Review: Criminal Macabre - The Eyes of Frankenstein #1

Dark Horse has been knocking it out of the park lately with mini-series, and Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein seems to be no exception.  A grim, gritty story combined with a familiar character and a little bit of black humor is a great read in my book.  This issue delivers on that and more. The story follows Cal McDonald, an aspirin-loving alcoholic detective who, at this point in the Criminal Macabre storyline is angry.  Angry because he’s been losing friends due to his cases-but now he has a new lease on life-or, death.  Thanks to his undead red-eyed cohort Mo’lock, he’s now a ghoul.  That sounds better than being dead, but Mo’lock informs Cal that there’s an imminent war to be waged between ghouls and monsters on the dirty streets of LA.

Criminal Macabre The Eyes of Frankenstein #1 CoverMo has some good news for Cal, but not before Cal can do some damage to it.  One of their ghoul brethren named Pete presents a new car to Cal.  Mo’lock says to Cal that they’re being followed so he notices the car, and Cal just opens fire on it.  This part made me chuckle a bit, Mo tried to surprise Cal with a new car, and he tries to kill one of their own by accident.  The undead duo find out the bad news that there are many ghouls dying… and nobody knows why.  Cal makes it very clear that ghouls are tough; at one point he punches Mo full-force in the face while driving after he says he’ll put the new car on Cal’s tab.  This part made me laugh too-this sock in the face seemed nothing more than a playful pat on the back to us humans.  Not only are they tough, they’re extremely hard to kill.  Cal says that ghouls can still live with their heads cut off, you have to completely destroy the head and body to kill them.  Burning them alive (if you can hold them down that long) is also a viable option.  Why this amount of ghouls are simply dying is a mystery.

While examining the dying ghouls, Cal gets a phone call from Officer Wheatley.  Wheatley needs him to go into a library in North Hollywood that is being destroyed.  Officers are being thrown out windows and the structure inside is crumbling.  Cal has a hunch on who might be creating this havoc.  Sure enough, we meet Frankenstein.  We learn that Frankenstein is going blind, and without reading he has nothing.  Cal vows to help Frankenstein (who in the book to this point is nameless) get new eyes, and we’re left with an endearing panel of Frankenstein taking Cal’s hand.

The art fit the feel of the book perfectly.  It’s almost sketch-like, there’s not much detail but there’s not anything lacking either.  There’s a lot to love about this book: it’s easy to follow, the two main characters are crazy but loveable, and the introduction of Frankenstein and his problem only induce more questions.  Since he’s a monster but now a friend of Cal, whose side will he fight on in the war?  How does Cal plan to help him find new eyes?  I guess we’ll have to find out in issue #2, an issue I will certainly be checking out.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Steve Niles Artist: Christopher Mitten Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/25/13