1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 59 – Wolfhunt

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, The Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 125, which obviously stars Spider-Man and is a continuation of the story of the events that started in The Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 124, which were covered in Night 58. While Gerry Conway remains on the scripting duties, Gil Kane has been replaced by Ross Andru on the art side of things. To give a brief recap, Triple J – otherwise known as the son of John Jonah Jameson Jr – has transformed into a werewolf. He wound up coming into conflict with Spider-Man after he nearly murdered his father and the previous issue ended with him hunting down the wall crawler.

Now, the Man-Wolf eventually wound up in his own stories and those will be covered in the Nights. Hence, it was important to cover these two Spider-Man stories to give his origin. This is exactly what happened with Michael Morbius. In this way, we can consider the Man-Wolf a parallel to Morbius. One is a vampire with a science-based origin and the other is a werewolf. However, just as in the original stories that showcased the conflict between Morbius and Spider-Man, covered from Nights 5-9, expect a definitive ending here. By that, I mean, I fully believe that at the end of this issue, the Man-Wolf conflict will be resolved but in a way that it could be continued if the character proves popular enough through fan engagement or sales. Like, in Night 7, the issue ended with the apparent death of Morbius but in a vague enough way that if he proved popular, they could bring him back. Then again in Night 9, the issue ended with the X-Men holding Morbius prisoner, a state in which he could have remained if the fan reception wasn’t as high as it was. So, expect the Man-Wolf to be defeated in a way where if this was the last time we ever saw him, it would make sense for that to be the case.

Beyond that, I want to talk about Morbius a little bit more, particularly because we haven’t seen him for a long time. The last time we saw him was Night 28, where I covered the start of his solo adventures in Vampire Tales. Because I wanted to keep things in line with Morbius’ continuity, I had to stop things there because he would take over the Fear magazine and also have stories there. At the time of Night 28, though, Fear was featuring stories about the Man-Thing – so I had to do those first. Vampire Tales was set to Satana, the sister of the Son of Satan, so I had to do the the Ghost Rider stories in which he was introduced first. Finally, I know that Morbius is set to meet the Man-Wolf as well, so I had to do these stories first. Soon, I will finally be able to get back to covering the adventures of Michael Morbius, the Living Vampire, and do it in a way that respects the continuity of the character. So, expect us to stay in the sci-fi horror section of the Marvel Universe for a little while longer.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

  • On March 1st 1967:
    • Colonel John Jameson III participates in a NASA lunar landing mission which is kept secret.
    • Colonel John Jameson III realizes how the lunar flight is unscheduled to keep it all a secret.
    • Colonel John Jameson III lands on the Moon and he notes the lunar mission is just ordinary.
    • Colonel John Jameson III discovers the Godstone on the surface of the Moon after landing.
  • On March 2nd 1967:
    • Colonel John Jameson III returns to Earth and gives the Godstone up in the quarantine zone.
    • Colonel John Jameson III convinces a scientist friend to secretly give up the Godstone to him.
    • Colonel John Jameson III assumes nobody will miss the Godstone as they have many rocks.
    • Colonel John Jameson III has the Godstone fashioned into a Moonstone Pendant to wear it.
    • Colonel John Jameson III begins wearing the Moonstone Pendant and he puts it on his neck.
  • On March 22nd 1967:
    • Colonel John Jameson III sees the Moon while driving and it affects his Moonstone Pendant.
    • Colonel John Jameson III is transformed into the Man-Wolf due to the Moonstone Pendant.
    • The Man-Wolf winds up driving his car off the road and he also causes a semitruck to crash.
    • The Man-Wolf nearly murders a driver who goes to check on him before going into a forest.
  • On July 31st 1967:
    • Colonel John Jameson III proposes marriage to Kristine Saunders and she accepts.
    • Colonel John Jameson III finds the Moonstone Pendant grafting itself to his skin.
    • Colonel John Jameson III has a special suit designed to stop his transformations.
  • On June 28th 1973:
    • The Man-Wolf stalks the rooftops and senses Spider-Man nearby and opts to attack.
    • The Man-Wolf decides that Spider-Man must die for having dared to attack him first.
    • Spider-Man notes how fighting the Man-Wolf managed to rid him of all of his anger.
    • Spider-Man notes how his anger at John Jonah Jameson Jr has practically dissipated.
    • Spider-Man senses the Man-Wolf nearby but the werewolf ducks to avoid being seen.
    • The Man-Wolf leaps at Spider-Man to attack him just as the hero turns away from him.
    • Spider-Man narrowly dodges the Man-Wolf after he senses the werewolf leaping at him.
    • Spider-Man realizes that the Man-Wolf is a legitimate menace with the way he is fighting.
    • Spider-Man swings up to a rooftop right when he and the Man-Wolf make it to the ground.
    • Spider-Man finds his heart not in the fight while he goes back down to battle the Man-Wolf.
    • Spider-Man attacks the Man-Wolf, realizing that he is apathetic with Gwen Stacy now dead.
    • Spider-Man sees the pendant on the Man-Wolf’s neck and then notes he has seen it before.
    • The Man-Wolf pushes Spider-Man away from him as he analyzes the Moonstone Pendant.
    • Spider-Man points out to the Man-Wolf that the Moon is setting and he must soon revert.
    • Spider-Man chases after the Man-Wolf as the beast retreats but he collapses due to a cut.
    • The Man-Wolf gets to his apartment where he reverts into Colonel John Jameson III again.
    • Spider-Man becomes Peter Parker and returns to his apartment to recover from the fight.
    • Peter Parker quickly realizes that Harry Osborn has still not come back to their apartment.
    • Peter Parker notes that he sympathizes with Harry Osborn choosing to cut everybody off.
    • Peter Parker bandages his cut and notes he is lucky he did not pass out due to blood loss.
    • Peter Parker falls asleep all while attempting to figure out the mystery of the Man-Wolf.
    • Flash Thompson, Randy Robertson and Mary Jane Watson all go off to breakfast together.
    • Mary Jane Watson fakes a smile for Flash Thompson and blames her mood on Peter Parker.
    • Randy Robertson notes Harry Osborn arriving at the diner and points him out to his friends.
    • Mary Jane Watson finds Harry Osborn to be completely ignoring her and Flash Thompson.
    • Mary Jane Watson rushes to speak to Harry Osborn after Flash Thompson notes his mood.
    • Harry Osborn angrily dismisses Mary Jane Watson and he rants to her about Peter Parker.
    • Mary Jane Watson has a breakdown due to Harry Osborn and runs out of the diner crying.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr heads to Colonel John Jameson III’s apartment to speak to his son.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr finds the collapsed Colonel John Jameson III sleeping on the sofa.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr notes by Colonel John Jameson III’s garb he truly is the Man-Wolf.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr wakes up Colonel John Jameson III and asks answers from his son.
    • Colonel John Jameson III despairs about his situation to his father and claims it is helpless.
    • Colonel John Jameson III informs John Jonah Jameson Jr on how he became the Man-Wolf.
    • Colonel John Jameson III informs John Jonah Jameson Jr that he cannot take off his pendant.
    • Colonel John Jameson III sadly notes the Moonstone Pendant has grafted itself unto his skin.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr fears that Spider-Man will keep on chasing Colonel John Jameson III.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr has the NYPD go to the Daily Bugle office to wait out for Spider-Man.
    • Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man after resting up and then goes to the Daily Bugle office.
    • Spider-Man notes he will have to take it lightly because his wound is still causing him pain.
    • Spider-Man decides to make the most of the day all because he is feeling like himself again.
    • Spider-Man enters Joe Robertson’s office so they can speak about the Moonstone Pendant.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr rushes into Joe Robertson’s office alongside the NYPD officers there.
    • Spider-Man is forced out of the Daily Bugle office after the officers unload tear gas on him.
    • Spider-Man winds up falling from a building and into some garbage because of the tear gas.
    • Joe Robertson argues with John Jonah Jameson Jr on why he brought the NYPD officers in.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr rants to Joe Robertson to try and justify why he loathes Spider-Man.
    • Spider-Man becomes Peter Parker and returns to his apartment to attempt to heal up again.
    • Mary Jane Watson goes to Peter Parker’s apartment and is surprised to find him so weak.
    • Mary Jane Watson expresses frustration until she realizes Peter Parker is actually in pain.
    • Mary Jane Watson leaves Peter Parker alone after recalling how Harry Osborn treated her.
    • Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man and heads out to the streets to go locate the Man-Wolf.
    • Spider-Man notes that Mary Jane Watson was right about how just how glum he has been.
    • Spider-Man notes that he cannot be happy that he wound up seeing Gwen Stacy get killed.
    • Spider-Man realizes that he has been self-centered, but he has every right to feel that way.
    • Spider-Man notes that his life has also been terrible with him having to face the Man-Wolf.
    • Spider-Man suddenly realizes that the Man-Wolf was wearing clothes fit for an astronaut.
    • Spider-Man deduces that the Man-Wolf must be none other than Colonel John Jameson III.
    • Spider-Man learns where Colonel John Jameson III lives and then rushes to his apartment.
    • John Jameson Jr heads to Colonel John Jameson III’s apartment to try and help out his son.
    • Kristine Saunders drives to Colonel John Jameson III’s apartment so they can go on a date.
    • Kristine Saunders is surprised when Colonel John Jameson III refuses to answer her rings.
    • Kristine Saunders sees Colonel John Jameson III in his window and is upset by his actions.
    • Kristine Saunders angrily decides to leave due to how Colonel John Jameson III is acting.
    • Colonel John Jameson III demands John Jonah Jameson Jr leave him before he changes.
    • Colonel John Jameson III points out that he cannot stand to hurt everyone that he loves.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr tries to reason with Colonel John Jameson III to remain with him.
    • Colonel John Jameson III fails to resist the transformation and he becomes the Man-Wolf.
    • The Man-Wolf angrily strikes down John Jonah Jameson Jr and then escapes his apartment.
    • The Man-Wolf leaps into a nearby alleyway and he beats down a mugger that he sees there.
    • The Man-Wolf nearly kills the mugger until he sees Kristine Saunders about to drive away.
    • The Man-Wolf chases after Kristine Saunders as she attempts to drive away to escape him.
    • Spider-Man gets to the apartment and sees the Man-Wolf chasing after Kristine Saunders.
    • Spider-Man attacks the Man-Wolf and notes the Moonstone Pendant makes him change.
    • Spider-Man attempts to web up the Moonstone Pendant but the Man-Wolf just tears it off.
    • Spider-Man finds himself now forced to battle the Man-Wolf to keep Kristine Saunders safe.
    • Spider-Man tears off the Man-Wolf’s Moonstone Pendant after the werewolf kicks him hard.
    • Spider-Man is shocked to find the Moonstone Pendant was grafted into the Man-Wolf’s skin.
    • The Man-Wolf reverts back into Colonel John Jameson III with the Moonstone Pendant gone.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr rushes to Colonel John Jameson III’s side to see if he has recovered.
    • Spider-Man tells John Jonah Jameson Jr to take Colonel John Jameson III to see a doctor.
    • Spider-Man throws the Moonstone Pendant into the Hudson River so it can be forgotten.
    • Spider-Man chastises John Jonah Jameson Jr for how he wound up neglecting his own son.
    • Spider-Man leaves John Jonah Jameson Jr and Kristine Saunders to handle everything alone.

