In Review: The Island of Dr. Moreau #2

This is must-own for any fan of classic horror or classic literature.

The cover: Moreau’s latest creation, a female panther woman hisses at the reader on the Regular cover. Her form is disguised by the bandages that wrap around her, though there is enough of new persona showing to create frights. The blood around her mouth from wounds created by the doctor are particularly unsettling. The doctor is present in the bottom left within a circle, showing him holding a whip. Ellie Prendrick looks terrified in the bottom right, holding up a bloody knife with the jungle behind her. Great compilation of images from this issue from co-writer and interior artist Gabriel Rodríguez. There’s also a Retailer Incentive cover that’s a pencils version of the Regular. Also very nice. Overall grade: Regular A+ and Retailer Incentive A

The story: Picking up from last issue, Moreau has arrived at the animal-men’s compound. The creatures grab Ellie to take her to the doctor, but she bats them aside with a branch and runs. Moreau orders her caught. Several of the monsters bolt after her. The chase is short as Ellie tumbles into a ditch. As the doctors and the monsters approach, she puts a scalpel to her throat, threatening to kill herself. “…They were men who you have infected with some bestial taint. I will not be like them.” Surprisingly, Moreau and Montgomery put down their pistols to prove they’re sincere in not wanting to harm her. That night, back in his quarters, Moreau reveals what he’s been doing with the animals on the island and why. This changes Ellie’s perspective and all seems well, until the next day when they discover something on Page 10. A culprit is suspected of the wrongdoing and is singled out, but something on 14 changes Ellie’s opinion once again. Six weeks later the situation on the island worsens dramatically. I was shocked by the action on 18 and the panel that immediately follows on 19 — this is very different from H.G. Wells’s original tale. This leads to the revolution that readers are inspecting, though it, again, takes a surprising turn. I respect co-writers Ted Adams & Gabriel Rodríguez from deviating from the original tale, keeping those familiar with this iconic tale on their toes. The final page will find readers loving the conclusion or disappointed because it’s so different. I’m somewhat in the middle. From Page 18 on, the book deviated from the novel and I wasn’t pleased with those immediate changes, though the final page was fitting. It’s undeniably an interesting climax and conclusion. I would love to see what Wells’s fans think of this. It’s an enjoyable ending, but without the hard impact of the original. Overall grade: B

The art: Gabriel Rodríguez’s artwork is spectacular. He perfectly captures the beauty of this location and the painful blasphemes committed on these creatures. The book begins with a large panel that shows the creatures revealing Moreau’s arrival with the doctor primarily in silhouette. The animal-men look fierce and terrified at his arrival. The scars on the animals from their many surgeries are horrific. There are no beautiful creatures on this island — all have the marks of Moreau to remind the reader of the horrors they’ve endured. The panels at the bottom of Pages 2 and 3 is a great way to show Ellie being chased. Montgomery’s reaction to what Ellie’s going to do to herself on 4 is great. The panels on 6 and 7 that show the doctor’s work are graphic and horrific, even when not showing what’s done to the animals. The final panel on the latter page is a nightmare brought to life and accompanied by his narration make it the most ghastly image in the book. I was really surprised by the second panel on 9 which is something practically Lovecraftian. The large panel that goes from 12 and 13 is an image familiar to anyone who’s read this tale before and it looks fantastic. The leap that ends 13 is savage and sad — exactly as it should be. I was as shocked as the other creatures by the action on the next two pages that follow. I love the reaction from the final character shown on 13 to the terrible action. The design of the animal creature on 15 and 16 is stunning. I wanted to see much more of this creature. The large panel on 16 and 17 deserves so much praise for being terrible, tragic, and sad. The glorious revolt on 20 and 21 is not as large as the classic tale, but works wonderfully. I love the first two panels on 22, showing the contrast between the two characters in close-ups. The last page is hopeful, yet still disturbing. Rodríguez knocks it out of the park with the look of this book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Completing the art are the colors by Nelson Dániel. I knew that this concluding issue was going to have some major scenes set in the dark and I was hoping that Dániel would keep things bright enough to see what was going on. He did a fantastic job. Look at his exceptional use with browns and tans to create the dark night among the animal-men. I also like how violet is used for the skies, rather than black which would overwhelm the illustrations. Ellie catches the reader’s eyes whenever she appears due to her red hair. The reds are completely horrific on 6 – 8, making the illustrations even more terrible. Notice how peaceful and calming the greens of the jungle are, making the reveal at the end of 10 a shocker. And take a look at how the dominate color in this panel is also on someone’s clothes at the end of 11, showing that there is no true difference between the characters. The pale blue skies during the day are beautiful. Crimson dominates on 20 and 21, as it should. Violets return for the night. Simply put, this is a sensational job. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Robbie Robbins is the creator of this tale’s dialogue, sounds, and narration. I have no issues with any of the text and am pleased that Moreau’s narration for his background is in a different font from the narration. These two different forms of communication should be differed and it doesn’t happen enough in other comics. The sounds are awesome. They are done for yells, cries, and gunshots, which explode on the page every time they appear. Overall grade: A

The final line: Several changes from the classic tale make this worth hunting down. The changes are interesting and thought provoking. The visuals are to die for. Rodríguez and Dániel have created nightmares and horrors that breathe life into this story. This is must-own for any fan of classic horror or classic literature. Overall grade: A- 

To order a print or digital copy go to https://www.idwpublishing.com/product/h-g-wells-the-island-of-dr-moreau-2/

To see the cover 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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