Ah, what might have been. Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #2 gets at the heart of the conflict between monster hunter Maria Shrieve and our lovable Creatures of the Unknown, and it’s a fantastic idea: after the original Creatures were shut down and betrayed, Matthew Shrieve assembled a new team of monsters to find them, one that included Medusa and Solomon Grundy, among others. These creatures betrayed Matthew and murdered him, leaving his daughter to seek revenge.
In my last review, a commenter wished that we’d spent more time in WWII with the Creatures, and that’s doubly true here. The actual plot of the book is fairly bland, with Frankenstein and Co. searching for a secure lab run by the scientist responsible for many of their lives when Maria Shrieve arrives. They fight. That’s really all there is, but Lemire and his art team do a good job at hinting to a much bigger history for the characters, something that’s important in such a short miniseries. But those ideas make the book’s actual plot seem all the more pedestrian: why are we wasting time with Shrieve’s imagined vendetta when we have all this rich territory to explore in the past?
Artists Ibraim Roberson and Alex Massacci don’t fare well with the issue’s protracted fight scene, with the action often seeming static and clumsily staged. The flashbacks, however, that make up the bulk of the issue’s strongest content, are much stronger – Roberson in particular does a good job at making a largely featureless fish-girl look dejected, confused and scared.
The issue isn’t quite as strong as the previous one, though that may be the demands of the limited series: this is almost all action, with a fairly minimal amount of character work, drama or comedy. Lemire has good ideas, but not nearly enough room to explore them here.
– Cal Cleary