Analysis:

The story begins with us getting right into the action, with the Man-Wolf leaping at Spider-Man, whose spider sense alerts him to the danger in the nick of time. Although Spider-Man evades the Man-Wolf, the werewolf still manages to shove him off the building they are on. This makes Spider-Man realize just how serious the threat of his new werewolf playmate is, but even then, his heart is no longer in the fight, having had exhausted his anger the previous issue.

So, with his grief having made him apathetic, Spider-Man keeps on fighting the Man-Wolf in a reckless fashion, not really caring if the werewolf tears him to shreds or not. However, when he sees the Moonstone Pendant that the Man-Wolf wears, he knows that he has seen it before. There’s no time for him to figure out the mystery, though, since the Moon is setting as the Sun rising, forcing the werewolf to flee before he reverts to human before Spidey. While our hero tries to chase after him, he fails to do so because of a cut that the beast inflicted on him hours earlier during their first fight. I will note, that although we see a full moon in this issue, it that is impossible given that this takes place only nine/ten days after the death of Gwen Stacy. We have to assume it was done as a stylistic choice because it would break the Marvel Universe’s chronology if it didn’t. But, weirder things have done just that so, who knows. As he rants about the wound he got, though, Conway narrates that Spider-Man is finally overcoming his inner turmoil and regaining his former enthusiasm. Wow, all it took was getting scratched by a werewolf? Either way, Spidey returns to his apartment and it doesn’t take long before he collapses due to the cut.

We take a brief reprieve to see Peter Parker’s supporting cast, namely MJ Watson, Randy Robertson and Flash Thompson. There isn’t anything romantic going on between them as there was in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film, but they’re having breakfast regarding the turmoil that Peter and Harry Osborn are going through. Unfortunately for them, Harry Osborn arrives and things dovetail into an argument between him and MJ regarding Peter. It’s not really relevant to the situation with the Man-Wolf, but it is one of Conway’s ongoing threads that gets resolved later on.

Back to the matter at hand, Jolly Jonah has made it to his son’s apartment, where we see that the Man-Wolf really did become Triple J again. Seeing the outfit that Triple J has on, Jolly Jonah realizes that his son is the werewolf that nearly gutted him and then wakes him up to learn why. However, since the cat is out of the bag, Triple J begins explaining to his father exactly what is going on.

As it turns out, half a year prior, Triple J participated in an unscheduled, top secret lunar mission – likely something to do with spying on Soviets or the Chinese military. However, there, he found a mysterious rock – which the wiki tells me is the Godstone. Once back on Earth, he used his connections to fashion the Godstone into a Moonstone Pendant, which he begins wearing around his neck. That was a whole lot of stupid from Triple J, so I’m assuming that the Godstone had some real Ring of Mordor properties where when you see it, you need it. Unfortunately for Triple J, one night, he saw the Moon and found he couldn’t help but turn into a silvery wolf with a thirst for blood. Since then, he transforms at least once a month and even his radiation suit can’t stop it. To make matters worse, the Pendant grafted itself onto his skin so Triple J isn’t getting out of this mess.

After resting up, Spider-Man goes to the Daily Bugle office to ask Mr. Robertson questions about the pendant, but a paranoid Jolly Jonah has the NYPD ambush him there and quickly force him out with tear gas. The gas takes its toll and Spider-Man quickly falls off of a building, with some garbage below breaking its fall. So yeah, even though our hero is a bit past his depressive streak, he’s in major agony and may not be able to handle the Man-Wolf in a one-on-one fight. While Jameson continues to rant about Spider-Man, thinly alluding to his son’s agony, Spider-Man becomes Peter Parker and returns to his apartment to recuperate. That doesn’t go well for Petey as MJ Watson checks in, but only winds up more heartbroken due to how unresponsive he is due to the pain.

