Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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As most comic fans know, recently DC comics has rebooted their comic universe. They started over with a new numbering system as well, beginning their titles with a new #1 on all their 52 titles hence their New 52 theme. They did this some time back over at Marvel as well, and then switched it back to the old numbering system perhaps due to Marvel fans' negative feedback or a drop in sales, but for whatever reason, DC has decided to give it a try as well. I haven't picked up all of the titles, and a few of the titles to be honest, I have no interest in. I'm not too big a superhero fan anymore. Somewhere along the way, I started branching out on the comics I picked up and ran across the alternative comic scene, stuff like Eightball by Daniel Clowes, Black Hole by Charles Burns, American Splendor by Harvey Pekar, and many other titles that I found more interesting than superhero comics. At any rate, I thought I was curious enough in what DC was doing, so picked up a few. By the way the above comic isn't a part of the New 52, however, I like the cover a lot and it has a pulpy look to it. I would have loved to have seen what someone could have done with a title and feel for something like that, but it's just a sketch an artist did, not a new title.

But before I get into the New 52. I picked up a few titles at the Comic Con that I went to several months back in Dallas. I picked up a Frankenstein comic, called Doc Frankenstein, thinking it was a Franken-Castle comic from Marvel, which I'd heard was interesting. Franken-Castle is sort of a smash up of the Frankenstein myth and the Punisher. What I picked up though (out of a dollar box) was Doc Franenstein written by the Wachowski brothers who wrote the Matrix movies, and art by Steve Skroce on the Burlyman imprint.

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It is actually a pretty interesting take on the Frankenstein mythos brought into the modern world. It has an interesting storyline and very nice art by Skroce. The comic opens with a small introduction by the Wachowski brothers talking about how they still enjoy comics and grew up reading Jack Kirby who drew and wrote about the impossible while also name-dropping the Hard Boiled comic by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow from a few years back. Stating that they enjoy comics that take us places we've never been to before, and show us action we've never seen. I can appreciate that, and that's a good beginning for their Doc Frankenstein title, which opens up with Frankenstein defeating a large alien-looking monster similar to something found out of a Godzilla movie not far from the White House lawn with the President and staff looking on the scene by way of a security camera. The scene shift rapidly and we get a brief background on what Frankenstein's life has been like over the years after his Arctic years of exile. He turns up next in the Wild West as a lawman ridding the world of bad men, only to run into more trouble with life along the way. He is still an alien to life stating, his father didn't give him tear ducts (to cry) at some of the failings of humanity and trying to fit into our world. How does a eight foot tall, blue-skinned being resurrected by a lightning bolt do that? He realizes that he never will fit in, but rather he'll have to caver out a place, and figures he'll have to defend himself from humanity for the rest of life.

Part of his oppressors is the church. I guess that's a natural enemy for the undead. As time has gone on from the Wild West to the present, Frankenstein has built up a fortress of solitude so to speak, and found a girl friend that accepts him. Peace is fleeting though, as the church launches a full scale attack on his compound and the outsiders that live there.

Book 2 opens with the assault and Frankenstein thinking how the "Men of God" have continually sought his destruction. We get to see a few of these episodes in flashback sequences: his building of a steam powered locomotive to offer his service to President Lincoln, only to be attacked, finding out in the aftermath from one of the survivors, that to be against slavery is to be against God. Three days later Lincoln gets shot. Many years later he's again attacked during prohibition, and again in 1972 when he's was to be interview by Hustler magazine for inventing a male contraceptive pill. After a bit of those flashbacks we are brought up to the present full scale attack on his compound again. The last panel ends with one of the church zealots confronting Frankenstein with a bomb telling him to either surrender or die in cinder and ash. And with that cliff hanger it ends.

Hey I'm in the dark here too, as I just picked up the first two books. But I was intrigued enough to try and find the other books to see where this crazy title is going. From what I can tell there are seven books out currently, although I don't keep up with this stuff like I used to when I was younger.

I guess I'll continue this with the New 52 next time.

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