Review: ‘Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein’ #2

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Thoroughly engaging and easily accessible, “Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein” #2 is a rarely mastered genre hybrid of crime-horror and seamless comedy. Moreover, Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten deserve the objective mind’s everlasting gratitude for providing readers with the charmingly ludicrous image of Frankenstein’s overgrown monster, donning a pair of hipster glasses. I mean, what else is there to say?

WRITTEN BY: Steve Niles
ART BY: Christopher Mitten
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: October 30, 2013

With only two more issues left in the miniseries, Niles and Mitten keep the story zooming right along, creating a sense of purpose and connectedness to a greater overall narrative that seems to lead back to the brutal childbirth scene that opened the series. In this installment, the Frankenstein monster’s vision continues to worsen; Cal maintains his love affair with pills, alcohol and projectile vomit; and Mo’Lock sets in motion the next stage of the book with his suggestion to enlist the help of alleged supernatural expert — and distinguished surgeon — Jason Hemlock. This ostentatious occultist is able to save the Frankenstein monster from going blind, and potentially solve the mystery behind the dying ghoul dilemma. But of course, there’s a catch.

The character dynamics, and the welcomed familiarity of the “Criminal Macabre” universe, really make up the essence of the story. Behind the serious aspects of their relationships, there’s a lightness to the overall tone that shines through Niles’ humor, and Mitten’s pencils. As expected, Cal and Mo’Lock are as fully developed and engaging, as they are aggressively compatible. But it’s Frankenstein’s monster who really steals the show this time around. His sullenly polite and intellectual interactions with Cal, as well as his incredibly delightful dynamic with a few enamoured children are arguably some of the best moments the issue has to offer. There’s a specific scene in which Mitten illustrates the most wonderfully cheesy grin to ever grace the face of the beast, and it’s almost impossible to imagine readers not adorning the same expression in that instance.

That said, there’s some naturally dark and mysterious imagery to be enjoyed, as always. Specifically in Hemlock’s dungeon-esque office, and the final splash page at the L.A. Eye Bank where Cal and Mo’Lock go scavenging for new eyeballs for the monster. Unfortunately, what they find is another horrific obstacle standing in their way, and a perfect lead-in to next month’s issue.

Niles writes these characters, and presents the naturally paced narrative in a way that’s not overbearingly expository, but thoroughly engaging; and Mitten’s art continues to produce a perfectly gritty atmosphere to his entertaining script. They feed of each other’s talents really well, and deliver another commendable installment to the “Criminal Macabre” repertoire.

4/5 SKULLS

Reviewed by – ShadowJayd