We then go back to the main office as night falls once again, with Kristine Saunders going to visit her fiancée Triple J. However, he refuses to allow her entry into his apartment and she decides to leave, upset that he doesn’t want to see her even though he’s home. Inside the apartment, Triple J is arguing wit his father, demanding that he leave before the transformation occurs. However, Jolly Jonah is too stubborn and doesn’t leave when he can. Triple J transforms into the Man-Wolf and proceeds to bitch slap his dad into the next page. Escaping onto the streets, the Man-Wolf nearly murders a mugger but is distracted when he sees Kristine Saunders driving nearby. She attains his full focus and he quickly chases after her to try and murder her.

We then shift back about ten minutes and see Petey became Spider-Man to patrol the streets once more. He considers MJ’s words and notes that while he has been down, it’s only been about ten days since Gwen’s funeral and he has every right to act the way he does, especially with the fact that he has to stop the Man-Wolf too. As he thinks about the Man-Wolf’s clothes, he suddenly realizes that his target is none other than Triple J and rushes to the man’s apartment.

We synch back up with the issue’s present time and show Spider-Man arriving before the Man-Wolf is able to grab a hold of Kristine Saunders. He tries to settle things peacefully by webbing up the Man-Wolf’s pendant, but that obviously fails. So, after a brief battle, Spidey gets pissed and just tears the pendant off the Man-Wolf. Given that it was grafted into his neck, he shreds the werewolf’s neck doing that and when he changes into Triple J, he’s knocked unconscious cause that must have hurt. Jolly Jonah arrives and Spider-Man chastises him for not getting his son help before leaving. Spidey also throws the Moonstone Pendant into the river, giving us a very similar to definitive ending to Morbius. But, things are fished out the river all the time, or stranger things have happened – it’s definitive, but can be moved past.

And that is the origin of the Man-Wolf. As I discussed in the Background, the next Nights will be shifting us back into Morbius the Living Vampire. The final speedbump on the way to him? Ghost Rider.

1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 58 – The Man-Wolf

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, The Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 124, which obviously stars Spider-Man. We have Gerry Conway on the scripting duties with Gil Kane as the primary artist. The story partially continues the story from Marvel Team-Up Vol 1 12, so you can check out Night 57 for that, but is more of a continuation of previous issues of this series. However, since this occurs after that issue and they both deal with Spider-Man’s fragile state following the death of Gwen Stacy, it’s worth reading that first. However, what occurred between this issue and that was an issue of Daredevil, where Spider-Man helps that titular hero (who actually saves Black Widow to show he could do what Spidey couldn’t) and another issue of Marvel Team-Up where Spider-Man helps Captain America with the Grey Gargoyle. Now that we’re all caught up, we can talk about this issue.

In many ways, this issue does what was already done way back in The Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 102 – covered in Night 6. That issue introduced Morbius the Living Vampire, who became a very popular villain and anti-hero, to the point where he got his own stories. Most importantly, Morbius is not a vampire in the supernatural sense because he has a science-based origin. Only one of those stories have been covered in the Nights so far, but more will be covered very soon. Essentially, Spider-Man was used to introduce a new villain, whose popularity allowed him to be brought back, at which point he was eventually spun off to star in his own titles. Keep in mind, Morbius also has the highest kill count in the Marvel Universe at this point – something that our new antagonist will not repeat. Aside from that, this issue does that same thing that was done with Morbius, but now with a science-based werewolf!

Who is this werewolf? It is John Jonah Jameson III, the son of Peter Parker’s boss and Spider-Man’s greatest hater, John Jonah Jameson Jr. This is an established character who has already been mutated once before, whereas Morbius was a brand new character. So where that was kind of a series of pilot issues about a new, popular character, this is the final development of an already known character with room for growth. The end result, however, is the same, JJJ III Triple J becomes so popular he goes on to marry Stephanie McMahon star in his own stories, serve as an anti-hero and become a larger part of the Marvel Universe. Much like Morbius, he never breaks out of that B-Lister level of the Marvel Universe, and I doubt he will if he ever gets a film as well, but he does become more successful than many other horror characters I’ve covered like N’Kantu.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

  • On June 27th 1973:
    • Spider-Man picks up newspapers talking about Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy’s deaths.
    • Spider-Man finds himself frustrated that the media is still focusing on how they both died.
    • Spider-Man notes he is sorry about Gwen Stacy but that the whole affair is long done now.
    • Spider-Man notes he must keep living but that he keeps seeing reminders of Gwen Stacy.
    • Spider-Man wonders why the NYPD did not learn Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin.
    • Spider-Man notes how there is no evidence that he is the one who killed Norman Osborn.
    • Spider-Man notes how only the Daily Bugle is claiming that he murdered Norman Osborn.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr argues with Joe Robertson over an article he wrote on Spider-Man.
    • Joe Robertson points out to John Jonah Jameson Jr that Spider-Man may still be innocent.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr angrily states his belief that Spider-Man murdered Norman Osborn.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr recalls how his plot to use Luke Cage to capture Spider-Man failed.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr vows to turn the public against Spider-Man to demand his capture.
    • Joe Robertson gets frustrated with John Jonah Jameson Jr but he agrees to leave things be.
    • Colonel John Jameson III arrives at the Daily Bugle offices and sees John Jonah Jameson Jr.
    • Colonel John Jameson III proudly tells his father that he is now engaged to Kristine Saunders.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr is overjoyed by the news that his son will soon be getting married.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr very quickly introduces Colonel John Jameson III to Joe Robertson.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr and Colonel John Jameson III leave the office together to go home.
    • Colonel John Jameson III tries to resist his transformation but is greatly pained at the effort.
    • Colonel John Jameson III lies to his father that he is ill right when Kristine Saunders arrives.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr meets Kristine Saunders and finds that he appreciates the woman.
    • Spider-Man changes into Peter Parker so that he can change his focus to something else.
    • Peter Parker heads to Empire State University, unaware how he will face all of his friends.
    • Peter Parker hopes he does not face misplaced sympathy so that he can go restart his life.
    • Peter Parker notes how most students do not even know that Gwen Stacy was murdered.
    • Peter Parker goes to a preparatory class for the next semester with Gwen Stacy on mind.
    • Peter Parker thinks about who those who do know what happened are all looking at him.
    • Peter Parker sees a girl looking at him and is overcome with anger at the situation he is in.
    • Peter Parker winds up breaking a pencil in his hand and then leaves the class to cool off.
    • Mary Jane Watson sees Peter Parker storm out of the class and she then rushes after him.
    • Mary Jane Watson finds Peter Parker unwilling to talk but she persists to be there for him.
    • Mary Jane Watson tells Peter Parker he can be tense but he should not act like a hermit.
    • Peter Parker tells Mary Jane Watson the situation is far too close but he will try to adjust.
    • Mary Jane Watson tells Peter Parker he cannot be held back and to pull himself together.
    • Peter Parker asks Mary Jane Watson why she even cares when they are not even dating.
    • Mary Jane Watson informs Peter Parker her interest is not romantic, and she is worried.
    • Flash Thompson goes to Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson and asks for Harry Osborn.
    • Peter Parker angrily yells at Flash Thompson to just leave him and Harry Osborn alone.
    • Peter Parker sees a new Daily Bugle newspaper which continues to blast Spider-Man.
    • Peter Parker is incensed by John Jonah Jameson Jr continuing to call him a murderer.
    • Peter Parker rants about John Jonah Jameson Jr ignoring journalistic professionalism.
    • Peter Parker rants about John Jonah Jameson Jr hounding him in the news and media.
    • Peter Parker notes how he keeps seeing Gwen Stacy and feeling accused by her too.
    • Peter Parker rushes to the rooftops and changes into Spider-Man to go settle things.
    • Spider-Man notes perhaps he can finally make John Jonah Jameson Jr leave him alone.
    • Spider-Man begins swinging for John Jonah Jameson Jr’s apartment to confront him.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr goes to his apartment having now met with Kendra Saunders.
    • Colonel John Jameson III begins transforming again in spite of his protective uniform.
    • Colonel John Jameson III rushes onto the streets of New York City so he can get away.
    • Colonel John Jameson III painfully transforms into the Man-Wolf in the city’s streets.
    • The Man-Wolf begins stalking John Jonah Jameson Jr so he can make it to his father.
    • The Man-Wolf scales the buildings around him and leaps over them for greater speed.
    • The Man-Wolf gets to John Jonah Jameson Jr’s apartment and he then crashes into it.
    • Spider-Man sees the Man-Wolf as he crashes into John Jonah Jameson Jr’s apartment.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr is horrified by the sudden arrival of the ravenous Man-Wolf.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr rants at the Man-Wolf before realizing how big a threat he is.
    • The Man-Wolf tackles down John Jonah Jameson Jr before he can make it to a phone.
    • Spider-Man quickly attacks the Man-Wolf before he can murder John Jonah Jameson Jr.
    • Spider-Man informs an ungrateful John Jonah Jameson Jr that he just rescued the man.
    • Spider-Man dodges the Man-Wolf’s attacks while also mocking John Jonah Jameson Jr.
    • Spider-Man kicks down the Man-Wolf, noting that the fight puts him in a good mood.
    • The Man-Wolf crashes into John Jonah Jameson Jr and tosses a chair at Spider-Man.
    • Spider-Man punches back the Man-Wolf after the werewolf tries to tackle him again.
    • Spider-Man violently proclaims that even a ravenous werewolf does not scare him.
    • The Man-Wolf manages to punch back Spider-Man to focus on John Jonah Jameson Jr.
    • The Man-Wolf grabs John Jonah Jameson Jr before the man is able to call the NYPD.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr pleads with the Man-Wolf to try and learn what is happening.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr sees the Man-Wolf’s Moonstone Pendant as the beast growls.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr realizes the Man-Wolf is his son while the werewolf backs off.
    • The Man-Wolf flees from the apartment, having made a cry for help unto his father.
    • Spider-Man recovers and finds John Jonah Jameson Jr morose because of the attack.
    • Spider-Man is surprised when John Jonah Jameson Jr demands he does not pursue.
    • Spider-Man angrily tells John Jonah Jameson Jr that his sense of gratitude is awful.
    • Sider-Man leaves John Jonah Jameson Jr’s apartment to think about his situation.
    • The Man-Wolf stalks the rooftops and senses Spider-Man nearby and opts to attack.
    • The Man-Wolf decides that Spider-Man must die for having dared to attack him first.
    • Spider-Man notes how fighting the Man-Wolf managed to rid him of all of his anger.
    • Spider-Man notes how his anger at John Jonah Jameson Jr has practically dissipated.
    • Spider-Man senses the Man-Wolf nearby but the werewolf ducks to avoid being seen.
    • The Man-Wolf leaps at Spider-Man to attack him just as the hero turns away from him.

