One of the most iconic monsters in the past two-hundred years is Frankenstein’s Monster. Since the publication of “Frankenstein” in 1818, this one monster has shared the spotlight with the horror greats such as Dracula, The Mummy and The Wolfman. Of course, there have been and always will be stories based around The Monster in every form of media. One of the most recent examples is “Frankenstein Underground” by “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola with art by Ben Stenbeck. The first issue seems set out to be an instant classic.
The story is Frankenstein’s Monster arrives in Mexico after traveling the world for 100 years. Here he meets an old woman who takes him in because she says both of them are misunderstood by society. The rest of the comic is The Monster telling the old woman about all the bad stuff that’s happened to him ever since his creation.
It’s a curious matter to hear The Monster lament about his life. It has been done a few times before, but never to the extent Mignola does here. It’s no secret The Monster is hated wherever he goes, but in the “Hellboy” universe he seems to have suffered the worse. The events shown here do shed some light on what would happen to a monster that is both misunderstood and hated by all.
In fact, it’s pretty rare for anyone to make The Monster show any emotion besides animalistic fear and anger. Mignola succeeds in showing something that is rarely seen whenever The Monster is in any type of media: A human side. This human side allows the reader to better care and to feel sorry for The Monster. It’s a nice departure of the usual hulking, grunting “fire bad” character we as an audience have grown to (sadly) accept.
The art style completes this comic. Stenbeck has pulled out all of his talents to make this one of the best looking “Hellboy” comics to date. Everything from the character designs to the colors used is proof that both Mignola and Stenbeck have some big plans for this comic.
“Frankenstein Underground #1” sets the stage to what might possibly be not only one of the best “Hellboy” comics but one of the best “Frankenstein” stories to date. This is one “Frankenstein” story that even Mary Shelly might approve of.