Contains light spoilers.
The first issue of Frankenstein: New World returned readers to the B.P.R.D. universe, thousands of years after the story of Hellboy and his allies ended with the destruction of the world as we knew it. Now, after watching over the remains of humanity within the centre of the Earth, Frankenstein has re-awoken, and has set out to the surface with his young companion.
The last issue did a lot of stage setting, managing to not only continue the story that fans had spent decades reading, but making it accessible to new readers too. We got to know what humanity was like in this new world, how they’d survived the end of the world, and met Lilja, a young girl who’s been having strange dreams of a woman trapped inside a crystal, calling out to her.
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This issue, we get to explore the surface world with Lilja and Frankenstein, as they walk across this new Eden. Pollution is gone, the skies are clear, the plantlife is abundant, and amazing animals call it home. There are bright, vibrant insects, amazing looking birds, and huge flying manta-like creatures that make their home above the trees. And that’s just in the first couple of pages. The characters are awed by the things around them, and we get to experience that discovery alongside them.
However, not everything above ground is quite so wonderful, and the two of them end up coming to the aid of a frog-person being attacked by some vicious plant-like creatures. Saving the girl, Lilja and Frankenstein discover that the surface has new sentient people on it too, and start to make friends with Bonji people. Sadly, it looks like something evil has followed them to the surface, and is bringing darkness to this new world.
It’s still not clear exactly what the big goal is for Frankenstein: New World. We’ve gotten vague hints across the first two issues, but it’s still at a point where the story could evolve and go off in any direction. And it’s kind of great that it’s not clearly telegraphing what’s to come. Instead of waiting for the next story beat to drop, you get to sit back and enjoy the journey for what it is, marvelling at the things that the characters are discovering.
And the world that Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Thomas Sniegoski, have created through the writing, and that Peter Bergting, and Michelle Madsen have brought to life with their wonderful art, is truly a big draw for this title. It feels so completely different to other entries in the B.P.R.D. universe, despite clearly being a part of it, that it feels unique and special. I don’t know if this world is going to stick around, if this story could be the end of all of it, or if it could spark off new adventures in this setting, or if somehow everything gets undone and it goes back to what it used to be, but I kind of hope that we get more of this place and these people, even after only having them for two issues.
As someone who’s not read a lot of the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. stuff I don’t know if this is enjoyable for long time fans, but as someone coming in with only the vaguest knowledge of those comics it’s a great little story that stands on its own, that feels incredibly charming, and seems to have a lot more story just waiting to be told.
Frankenstein: New World #2 is out on 21st September from Dark Horse.