Analysis:

The story begins with Spider-Man brooding in the rain at night, finding that the newspapers have not calmed down about the deaths of Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn. Spider-Man wonders how he can go on living when there’s reminders everywhere about Gwen Stacy, he’s also confused as to why the NYPD have not uncovered that Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin. The latter point is part of an arc that will unfold over several issues of this series and is less important to this issue when compared to the former. Spider-Man is angry, upset and still hurting – he’s not ruthless and beating thugs into comas, but he’s certainly hitting a bit harder than he usually does. So, if Spider-Man were Chris Redfield, we’re getting him from Resident Evil 5, not the original Resident Evil.

Meanwhile, at the offices of the Daily Bugle, JJJ Jr is arguing with his editor Robbie regarding whether Spider-Man murdered Norman Osborn. Their argument is interrupted when Triple J arrives and gives his father the news that he just got engaged to a woman named Kendra Saunders. As father and son leave the office together, Triple J nearly collapses. He’s clearly resisting his werewolf transformation, but lies to his father that he’s ill and then distracts him by introducing him to Kendra. It’s a good enough distraction since Jolly Jonah seems to take to his future daughter-in-law right away.

Returning to Spider-Man, he changes back into Peter Parker so that he can try and focus on something a bit more productive. At university, though, he finds himself faced with conflicting emotions. On one hand, he doesn’t want misplaced sympathy from his friends but on the other, is upset that other students are happy and don’t seem to care or even know that Gwen Stacy was killed. Well, given that most students wouldn’t have even known Gwen Stacy, you can’t expect them to be sad about it. He almost seems paranoid, thinking too much about what others must be thinking about his situation. MJ is the only one who actually notices how angry he is and then chases after him. MJ nearly calms him down, but they are interrupted by Flash Thompson, who asks about Harry Osborn. This drives good ol’Petey over the edge, he yells at MJ and Flash and then just storms off.

Shifting to the evening, we return to Triple J and he begins to transform into a werewolf, with the special uniform made to control his transformations failing him. After what seems to be an agonizing transformation, Triple J becomes the bestial and ravenous Man-Wolf. Although he has a humanoid face, which I appreciate, his face looks more wolfish than human, kind of like the transformed Professor Lupin from Harry Potter. The silver fur and astronaut outfit gives the Man-Wolf the sci-fi look, making him more distinct from supernatural werewolves. Overall, it’s a very good werewolf design and he certainly looks like somebody that you don’t want to fight. That’s what makes him a perfect opponent for a pissed off Spider-Man, he’s somebody who can take the beating that Spidey badly wants to dish out. It doesn’t take long for the Man-Wolf to find his prey, who proves to be none other than his father: JJJ Jr. After realizing that he’s facing an actual werewolf and not some goofy in a mask, Jolly Jonah rushes for a phone but the Man-Wolf is on his ass.

The story then rewinds several minutes before the transformation and we find Peter Parker incensed to see another Daily Bugle paper claiming Spider-Man killed Norman Osborn. This makes him lose it. After all, who wants to be called a murderer? Raving about how Jameson keeps twisting facts and fully consumed by his grief, Petey quickly changes into Spider-Man to confront the newspaper boss. When he gets to Jameson’s apartment, however, he sees the Man-Wolf crashing in before he can. And that syncs up time so we can get to the promised showdown.

The battle between Spider-Man and the Man-Wolf is kind of funny, since Spidey usually taunts his enemies. The Man-Wolf obviously doesn’t care about that, so our bystander Jolly Jonah is receiving the brunt of Spidey’s jokes instead. Spidey is also surprised to find that fighting an enemy without holding back is actually putting him in a good mood – a little catharsis, if you will. As he keeps punching down the Man-Wolf, Spider-Man makes it clear that even mythical beasts like werewolves do not scare him. For a brief moment, however, the Man-Wolf knocks down Spider-Man so that he can focus on Jolly Jonah. The Man-Wolf stops daddy-o from calling the cops but when he realizes who the werewolf is, the situation winds up changing. The Man-Wolf kind of seems to understand what has happened and then leaves his father’s apartment.

Spider-Man finds Jolly Jonah ungrateful for his intervention, to the point where the newspaperman threatens him. Leaving, Spidey tries to get all up in his feels, unaware that the Man-Wolf has changed focus and decided to hunt him instead. Overall, however, our hero does feel better having released his anger against the Man-Wolf. The issue ends with the Man-Wolf leaping toward Spider-Man to continue their fight.

