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Mary Shelley Monster Hunter #1 Review

4 min read
A secret manuscript reveals the truth of Mary Shelley’s life.

A secret manuscript reveals the truth of Mary Shelley’s life.

Creative Staff:
Story: Adam Glass, Olivia Cuartero-Briggs
Art: Hayden Sherman

What They Say:
For nearly two centuries, scholars have wondered how on earth Mary Shelley, a nineteen-year-old girl, was able to conjure one of the most frightening and enduring horror stories of all-time: Frankenstein.

But with the recent discovery of Mary Shelley’s secret memoir, the truth is finally revealed: Mary Shelley didn’t just write Frankenstein, she lived it. Traveling back to that historic Geneva winter of 1816, Mary, her fiancé Percy, sisters Claire and Fanny, and the celebrated poet Lord Byron, find themselves guests of the eerie Frankenstein Estate.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While the monster stories of old are ones that don’t always appeal, especially in their original tellings in many ways, the numerous adaptations over the decades have produced an engaging range of stories. The story of Frankenstein and his monster is not one of my favorites but I love the stories that can be told through it, including the recent love of mine with the Penny Dreadful TV series. AfterShock looks to explore things on the people behind the story in a creative way with Adam Glass dipping into the past, as he is quite skilled to do, working the story with Olivia Cuartero-Briggs – my first experience with her work. The pair definitely make out well working with the utterly fantastic Hayden Sherman for the art duties. Watching Sherman’s style adjust to the material is intriguing and there are a lot of his trademark pieces here but it’s placed within this time and place in a great way, especially with all of its subdued colors.

The series opens in the idea in the present of someone discovering a secret manuscript of Shelley’s from 1815, a year of “lost” time in her history from when she created the story of Frankenstein and his Monster, when she and her fiance Percy Shelley were in Geneva. The two, along with Lord Byron and a pair of sisters, were on a journey themselves of fun and enjoying the pleasures of the world. But when a local guest of theirs dies on his way home, they find themselves now homeless until an invitation was extended to them from Frankenstein in his castle. It’s here that the group spends much of its time, isolated by the storm that comes in as the snow continues to fall, as they look for ways to entertain themselves with the copious library and an absentee host.

Much of this focuses on Mary herself, a couple of months pregnant and feeling a kinship to this castle and place. There are mysteries abound within the area, from graverobbers looking for body parts and why their host doesn’t show themselves. The men are amusing in how they come up with a creative competition of writing to pass the time but Percy really doesn’t want to stay because of the lack of a host and the odd sounds within. And that has Mary looking to solve it, which leads us into the first twist of meeting Dr. Victoria Frankenstein and seeing her butchers lab. You can see the tangents playing out well enough with the few meager threads we really get here but the main focus is on connecting us with these characters. It’s more focused on Mary than anyone else for obvious reasons but I like what we get from Percy and Lord Byron along the way and how the women are coping with the whole situation, all while we wait to see how it influences or creates the story that she’ll tell.

In Summary:
Mary Shelley’s story is one that’s already an interesting one for a range of reasons but I love creative interpretations to expand the myth and mythology of it all, again pointing at Penny Dreadful. Adam Glass has done a lot of historical-based works with AfterShock and they’ve been a blast with the tweaks and turns and I expect that here, which is fun as we get some of them in this issue to set the stage working with Olivia Cuartero-Briggs. I’m definitely curious to see where it goes and what the Monster Hunter aspect will be once things come together more as this issue is all about introducing our core group. Hayden Sherman has been one of my favorite artists for the last couple of years with his work and this series is a welcome addition as it has his trademark style but adapted for the period and without the science fiction elements of the projects that have really delighted me. I’m excited to see more of what he has in store here.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: April 17th, 2019
MSRP: $3.99

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