Frankenstein Undone #1

by Nick Devonald on January 29, 2020

Story: Mike Mignola & Scott Allie
Art: Ben Stenbeck
Colors: Brennan Wagner
Letters: Clem Robins

Frankensteins history in the Mignolaverse is an interesting story. Originally introduced in Hellboy: House of the Living Dead, Mike Mignola decided his story wasn’t finished and continued it in Frankenstein Underground. And, as quite often happens in the Mignolaverse, the story ended up being more important to the bigger picture than it would initially have seen. It introduced a whole underground world which became important in B.P.R.D. The Devil You Know, with Frankenstein himself even featuring towards the end of the series. But none of that is important to this new story arc. In fact you don’t even need to have read it to follow this story, as it’s set before the events. This series is billed as filling in the gaps between Mary Shelley’s original work, and our first encounter with Frankenstein in the Mignolaverse.

Some familiarity with Shelley’s Frankenstein is recommended to get the most from this story, but isn’t necessary to follow what’s going on. If you’ve never read it though don’t fear, enough information is given that you’ll be able to follow the story. When we meet Frankensteins monster he is ready to die for his sins. However he finds joy and acceptance when he least expects to and finds something to live for. A place in the world.

But of course things are never that simple and take a turn for the worse. I won’t go into any more details so I don’t spoil it but this story, what could have been quite simple and just filling in the gaps between Shelley’s novel and Frankensteins first appearance in the pages of Hellboy, ends up being an interesting look at what makes a monster, and what makes a man. And there are hints this will end up playing a bigger role within Hellboys universe, or at the least filling in more gaps.

Ben Stenbeck is no stranger to the Mignolaverse, having worked on a number of different stories over the years. One of the real highlights of this comic is a section with no text, where Ben Stenbeck’s art alone tells the story, and he does a great job. With no words on the page it’s impressive that not only does he manage to tell the story, but how much emotion he manages to convey. This is an excellent demonstration of one of the strengths of this medium for storytelling, and a show of trust from Mignola and Allie to let Stenbeck alone tell the story. It is incredibly effective and reminds us why Ben Stenbeck keeps getting invited back to the Mignolaverse to tell more stories.

Brennan Wagners colors are a good fit for the Mignolaverse. With a large part of the issue set in the North Pole it would be easy for the colors to fade into the background, lots of whites, but they don’t. And it really helps the colors stand out when they do, whether it’s the Northern Lights, or blood, or yellow eyes, the colors really stand out.

This looks to be another unmissable chapter within the larger Mignolaverse. This gives us a closer look at Frankenstein, as well as being a surprisingly deep look at what makes a man and what makes a monster. Stenbeck’s art is great as ever and this first issue promises great things to come.

Our Score:


A Look Inside