As can be expected, the next Night will cover the next issue of The Amazing Spider-Man and conclude this werewolf business. See you then.

1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 57 – Wolf at Bay

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, Marvel Team-Up Vol 1 12, which stars Spider-Man and Jack Russell, the werewolf by night. We have Len Wein on the scripting duties, working off of a plot created by Gerry Conway, while Ross Andru is on the art side of things. It’s a very good creative team for a standalone adventure. We last saw Jack Russell in Werewolf by Night Vol 1 8, which was featured in Night 51. To give a bit of a bit of a recap, Jack Russell was kidnapped by Swami Rihva and his circus. Rihva used Jack’s werewolf form for his own personal benefit but ultimately, he died in his vain pursuit and his circus was destroyed. While Jack escaped, he wound up in the sights of the demon Krogg but managed to attain victory despite being outmatched.

Now, I don’t know when this is set, but it’s easy to imagine it’s at least a month after the battle against Krogg, which was Jack’s final transformation of the month. It is possible that it’s also set in the past sometime, during one of Jack’s transformations that we don’t know much about. There are about one or two months there where what Jack did during a transformation has not been given much focus. So, it would be interesting to see if this is set in the past.

What is key about this issue is that this is the first true crossover between Marvel Comics’ horror series with an A-List superhero. To recap previous crossovers, we start with Night 15 and Night 16, in which we covered issues of Astonishing Tales starring Ka-Zar in which the Man-Thing had an antagonistic presence. While finally starring in his own series, Ka-Zar, previously a guest star in X-Men, Daredevil and Spider-Man stories, has always been, at best, a B+ player. What those issues did do, however, was establish that the Man-Thing was in the same universe as those characters – the A-Listers. Beyond that, in Night 41, Daredevil and Black Widow briefly encountered the Man-Thing but there was no real team-up or battle – it was just a cameo. This is the first time an A-List Marvel superhero and a Marvel horror feature are both co-starring in a story together. It may be a footnote in the history of Spider-Man, but it is a big deal for Marvel Comics’ horror line gaining legitimacy in the Marvel Universe.

So, what was Spider-Man doing before this comic came out? Well, perhaps one of the most famous stories in the character’s near-sixty year history has just passed. The Green Goblin threw Gwen Stacy off of the Brooklyn Bridge and killed her in his battle against Spider-Man. After tracking down the Green Goblin, Spider-Man nearly killed his archenemy but relented at the last second, at which point the maniac got himself impaled on his own glider. Now, contrary to popular belief, Spider-Man did not blame himself for Gwen’s death and quit being a hero for a while until the city needed him. That’s something that happened in the Ultimate Universe, I think, some other alternate timelines and I believe it happened in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Here, what happens is that Spider-Man briefly considers quitting after Gwen Stacy’s funeral and is attacked by Luke Cage. Assuming that Cage is a mercenary, Spider-Man insults him and causes their situation to get personal. Cage later tracked down Spider-Man and they had another skirmish before coming to an understanding about why they take their different approach to heroics. What he understands from his fight with Luke Cage is that he isn’t alone and there’s a lot of people just like him going through rough times but that he has to keep on going. He never has another loss of confidence and doesn’t ever consider quitting again.

But still, that’s the Spider-Man we have going into this story. Yes, he’ll still be cracking jokes and be a web slinging goody two shoes, but he’s angrier and a bit more desperate. He wants to punch things because even though he’s mad at the world, even though he’s healing with Mary Jane Watson’s help, he’s still hurting and will for a long time. But it’s not like everybody thinks it is. He did not get rageful like Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man says he did in Spider-Man: No Way Home. He’s still very much the Spider-Man we know and love, just with a taste of bitterness.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

  • On May 22nd 1973:
    • Peter Parker approaches John Jonah Jameson Jr so he can get an assignment out of town.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr rants about money and Luke Cage’s actions to him to Peter Parker.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr proclaims that Peter Parker has no respect for his money anymore.
    • Peter Parker points out that he is not looking for a raise but an assignment out of the city.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr points out he understands that Peter Parker is currently mourning.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr reminds Peter Parker that the Daily Bugle is not a charity for him.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr informs Peter Parker that he needed to bring a newsworthy idea.
    • Joe Robertson interrupts John Jonah Jameson Jr so that he can give Peter Parker some aid.
    • Joe Robertson presents John Jonah Jameson Jr photos taken of Daredevil and Black Widow.
    • Joe Robertson points out how photographs of Daredevil and Black Widow are newsworthy.
    • Joe Robertson points out Peter Parker is qualified enough to take the photographs for them.
    • John Jonah Jameson Jr makes it clear to Peter Parker he must return with the right photos.
    • Peter Parker gets a travel voucher and then boards a flight that takes him to San Francisco.
    • Jack Russell goes with Lissa Russell and Buck Cowan to recover from the full moon’s effects.
    • Jack Russell, Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell make it to San Francisco so they can relax there.
    • Jack Russell sees an advertisement for Moondark’s occult show and decides to check it out.
    • Jack Russell, Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell all attend Moondark’s occult show in a theatre.
    • Jack Russell gets bored of Moondark but the magician hypnotizes everyone except for him.
    • Jack Russell is stunned to realize that Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell have been hypnotized.
    • Moondark begins magically exerting control on Jack Russell’s mind, forcing him to collapse.
    • Moondark brings Jack Russell with him to his room so he can manipulate the boy’s power.
  • On May 23rd 1973:
    • Peter Parker arrives in San Francisco and becomes Spider-Man to get around the city fast.
    • Jack Russell awakens in Moondark’s dressing room and is greeted there by the magician.
    • Moondark informs Jack Russell he will use the boy’s inherent power and change the world.
    • Moondark magically forces Jack Russell to become a werewolf though there is no full moon.
    • Moondark scries Spider-Man’s presence and notes that the vigilante could come stop him.
    • Moondark sends Jack Russell out to find Spider-Man out of hopes he can kill the vigilante.
    • Moondark uses a portal to make sure that Jack Russell will quickly get close to Spider-Man.
    • Moondark taps into Jack Russell’s innate magical power to enhance his own mystic power.
    • Moondark begins hypnotizing the citizens of San Francisco to turn them into his servants.
    • Spider-Man scales the Golden Gate Bridge and considers his decision to go to San Francisco.
    • Spider-Man hopes he can finally get his mind off of Gwen Stacy and have a moment of peace.
    • Spider-Man considers everything that has occurred ever since Gwen Stacy was murdered.
    • Spider-Man notes if he did not get away from New York City, he would have gone insane.
    • Spider-Man senses Jack Russell stalking him too late and is then tackled by the werewolf.
    • Jack Russell tackles Spider-Man off of the Golden Gate Bridge and they both begin to fall.
    • Spider-Man tries to hold off Jack Russell and notes how even a paid vacation is a disaster.
    • Spider-Man manages to create a net of webbing that catches both him and Jack Russell.
    • Jack Russell continues to pursue Spider-Man even as they safely descend to the ground.
    • Spider-Man dodges Jack Russell’s strikes, unsure what the werewolf even wants with him.
    • Spider-Man kicks back Jack Russell but notes that his attack did very little to the werewolf.
    • Spider-Man ducks as Jack Russell leaps at him and the werewolf falls over the bridge’s edge.
    • Spider-Man rushes to the edge just as Jack Russell crashes into the waters below the bridge.
    • Spider-Man notes he should help Jack Russell but he doubts the werewolf survived the fall.
    • Spider-Man scans the water below the bridge but fails to find any sign of Jack Russell there.
    • Moondark scries Spider-Man and he watches as the vigilante eventually just swings away.
    • Jack Russell emerges from the water and begins tracking Spider-Man based on his scent.
    • Spider-Man swings through San Francisco, noting how trouble found him within an hour.
    • Spider-Man notes he is curious if Jack Russell was really a werewolf and what he wanted.
    • Spider-Man changes into Peter Parker and decides to think about his issue within a diner.
    • Peter Parker goes to a diner and orders food, finding everybody there to lack all emotion.
    • Peter Parker observes the diner’s patrons and he sees how everybody acts like a machine.
    • Jack Russell tracks down Peter Parker and then attacks him based off of the scent he had.
    • Peter Parker realizes how Jack Russell found him and finds the patrons are ignoring them.
    • Peter Parker throws Jack Russell into a man who does not even notice that he got shoved.
    • Jack Russell tears Peter Parker’s clothes and manages to force him right out of the diner.
    • Peter Parker manages to smash Jack Russell’s head into a car and becomes Spider-Man.
    • Spider-Man watches as the diner’s patrons leave and just ignore the fallen Jack Russell.
    • Spider-Man notices everybody else in the neighborhood also just leaving their homes.
    • Spider-Man notes he could follow the people but he sees Jack Russell revert to human.
    • Spider-Man decides to stay by Jack Russell, realizing how important the man actually is.
    • Jack Russell wakes up and he is surprised to find that Spider-Man is also in San Francisco.
    • Jack Russell admits to Spider-Man that his memories are blurred but agrees to assist him.
    • Spider-Man swings Jack Russell up to a rooftop so they can discuss what is even going on.
    • Jack Russell informs Spider-Man about how his association with Moondark even occurred.
    • Spider-Man tells Jack Russell they need to go stop Moondark before his plans can proceed.
    • Spider-Man swings Jack Russell with him to Moondark’s theatre so they can stop the man.
    • Spider-Man and Jack Russell enter the theatre but Moondark’s magic overcomes the latter.
    • Spider-Man senses Jack Russell transform into a werewolf right when the beast attacks him.
    • Moondark takes note of Spider-Man and Jack Russell struggling in his theatre and is pleased.
    • Spider-Man notes that Moondark is keeping Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell as his hostages.
    • Spider-Man fights back against Jack Russell and manages to force the werewolf off himself.
    • Spider-Man dodges Jack Russell’s strikes and notes how Moondark is using the werewolf.
    • Spider-Man notes getting Jack Russell out of San Francisco would help but it is impossible.
    • Spider-Man mockingly notes how such obstacles are what makes being a superhero so fun.
    • Moondark vows to defeat Spider-Man for coming to San Francisco to attempt to stop him.
    • Spider-Man mocks Moondark and points out he didn’t even know that the magician existed.
    • Spider-Man gets frustrated with Moondark and tackles the man through the portal he made.
    • Jack Russell reverts to human with Moondark gone while everyone under his control is freed.
    • Jack Russell quickly makes sure that Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell are fine as they are freed.
    • Jack Russell notes the ash of Moondark’s portal and tells his allies that is the entire story.
    • Spider-Man catches onto the Golden Gate Bridge when he and Moondark exit the portal.
    • Spider-Man watches as Moondark falls into the waters below and assumes that he died.
    • Spider-Man notes that every person that Moondark brainwashed has likely been freed.
    • Spider-Man decides to not worry about Moondark and instead focus on his assignment.

