If you ever were curious as to what really happened to Jack the Riper, writer Steve Niles may just have answer for you as he has taken us down a very strange and kind of creepy journey toward that speculated outcome in his Monster and Madman mini series. The series has poised the question of what would happen if Frankenstein’s Monster met with Jack the Ripper. Issue one began the meeting. Issue 2, fleshed it out so to speak. And now Issue #3 seals the deal. The short summary of the series is that Frankenstein’s Monster has been wandering the earth, going through the dark corners of humanity. After a disastrous encounter, the Monster washes ashore to be found by our Madman. The Madman knows who the Monster is and he asks to study him with the payment being that Madman will work to make Monster a partner. During much of the story, Madman is gone and Monster is left pondering many mysteries. In Issue #3, Madman finishes his work and is ready to help Monster.
That is the short summary. As this story moves forward, there is a much deeper observation occurring that works in addressing what is humanity and how do we recognize it. Further, we wonder what the best course of action is for humanity, especially if it is evil. It is a pretty dark and twisted tale. But it is also well done. Though the gothic horror thing isn't for me, I found some good enjoyment in reading this last issue. I must say that this one is the best of the three and I am beginning to understand why Steve Niles has been around for so long. He is very good at writing these types of classical horror tales with a modern understanding. These have not been the easiest for me to read as it simply is not my thing. But if you are a fan of this type of gothic horror tale, then Monster and Madman definitely will not disappoint.
Niles' writing really flourishes here and it complements Damien Worm’s artistic renderings which are just as dark and creepy as the writing. If the forms of this story weren't so disgusting, I would render this a truly beautiful piece of art. Of course, the story and subject matter are quite dark however, so these renderings are more the stuff of nightmares than of sweet dreams. But damn, they are amazing.
The one criticism that I give to this one, and really the one thing that made me give the issue a 4 instead of a 5 is the darkness. It is dark, literally dark. So dark in fact, that the words on the page blend in way too much making it difficult to read. I had to zoom in quite a bit to pick up the reading, especially from one of the characters who appear here and whose words are in red. It made it tough to read which is a shame because of how good this particular issue was. Perhaps, a more prominent lettering could have greatly benefitted. Even so, I really did enjoy this one a lot, lettering aside. The ending here is disturbing, yet it feels "right" to me. It puts a nice (and morbid) finishing touch to a good mini.
Writer: Steve Niles Artist: Damien Worm Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/21/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital