Monday, October 26, 2009

Rayboy's Review: Angel vs. Frankenstein (IDW Publ.)

IDW Publishing has released a new seasonal one-shot to try and capture a few Halloween-minded fans of Joss Whedon's former television series, Angel (which had spun off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Angel vs. Frankenstein is written and illustrated by industry veteran John Byrne and it's a real doozy of a book. Set way back in the days when Angel was a treacherous, evil vampire known as Angelus, who arrives in Geneva, Switzerland in search of members of an infamous family. Soon, a towering figure begins to shadow the wanton vampires trail of blood, and eventually stands revealed as the legendary Frankenstein's monster.

It seems that the creature had originally approached Angelus in order to secure his assistance in avenging himself upon those named Frankenstein, only to have the wicked Angelus betray him for his own ends. Just as in the old black & white Universal films that regularly pitted vampires and werewolves against the monster, this issue effectively sets up the inevitable battle and then just throws in lush, atmospheric period artwork, nice bits of characterization and no-holds-barred chills at the issues denouement. This stand alone special would have passed for a decent Hammer Films plot back in the 1960's.

Byrne has busied himself on several IDW Star Trek mini-series and specials, plus an earlier Angel mini-series over the last few years and they've reaped the benefits of having his undiminished skills on tap. Unrepentant fandom critics still love to harangue Byrne's non-Marvel or non-DC titles, even going so far off-base as to suggest that the artwork featured within appears to be "unfinished", but the man can still write and draw with the best of them and such unfair criticism really amounts to anal bullshit. Give Angel vs. Frankenstein a chance, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how fun this take on the monster actually is.

1 comment:

cash_gorman said...

I agree. I don't know where the guy from got his opinion that parts of it looked incomplete.

If I have a complaint, is that I think it would have been better as a two-parter, to really get more into the various characters and crank up the horror and suspense some and build to the big finale.

I would love to see Byrne's Frankenstein monster on a regular basis. In just a few short pages, he did a great job summing up the book and character.