Sunday, August 3, 2014

Monster & Madman


Steve Niles is forever a mystery to me. The man had one (ONE!) great idea (30 DAYS OF NIGHT), which was thoroughly destroyed by terrible execution, yet he continues to hack out awful work, regurgitating other (Better) stories, and he is hailed as a "Modern Master of Horror" by critics and fans alike. I find Niles' work to verge on retarded, and his latest, MADMAN & MONSTER, is no exception.

 Once again, Niles gloms onto a classic monster (Frankenstein's Monster, in this case), and offers a stale old wrinkle that he passes off as a story: What if Frankenstein's Monster met.....Jack The Ripper?? (Dah-dah-DAAAAHHH!) It is every bit as simple, predictable, and stupid as it sounds.

 MADMAN & MONSTER is a slim, hideously overpriced volume that collects the three-issue mini-series of the same name. It picks up right after Mary Shelly's classic novel ends, with the creature and his creator going off to die on the arctic ice. Except the creature doesn't die, and soon finds himself working his way back to civilization, finally ending up in London (After a whole wasted, pointless issue that is nothing more than padding.), shipwrecked on the beach, where he is rescued by a man in a top hat. Since the man IS wearing a top hat, he is clearly Jack The Ripper. Because lazy writing demands these terrible, predictable, cliched shorthands. The creature finds himself rooming with Saucy jack, who claims to be a Doctor/Mortician (To explain his corpse-strewn home...), and he soon enters into an agreement with his host: He will allow "The Doctor" to examine him, and The Doctor will use the anatomical knowledge that he gains to create a female companion for the creature.

 All of this unfolds, and ends, exactly as you would expect it to. One of the hallmarks of Niles "writing" is that, after the hook is thought up (Vampires in Alaska! Frankenstein's Monster meets Jack The Ripper!), what follows is pretty much what a small child would imagine the story to be if he were told the premise. Niles expends not one iota of thought on his stories, nor contributes one single original idea or twist to the proceedings. His work is as dull, flat, joyless, and lifeless as the corpse-creations that he writes about. This is awful, awful stuff...but that's par for the course, where Niles is concerned.

 IDW provided a review copy.