With this adaptation of her novella, Mary Shelley joins Dickens and Charlotte Bronte as the first of three novelists whose work was treated for Lucent's Classic Graphic Novel Collection. Of the five initial volumes in the series, Frankenstein most resembles a traditional superhero comic as the monster battles his creator, Victor Frankenstein. The graphic novel retelling is faithful to Shelley's work in that the scientific experimentation is the product of Victor Frankenstein's own intellectually indulgent upbringing and his own personal losses.
An appropriately nightmarish quality informs the illustration, which is stylized to emphasize the phantasmagorical nature of the experiment and its results. Like the Arctic ice flows that provide a context for the appearance of the monster and his pursuer on the horizon, the glacier at Chamonix and the university at Geneva are merely suggested as stylized stage settings for a drama with superhuman elements.
The monster himself is drawn in a style that conjures less of the Robert De Niro monster than that of the Incredible Hulk. The monster is often portrayed as a looming, muscle-bound silhouette, though he is usually surrounded by an atmosphere that is blue rather than green.
The adaptation does not dwell upon the grave-robbing that supplies Victor Frankenstein with the organic matter for his monster (and its bride), but it does depict some violent scenes, including the monster's murders of Victor's brother William, Victor's friend Clerval and Victor's beloved Elizabeth.
Many textual tools will make it useful in whole-class instructional contexts in addition to offering individual curricular support for students studying the source text. Frankenstein includes a glossary, a two-page biography of Mary Shelley including her scandalous teenage elopement with the married Percy Bysshe Shelley and character summaries. There is also a preliminary visual chart depicting major and more minor characters. Another page relates the origin of Frankenstein in a now-famous story contest among storm-bound friends. And the work includes a visual exploration of the novel's plot, charting the rising actions, climax and denouement in the traditional linear format.
Throughout the book, as in others in the series, glossary definitions are indicated through boldface terms. This typographic convention can be misread as emphasis, and proves a distraction throughout the book.
Some of the more creative illustration relates to the story of the Arctic-bound expedition that scaffolds the tale of Victor Frankenstein and his creature. The juxtaposition of the bustling laboratories and the green meadows of Switzerland with the barren and circumscribed landscapes holding the ice-locked ship prisoner demonstrates the limitations of science and medicine in an age embracing discovery and exploration. This text, like others in Lucent's Classic Graphic Novel Collection, will introduce the classic stories to the many students eager for any content in graphic formats. Recommended for school and public libraries.