Analysis:

The story begins with Spider-Man scaling the Golden Gate Bridge with a werewolf Jack Russell stalking him from below. But Spider-Man’s mind isn’t on the werewolf, it’s on Gwen Stacy, or rather forgetting about his grief just for a second. Unfortunately for you, Spider-Man, people don’t buy the issues of your comic where you have a boring day. So, of course, he doesn’t sense Jack Russell about to attack him up until the moment our friendly neighborhood werewolf knocks his ass off the bridge.

We then learn why Spider-Man is on the West Coast in the first place: he needed to get out of NYC because everything there reminded him of Gwen Stacy. Unfortunately, when Peter Parker asked for out of town work from Jolly Jonah Jameson Jr, the old man didn’t have any. But, Robbie Robertson to the rescue points out that Daredevil and Black Widow are in San Francisco and if Petey Parker gets photos of them, they can sell a lot of newspapers. With his assignment confirmed, Peter Parker quickly gets on a flight to San Francisco and once there, becomes Spider-Man so he can traverse the city with ease (I’m assuming that’s why he was Spidey and not Petey).

Returning to the present, Spider-Man and Jack Russell descend down the bridge and continue their battle, with incoming cars turning away as soon as they see the werewolf. For once, Spidey isn’t the thing that makes people run in fear. The battle ends with Spider-Man kicking down Jack Russell, who overshoots a leap at the hero and jumps right off the bridge. Instead of rushing after Jack Russell like he was Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man lazily watches him crash into the waters below and notes that he probably died from the fall. Damn Spider-Man, that’s two people in what, two weeks that you let die like that? Well, Jack obviously survived being supernatural and all, but come on, really?

Certain that his enemy is defeated, Spider-Man swings away, unaware that some Rasputin looking mofo is watching him. Becoming Peter Parker, he tries to relax at a diner and realizes something is truly wrong in the city with everybody acting like a robot. Jack Russell tracks Peter Parker down to the diner and attacks him based off his scent, but everybody around them, aside from a waitress briefly screaming in an odd fashion, just ignores the battle going on. Now, as Peter Parker fends off Jack Russell, he should really be thinking of phoning Dr. Strange given that this is more that man’s expertise. Managing to smash Jack’s head in a car door, Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man again and watches as everyone int he neighborhood just starts walking away from their homes in a single direction. Some really mind controlled body snatcher stuff is going on in Frisco.

While Spider-Man initially considers following the brainwashed, he instead remains by Jack Russell’s side after seeing him revert to human. When Jack wakes up, he’s understandably confused to see Spider-Man in San Francisco. However, he’s immediately trusting of the hero. Being a youth from Los Angeles, Jack isn’t subjected to the mistrust that Spidey faces in NYC. So, it makes a bit of sense that an idealistic youth like him may even admire the wall crawler. After all, at this point, the only superhero that LA has had is Daredevil and that too was for a brief period of time when he went there in pursuit of Karen Page. This is his first experience with a superhero and it makes sense of him to be as trusting as he is. After all, he immediately agrees to help out Spider-Man and doesn’t even hide that he’s a werewolf.

What is interesting is Jack Russell stating that he came up to San Francisco with Lisa Russell and Buck Cowan to recover from the previous full moon. That means that this night isn’t a full moon, which means that this is the first time Jack has transformed outside of the three days a month he’s supposed to. That is a key bit of lore and a first for him as well. I do hope that it is something we’ll see get picked up in his own Werewolf by Night title as storytelling there gets further constrained by the full moon. For now, though, it’s good enough that we have the option.

We learn that Jack, Lissa and Buck attended the show of a magician named Moondark, who hypnotized everyone but our resident werewolf. When Moondark tries to do the same to him, Jack wound up falling unconscious and was taken to the magician’s dressing room – because unlike other villains, Moondark’s too cheap to afford a good lair. Regardless, whatever Moondark is doing, he needs Jack to do it and thus, uses his magic to forcefully change him into a werewolf – full moon be damned. Moondark seems well aware of Spider-Man being the type of guy who stops villains like him and with a werewolf under his power, sent out Jack Russell to beat the vigilante.

