Review by – Bree Ogden
“Monster and Madman” finished its 3-issue arc this week with a terribly depressing ending, but the only ending that seems fit for the Monster. This unique story that details the life of Frankenstein’s Monster after Victor dies, gives us exactly what we subconsciously want and need from the mythology—for the Monster to be alone. Anything else would feel insincere.
WRITTEN BY: Steve Niles
ART BY: Damien Worm
RELEASE: May 21, 2014
As the Monster patiently awaits his new bride, Niles and Worm show us snippets of the all-around repulsive situation he is in. The panels move swiftly through a montage of horror in which we see newspaper clippings about the Whitechapel murders, images of prostitutes being hacked up, and the Monster sitting alone as he must endure long, tedious procedures conducted by Jack.
Things settle into place when Jack swings open the door claiming that he now understands Frankenstein’s creation only to blow up into a frenzy again when he sets about to make a bride out of all the hacked-up prostitutes.
Although the Monster has been wary of Jack’s general character from the start he actively chooses not to pursue that negative train of thought. And even though all signs point to Jack as being the Ripper, it’s not until a slab of female body parts is sewn together, electrocuted into the Bride, and starts screaming about Jack being her murderer, that the Monster finally accepts that truth.
This issue moves considerably faster than the previous two. Issues #1 and #2 were a grand, slow burn buildup to the final pages in this issue that carry the full weight of horror when the Bride is awakened. And it’s then that the Monster and Jack’s lives are truly intertwined: the Whitechapel murders and The Bride become one, creating a mess that the Monster must clean up.
It’s a mess that probably could have been avoided had the Monster followed his initial feelings about Jack. This is a new path for Niles. He’s always written a highly sympathetic Monster. But the Monster that he and Worm create is the first one that’s truly fallible. They address the things we can’t deny: he’s a killer, his devotion can be somewhat skewed, and he will do just about anything to get his Bride. Now that he’s paired up with reality, we can clearly see this.
Theoretically, this comic is outstanding. The concept of mixing fiction’s greatest horror icon with reality’s greatest horror mystery is absolutely superb. It wasn’t until this final issue, however, that I saw how the execution of this plot was just as outstanding as the theoretical concept. It’s not just about mixing fiction and reality. It’s about using fiction to explain reality.