novel and shows that the inspiration came from horrific events from her own life.
A memoir belonging to Shelley takes us back to a time of hidden identities, bizarre experiments, murderous intentions, and violent ideologies, all leading Mary to the tropes we recognize as classic Frankenstein imagery.
Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter #2 sees us flash-backing to Geneva, and Doctor Victor (Von Doom) Frankenstein hard at work in 1792. Victor is a surgical genius and his young daughter, Victoria, aids his operations, yearning to follow in his footsteps,
She enrolls in a male-only medical school, disguised as a young man in an attempt to learn her father’s techniques and emulate his surgical expertise. It’s not long, though, before she is discovered and expelled, the shame leading to the death of her father, but her desire to continue her work grows stronger and darker paths await.
Things get grisly as Victoria sets about her master plan to create “the perfect male specimen, a willing slave to the task of both protecting, and aiding me in my every pursuit.” Ahem…
Mary finds herself dragged into the horror of the situation by way of Victoria’s machinations, yet finds herself assuring her entourage that all is well, and secretly seeming to enjoy the horrific events that are transpiring.
The art in Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter #2 from Hayden Sherman is nicely suited to this type of book, and there are moments that remind me of Ted McKeever, with scratchy lines and heavy blacks that add atmosphere for a tale steeped in darkness itself. His panel layouts are pretty standard, but he manages to convey the more mundane scenes with a film-like eye, showing us the action from different angles instead of the boring flat ones that other artists often use. He excels in the more gruesome aspects of the script; his discarded cadavers lie strewn around highly detailed laboratories in scenes from Hammer horror films we imagine we have seen.
The color palette is muted in reds and blues, and since there is no credit I assume the artist handled this chore himself. I could be wrong though, someone can let me know.
The story of Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter #2 flows quite nicely, and though slightly wordy in the first half (I prefer showing rather than telling) it hits a stride halfway through. The dialogue seems fitting for the time; it can be jarring when characters from the 19th century stumble into and out of period linguistics, but the team on board maintain the period setting helping to sustain the atmosphere. The central premise though, creating an “army of men perfected, devoted to the advancement of any woman who wishes to be more than a domestic hand,” may seem a little clumsy and agenda-driven, but motivation is motivation, even if it feels a little bit Stepford Wives.
Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter #2 is essentially a horror book, and fans of the genre should grab a copy and give it a go. Frankenstein enthusiasts should also pick it up, just for a different take on events. Gruesome fun.