Aware that Moondark is the one he needs to stop, Spider-Man brings Jack Russell with him to the man’s theatre so they can put an end to his schemes. Unfortunately, being so close to Moondark’s presence turns Jack into a werewolf again and his battle with Spider-Man resumes. While Moondark is pleased to see the battle, Spider-Man proves to be much stronger than any villain, except maybe Krogg, that Jack Russell has fought so far. So, Spidey is able to beat back Jack and dodge him but actually getting him out of San Francisco seems impossible. Spider-Man is surprised to learn that Moondark thought he came to San Francisco specifically to stop him, causing him to point out he’d never even heard of the two-bit Baron Mordo before. Tackling Moondark through a portal, Spider-Man frees everybody under his control while also allowing Jack to become human again. While Lissa knows Jack is a werewolf, Buck at this point does not, so Jack comes up with a hand wavy explanation regarding what happened. In the meantime, we see what happened with Spider-Man and Moondark. Our hero caught hold of the bridge but just allowed the magician to fall to his death far below. Not really caring for the split magician as he says, Spider-Man just swings on to go find Daredevil and Black Widow.

I really liked this issue. It was a one off, but we got to see a Spider-Man who was a bit angrier, with jokes a bit more cruel and all because he’s obviously suffering. We got to see him meet Jack Russell and show how far beyond the werewolf he currently is. Gwen Stacy’s death has left an impact on him and it’s something that the next few issues of The Amazing Spider-Man will cover. In fact, that’s why I’m going to cover those issues in the next few Nights rather than leave them for later.

1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 56 – Death of the Monster

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, Frankenstein Vol 1 4, which stars the Monster created by Mary Shelley in her famous novel Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus for the Marvel Universe. Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog are continuing their work with this character and are expanding his story, since their adaptation of the character has finished.

Now, I don’t honestly know what to expect from this story. It has completely moved past the novel and everything we see from here on out will likely be designed to bring Frankenstein’s Monster further into the Marvel Universe. I wouldn’t be surprised if this issue sets the stage for an eventual team-up with Spider-Man or a battle with Count Dracula down the line. I do hope that it doesn’t lose the heart and the message about hard work and ambition that Shelley imbued in her novel.

Ultimately, this is one of Marvel Comics’ more forgotten horror series. It doesn’t go on for years like The Tomb of Dracula or Werewolf by Night, it lasts around twenty issues. So, we’re already a fifth of the way to completing this series. I know that Friedrich and Ploog don’t remain on this series for the long haul, but I do hope they stay long enough to give the character a firm foundation for his presence in the Marvel Universe beyond what Mary Shelley gave him.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

  • On August 27th 1795:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster swims to the shore of an ice shelf as he finds he has no purpose.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster opts to kill himself and then opts to find a place to burn himself.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds it difficult to actually kill himself and keeps on wandering.
  • On September 5th 1795:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds a Neanderthal village and sees food being roasted on a fire.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is overcome by hunger and starts eating the food being roasted.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is spotted by the Neanderthals, and they then attack him in fear.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds that the Neanderthals make even him look like a human.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster fights back against the Neanderthals as his enemies swarm him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster makes the Neanderthals cower with a display of his strength.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds the Neanderthals no longer fighting as their chief arrives.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes the Neanderthals are not surrendering with their chief.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes that to the chief, death is the only preferable surrender.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds a kind of budding mutual respect with the chief and him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds he is drawn toward the Neanderthals as they are outcasts.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is allowed to join the tribe of Neanderthals because of their chief.
  • On September 10th 1795:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself growing close to the Neanderthals in the village.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster notes that the Neanderthals accept him, and they are his allies.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster notes that he loves the Neanderthals and especially their chief.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster notes that the Neanderthals are more human than actual men.
  • On September 11th 1795:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster notes the great pride in which the Neanderthals is their hunting.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is trained to use a spear by the Neanderthals with great patience.
  • On September 15th 1795:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster goes hunting with the Neanderthals and they find a snow buck.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster spears down the snow buck and the Neanderthals all celebrate.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is overjoyed when he celebrates his victory with the Neandertals.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster dances with the Neanderthals to celebrate him killing the buck.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster hears a sentry alert the tribe of arriving Ungala Tribe warriors.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is shocked as the Neanderthals grow afraid of the Ungala Tribe.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster watches as the Ungala Tribe warriors attack the Neanderthals.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself proud to fight in battle alongside his new friends.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster quickly figures out that the Ungala Tribe’s victory is imminent.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes that only he stayed the Neanderthals’ final execution.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is swarmed by the Ungala Tribe warriors despite all his anger.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is badly beaten into an unconscious state by the Ungala Tribe.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster awakens among the dead after the Ungala Tribe finally depart.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds every Neanderthal but the chief to have been murdered.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster cries for the chief when he realizes that the man is set to die.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins carrying the dying chief to his far distant burial grounds.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster personally carries the dying chief in spite of all the difficulties.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is dismayed as the chief dies before he sees the burial grounds.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster cries for the chief before he constructs the man’s funeral pyre.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself praying for the chief’s soul when he cremates him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is shocked when the ice beneath him breaks and he starts to fall.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster drops into the freezing waters and realizes he now wants to live.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is entombed in the ice and eventually falls into a comatose state.
  • On January 26th 1898:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster awakens in pain in the wreckage but notes that he is still alive.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster wonders if his companions have survived or if he is alone again.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster forces the debris off of himself so he can find his companions.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds Sean Farrell alive but wounded underneath some debris.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds Robert Walton IV alive but nearly crushed under debris.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster gets Sean Farrell to safety and then carries Robert Walton IV.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster refuses to rescue Canute when Robert Walton IV asks him to.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster points out Canute hates him and thus the Inuit is his enemy.
    • Robert Walton IV tells Frankenstein’s Monster that inaction is tantamount to murder.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tells Robert Walton IV he does not have the luxury to judge.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster makes a fire for Robert Walton IV and Sean Farrell to aid them.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster relents and returns to the wreckage and he finds Canute’s body.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster brings Canute unto Robert Walton IV before he buries the man.
    • Robert Walton IV tells Frankenstein’s Monster he fears which of them will succumb next.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster insists that Robert Walton IV and Sean Farrell must both survive.
    • Robert Walton IV points out to Frankenstein’s Monster that he and Sean Farrell will die.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tells Robert Walton IV that those with the will to live must live.
    • Robert Walton IV thanks Frankenstein’s Monster’s loyalty but points out it is hopeless.
    • Robert Walton IV admits the thought that Frankenstein’s Monster will live is repugnant.
    • Robert Walton IV points out he cannot forgive all of Frankenstein’s Monster’s murders.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tells Robert Walton IV to rest because he must survive the night.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster heads to the shipwreck to find something to make a boat from.
    • Sean Farrell succumbs to his wounds much to the distress of a waiting Robert Walton IV.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster creates a rudimentary boat out of sturdy lumber that he secures.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster returns to Robert Walton IV and he learns of Sean Farrell’s death.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begs for Robert Walton IV to live while the man lays there dying.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is told by Robert Walton IV that the Frankenstein Family still lives.
    • Robert Walton IV begs for Frankenstein’s Monster to purge all the hate from his heart.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster stays by Robert Walton IV as the man dies due to his ambition.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster sails away on his crude raft to find Victor Frankenstein’s heir.

Analysis:

The story starts right after the previous issue, with Frankenstein’s Monster waking up in the wreckage of the rotted ship. Although he is in pain, the Monster decides he must find his companions because they aren’t superhuman and are much less likely to survive such a collapse. First he finds young Sean Farrell, who is clearly injured but alive. Then he finds Robert Walton IV, who is in pain but alive and rescues him after getting Sean to safety. When it comes to Canute, though, the Monster decides to let the Inuit die, condemning him as an enemy. When Robert begs him to reconsider, the Monster points out that he is in control and the captain without a ship cannot afford to question him.

