Thursday, October 10, 2013

Frankenstein Mobster!

Frankenstein Mobster was a book that always attracted my attention. But truth told, I didn't feel confident dropping twenty dollars plus tax on the chance it  might be as good as it appeared. Then I found a copy for five bucks. That seemed far too good to be true and as it turned it out it was in some ways.

I've been holding it back to give it a hearty read during the Halloween season and now that's finally upon us, I settled in my comfortable chair and began this Mark Wheatley epic. I'm rather a fan of Wheatley so I was pretty confident I'd like what I found. I did.

The story begins in Monstros City ("Monstro-sity" - heh heh!) which is an Eastern United States metro area with an immigrant problem, specifically monsters. All manner of monsters have settled into this old town and founded a subculture in the ramshackle poorer districts. The metaphor is pretty vivid, as the monsters (werewolves, giants, vampires, witches, mummies, etc.) seek to build a life in a city which persecutes them and worse. The other major force in the city are the Mobs, which it turns out pretty much run things. The police are both corrupt and if honest too weak to do much.

That was the case with Terry Todd, a noble cop who stood up for the monsters and tried, but who was gunned down. The story begins when his daughter Terri Todd begins her first day as a detective on the force. She encounters a kidnapping plot and works to solve never realizing that at the same time her father has been resurrected by the science and sorcery of Dr.Solvo, who works for the mob but has her own ambitions. She cobbles together a body and invests it with four souls, three mobsters and deceased Todd. That creates quite a bit of friction within his quickened mind until he finds the talismans which are the source of underworld profits. The mob hopes to use this "Frankenstein Mobster" as an enforcer in the Dead End, the monster neighborhood. Add into this mix, Todd's former partner a werecat named Janus and the brew is blended well for a hopping good adventure.

I recommend this one highly. It's a fast read, a lively one and holds up throughout. I'm glad I read it in the trade format though, as waiting for the next installment would've undermined the effectiveness of this very neatly paced yarn.  This concept has a long history which Wheatley describes fully in a nice essay in the rear of the  trade by the way.

That's the good, now for the not-so-good. As I was reading, I found out why the book was so cheap. The glue used to bind the book was deficient alas and as I read the book literally came apart in my hands. Ironic for sure since death and decay were significant themes in this story. Now I'll likely have to get a good copy since the story will certainly support a second read in the future.

Here are some covers which were used during the comics initial run from IDW. All the covers are by Wheatley unless otherwise indicated.

Jerry Ordway
Angelo Torres

Mark Oeming
Alex Nino
Berni Wrightson
 Rip Off

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