Review – Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter #1 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer(s): Adam Glass, Olivia Cuartero-Briggs
Art: Hayden Sherman
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 17th April 2019

Drawing on the established history and mythology of the writing of The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter is a take on the found footage films that have been so prevalent in the horror genre since the success of Blair Witch. Instead of discovering some lost camcorder however, a modern Shelley aficionado fortuitously finds a lost memoir detailing the truth of that winter in Geneva.

Glass and Cuartero-Briggs take a now fairly well established trope of re-imagining historical characters and spin an enjoyable tale of early 19th century horror. For me the opening was an unnecessary few pages that seemed to draw out the premise of finding Mary’s secret writings about the truth of Dr Frankenstein. One could have dropped straight in with no more than a line of text from Shelley stating this was the account of what really happened. It does serve as a fitting visual contrast between our modern world and that of European money back in the day, but it didn’t really draw me in.

A key appeal of this new AfterShock series is Sherman’s art. There’s a real melancholic nature to his choice of colours, and it drips with old world character, perfectly cementing the foundations for the tale being recounted. Cipriano’s letters and the choice of stark white also really stands out on the page. In my opinion they missed a trick in not altering the background colour slightly from the speech and narrative instead relying on the traditional shaping. As it is though, it does the job and provides an easy read.

I get the impression that the team have an active interest in the subject matter and, as my literary history is pretty poor, I’m going to accept that a lot of the historic detail in here is probably accurate. Outwith the challenge to write the most shocking of horror stories, the origins of Frankenstein’s monster are a bit fuzzy so on that front I enjoyed the period drama aspect.

The build up to the gory and perhaps slightly predictable climax was similarly a fine enough read, but I can’t help but think that a lot of challenging aspects of the relationships portrayed was skipped over. Expecting something akin to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Van Helsing, instead this feels more like Coppola’s Dracula. There’s a wealth of style but I didn’t feel that this brought anything particularly new to the table story wise, and came off as playing a little safe.

This issue has all the hallmarks of a good horror story and the potential to be a great one. Fingers crossed that the challenge to “Read Dangerously” pays off as this story unfolds.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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