Published on November 5th, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
Madame Frankenstein #7 – Review
“But soon,’ he cried, with sad and solemn enthusiasm, I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly,” (Mary Shelley: Frankenstein 1818 text as published by Oxford University Press.)
Shelley’s original monster came to accept his origin, his misdeeds and the inevitability of his death and as a result became something better than the monster that awoke originally. No such epiphany for Gail however in the final instalment of Jamie S. Rich and Megan Leven’s rollercoaster of a title.
After the events of the last issue, Gail wanders the streets alone and despondent. Well, I say alone but she is in fact been led to the wrong part of town by a minx of a fairy. That is until she is stopped by a friendly police officer who advises her not to hang around. She decides to head home for a confrontation with Vincent.
Vincent meanwhile is sat at the bedside of the badly burnt and disfigured Linda. The Doctor is also plagued by pesky fairies and his angry outburst wakes Linda who attempts to console him, unaware of the true incidents that led to her hospitalisation. Finally Vincent decides to return home for a confrontation with Gail.
During this final confrontation some secrets are finally revealed and realisations reached, all of which leads to a violent and surprising end.
There are some touching moments in the first half of this issue. The meeting between Gail and the Police Officer is a subtly sweet scene where Gail is shown a moment of kindness by a stranger but it also reminds the reader just how much suffering she has gone through as reflected in her demeanour. An opposite revelation is played out between Vincent and Linda in the hospital as the Doctor expresses his guilt but is instantly forgiven by someone who has suffered due to his selfish action.
Unfortunately it is the outcome of these moments and the resulting character changes that create a difficult contradiction in the story. So far the comic has been building up the relationship between the victim, Gail, and the oppressive bully, Vincent, and month on month Gail’s will has become stronger while Vincent’s has become weaker. By the time their final confrontation comes the reader is firmly behind Gail but this support is made difficult by the fact that Gail has returned to her old self, a selfish, spoilt, bully where as Vincent appears to regret all that he has done. When it comes to the final body violation against Gail there is less sympathy for her than there should be. It’s as if the previous issues character development meant nothing. The final kicker to this comic would be more affective if the readers sympathies had remained with Gail instead of having her character sullied by returning to her old personality.
If you removed the text from this issue it would probably tell a different story. The art work has reached an emotional level that does the characters and the greater narrative more justice. There is an energy to the figurative work that has been lacking in some of the previous issues. The reader can feel the pain as Gail strikes Vincent’s face and the disembodiment sequence is as graphically uncomfortable as any of the scenes in Shelley’s original novel.
I have enjoyed a lot about this series and the ending is bitter sweet for both the characters and the reader. When Rich’s script was on form, mostly during the more fantastical or outlandish elements of the story, Leven’s artwork has been magnificent and revelled in the Gothic. Unfortunately the script wasn’t consistent and left Leven little to play with at times. Now that all of the story has been released it would be interesting to go back and read it in its entirety. I feel that the narrative will flow better without the monthly gaps between each part.
Both Rich and Levens have produced some outstanding work over the last 7 months and it’s just a shame it wasn’t more consistent from month to month. I will however be looking out for future endeavours they undertake because I don’t feel that we have seen the best work that they can produce.
Title: Madame Frankenstein
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jamie S. Rich
Artist: Megan Levens