The Modern Frankenstein #1 out this week from Magna Comix is a reimagining of the classic story of Frankenstein. In a more familiar time, Dr. Frankenstein is a man pushing the boundaries of medicine, and his student Elizabeth finds him to be fascinating. This engrossing tale arrives thanks to Paul Cornell (writer), Emma Vieceli (pencils and inks), Pippa Bowland (color), and Simon Bowland (letterer).
Elizabeth Cleve is a brilliant young medical student, attracted to the waspish, charismatic surgeon James Frankenstein. He wants to further medical science… by all means necessary. So how far is Elizabeth prepared to go?
The story of Frankenstein is a tale of a scientist who wishes to create life. In The Modern Frankenstein, the doctor is conducting experiments outside what many could call ethical. From a throwaway line, it is established the name Frankenstein is not common as if the classic novel doesn’t exist. Writer Paul Cornell makes it clear through world-building and events although this Frankenstein wishes to push the boundaries of science further, he is not with a soul. Many of the decisions he makes seem to weigh on him.
The character interactions help to make the issue so engrossing. The aspect of the romance introduced between Elizabeth and Dr. Frankenstein is palpable and not forced. You can feel Elizabeth falling in love with the good doctor. Respecting his dedication, his intelligence, and his compassion. Basically, you are shipping them by the end of the first issue.
The pencils and inks by Emma Vieceli offer great emotional depth to the characters. Elizabeth with her fascination with Dr. Frankenstein is shown to be observing him and his work with excessive curiosity. From the way she is drawn it is easy to tell Elizabeth has a distinct interest in her teacher without the story having to spell it out.
A fascinating aspect of the colorwork by Pippa Bowland comes off in a little detail. The most noticeable thing from page to page is the interesting color choice for Elizabeth’s eyes. A bright orange color is used, which seems to help establish Elizabeth as a character who is passionate and eager to learn all she can.
The lettering by Simon Bowland adds a narrative flow to the issue. By following the word bubbles, it helps to give the reader a visual path from panel to panel. There also is a distinct amount of bolding through the issue. This seems to show Bowland helping to convey when the writer wants words to have an impact.
The Modern Frankenstein #1 is the start of something intriguing. A classic retelling with one of the main aspects being to focus on what it takes to love someone like Frankenstein, a doctor who is researching into areas of science most men would dare not trend. It will be no surprise when this series has many falling in love with it.