In Review: Mary Shelley Monster Hunter #1

Mary Shelley's tale is finally revealed to be more fact than fiction!

The covers: Hayden Sherman has created the Regular cover showcasing a Victorian street that’s had quite a bit of snow. A lone woman makes her way down the middle of the street, unaware that behind her the city’s architecture has created a silhouette of a horror in white — the infamous Frankenstein Monster! Great idea for a cover that’s carried off handsomely by the interior artist. I love this! Bernard Chang, Javier Avila, and Greg Kirkpatrick are responsible for the Variant cover which is equally wonderful. This features an image of the title character in the snow close up. The reader is looking slightly up at her as she grits her teeth and bares a dagger covered in blood. She’s in a graveyard as evidenced by the markers in the background. Because this is so zoomed in on the character, the title had to be placed on its side on the left. This is another way to make the cover stand out. I love the illustration and the colors are very strong. I love this, too! The final frontpiece may be a challenge to pick up as it’s only available at Rick’s Comic City. This Variant by Brandon Peterson & Anna Zhou focuses on Mary in the snow now holding her thin dagger up high. She turns to look behind her at some noise she’s heard. However, behind her is the monstrous image of a pale man’s head snarling. Oh, the man has electric red eyes. This is gorgeous in every possible way. Overall grade: All A+

The story: Adam Glass & Olivia Cuartero-Briggs’s tale begins with Mary’s narration as a scene from an infamous clip from a film of her famous creation is shown. The reader is then told that the clip is being shown to a group of tourists in Shelley’s final residence in London. As the guide takes her group though the building one poor man breaks a floorboard. After the tour, the guide investigates the broken board to discover a collection of papers written by Mary. She begins to read them and this forms the basis for this story. On November 15, 1815 in Geneva, a party is being thrown for Percy and Mary’s nuptials. The joyful occasion would be the couple’s last as an unfortunate event has them requiring new lodgings, with a hooded horseback rider stating his master requires their presence. His master is Doctor Frankenstein. “The master offers free room and board to you, Geneva’s most distinguished guests. That is, of course, should you desire to accept the invitation.” Percy’s response to this couldn’t be more perfect. Once inside…things begin to be noticed. The guests become bored and a famous challenge is issued and accepted. Mary explores and comes across something horrific and someone heroic and equally surprising. This issue sets up the premise and the build, so I’m expecting things to really get cranked up with the next issue. Having read Frankenstein several times and knowing a thing or two about its origin, I was impressed with the mixing of fact and fiction in this opening issue. I also enjoyed the sense of dread Mary has once in Frankenstein’s residence that builds marvelously, paying off with horrible and wonderful revelations. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: I’ve been a fan of Hayden Sherman’s artwork since last year’s Cold War from AfterShock and this is a very different style from that series, but just as wonderful. The first two pages are a retelling of a scene from James Whale’s classic film. It looks fantastic, with the second panel on page 2 brilliant. Pages 3 and 4 show the guide giving the tourists what they paid for and then revealing the papers. I love the look of the guide and the settings and the colors are exemplary in greens, with the guide’s glasses given a piercing orange. Violets emerge through the snow when Geneva is shown. Greens punctuate the engagement party with Mary’s orange hair causing her to stand out among the characters. The looks given by the two characters that end Page 5 are excellent. The anger of an individual on 8 is awesome, with his head turn stellar. The minion on horseback is wonderful, with his features just barely discernible in his dark garb. The point of view of the party at the bottom of 9 has them looking vulnerable as they look up at the rider. The large panel on 10 is glorious for the castle and the colors. The graveyard Mary wanders is great and what is found there is a horror. Mary is most vividly colored in the large panel on 14 when she ponders something life changing. The colors are very dark on 17, but they should be given Mary’s limited lighting; this forces the reader to navigate the setting as cautiously as the title character does. The large panel on 18 is ghastly, but not as shocking as whom she encounters; this character looks terrific and what he does on 19 is a fright. The final page is a full-paged splash and features the surprise reveal of a character who looks awesome. More, please! Overall grade: A

The letters: Sal Cipriano’s contributions are also good. He creates narration and dialogue (the same font), scene settings, sounds, and a character’s name proudly proclaimed. The narration and dialogue are only differed by the the shape and color of their balloons and boxes. This is fine, though I do prefer to see them differed, as they are two different forms of communication. Since Mary does narrate a large portion of this book, and I suspect a large majority of this series, I was expecting them to be in italics. There are two different fonts used for the scene settings with one for the present and one for the past. This is a clever way to show the change in time not only in the visuals, but through the lettering as well. Very smart. The sounds are in large fonts to frighten the reader as much as the characters. The name given on the last page will be like a shot to the reader when it’s read, for it is a big surprise! Overall grade: A-

The final line: Mary Shelley’s tale is finally revealed to be more fact than fiction! I love the premise, the way the tale is introduced, and how fact and fiction are woven into a horrific tale. The visuals capture the time period splendidly, as well as reveal the nightmares that existed. Horror continues to be done superbly at AfterShock. Recommended. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Mary-Shelley-Monster-Hunter-1/digital-comic/760129?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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