Ultimately, though, the Monster gives in and gets Canute’s body, suggesting that there is a chance at redemption for this cold hearted murderer. However, he still does not understand that Robert Walton IV and Sean Farrell may be alive, but they are dying. The Monster still has this childish belief that will alone is enough to survive the frozen Arctic wastes. Robert Walton IV thanks the Monster for his loyalty but still condemns him for all the coldhearted murders he committed. The Monster heads on to the ship’s wreckage to try and create a boat to carry his companions away. On the way, he gets lost in thought and starts remembering his past again.

He recalls how he swam back to the ice shelf following the death of his creator, now lost with no purpose since his final revenge was denied to him. However, he finds it difficult to actually commit suicide and instead wanders until he finds a village of Inuit. No longer thinking about suicide but instead about food, he quickly starts eating some game they were roasting. He gets so into eating the food that he doesn’t hear the Inuit warriors return and attack him for intruding upon them.

And you know what… those aren’t Inuit. They are some primal tribe of humanoids. Let’s call them escapees from the past or something like a mildly evolved neanderthal. Even Frankenstein’s Monster calls them grotesque. This is probably for the best, I didn’t really trust Friedrich or Ploog to handle Inuit culture with great care. Either way, it means that this book is very quickly dipping into more fantastical territory and I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing more common Marvel tropes start showing up after this issue. Maybe in the future we’ll get a bad guy who for some reason wants Frankenstein’s Monster dead because he thinks it’ll land him a hot girl!

Either way, a burgeoning respect develops between the Monster and the Neanderthal chief that results in him being accepted among them. He even goes hunting with him and when he downs a deer, they all celebrate his victory. Overall, the Monster finally knows true happiness, the sort that he had during his friendship with the blind man in the mountain village. Unfortunately, as the Monster quickly learns, the Neanderthals are still human enough and another surviving tribe, the Ungala Tribe, has come to go to war with his friends. In actuality, these Ungala warriors seem more human than the Neanderthals, but they look almost Mongolian. That makes zero sense, so I’m assuming they’re just more evolved Neanderthals. Either way, the Monster fights alongside the Neanderthals even though it’s a losing battle. Even the superhuman Monster cannot resist for long and is soon badly beaten down. When he awakens, he’s surrounded by the dead and even the beloved chief will not last for much longer. So, he does what he must and starts carrying him all by his lonesome to the burial grounds that are ten miles away. There, the Monster cries for the chief and even prays for the man when he finally cremates him. Yet then, the grounds beneath the Monster break and he is sealed within the ice as he was when he found him way back in Night 53.

Back in 1898, the Monster has finished constructing a rudimentary sailing craft and then returns to the wreckage to check on Robert Walton IV and Sean Farrell. Unfortunately, Sean has died and Robert points out that he is fading fast as well. While begging the Monster to be better, Robert reveals that a descendant of Victor Frankenstein’s surviving brother lives and then succumbs to the folly that his ambition brought him. With that, the Monster sails away to locate the descendant of Ernest Frankenstein.

As a story firmly set in the Marvel Universe, this was a good issue, featuring a lot of emotion and a resonant theme about acceptance that most comics didn’t deal with. However, as an expansion of the legacy of Mary Shelley’s acclaimed novel, it isn’t the best. It certainly affirms my belief that Friedrich and Ploog, as good as they have done here, will not be able to match the heights Mary Shelley achieved and that is all due to their focus on the Monster and not the man.

Now, that will be all that I’m covering of the Marvel Universe’s adventures of Frankenstein’s Monster for now. I’ll get back to him soon enough, but for now, I want to cover some more werewolf madness.

1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 55 – The Monster’s Revenge

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, Frankenstein Vol 1 3, which is an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus but set in the Marvel Universe. Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog are continuing their work on this adaptation, which appears to be covering perhaps the most tragic part of the novel. Yes, the part where Frankenstein’s Monster murders Elizabeth Lavenza in revenge for Victor not granting him his mate.

Now, keep in mind, Mary Shelley never actually wrote a scene in which Elizabeth Lavenza is murdered by Frankenstein’s Monster. Her murder, strangulation I believe, happens entirely off screen during a time when Victor is awaiting a confrontation with his creation. I may be wrong, but I think there may be a scene where the Monster describes what he did, or a flashback of sorts, but it never happens in real-time in the novel. The above cover art depicts an event that never actually occurs in the book. We don’t know anything about Elizabeth’s death beyond what the Monster tells us in the book. Perhaps Friedrich and Ploog will expand upon that in the same way they are giving the Monster new life in his resurrection in 1898. Either way, I expect another issue which will mostly adapt the novel while briefly continuing the Modern Day storyline. Dang, that actually sounds like the entirety of Assassin’s Creed.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

(due to the nature of the flashbacks, I am simply adding everything, even events of previous Nights)

  • On August 20th 1789:
    • Victor Frankenstein bids farewell to his family and friends as he prepares for university.
    • Victor Frankenstein has his fiancée Elizabeth Lavenza promise that she will write often.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein to go study hard to make them proud.
    • Victor Frankenstein bids farewell to William Frankenstein and Henry Clerval as well.
    • Henry Clerval watches Victor Frankenstein leave and notes that the boy will do well.
    • Henry Clerval hopes that all Victor Frankenstein’s ambition will not destroy his future.
  • On September 5th 1789:
    • Victor Frankenstein begins studying to be a doctor at the University of Ingolstadt.
  • On September 5th 1791:
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his professor to slow down in spite of his great work ethic.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his professor he could very well work himself to his death.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his professor that patience is just as important as fact is.
    • Victor Frankenstein is brought to a cadaver and is taught how to dissect a human body.
    • Victor Frankenstein begins to grow more fervent in his desire to learn humanity’s secrets.
  • On July 20th 1792:
    • Victor Frankenstein decides that he knows more about human life than his teachers do.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides that he must undertake a mission to further his knowledge.
    • Victor Frankenstein begins raiding cemeteries for body parts from cadavers buried there.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides to collect cadavers from wherever he can, even the gallows.
    • Victor Frankenstein begins secretly experimenting on the cadavers he manages to collect.
  • On January 23rd 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein finishes recreating a human body from the cadavers that he collected.
    • Victor Frankenstein prepares to awaken the recreated human body as his new creature.
    • Victor Frankenstein considers just how long it has been since he embarked on his project.
    • Victor Frankenstein considers that he has nearly dropped out of university completely.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes his sacrifices will not have been in vain if his project succeeds.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes that he will have created life from that which was once dead.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes that he will have bridged the last gap that leads to immortality.
    • Victor Frankenstein declares that all mankind will benefit once his creature has awoken.
    • Victor Frankenstein gives his creature an injection out of hopes that he will soon awake.
    • Victor Frankenstein rages when his creature does not wake up fast due to the injection.
    • Victor Frankenstein assumes he has failed and he returns to his notes to correct himself.
    • Victor Frankenstein hears his creature awaken as his Monster and notes that he is alive.
    • Victor Frankenstein is shocked as his Monster heads for him but he winds up horrified.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when his Monster roars and demands that he stay away.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that his Monster will not obey his orders and then runs away.
    • Victor Frankenstein locks himself in his bedroom, horrified by what he wound up making.
    • Victor Frankenstein forces himself to fall asleep, exhausted and terrified of his Monster.
  • On January 24th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein wakes up just as his Monster enters his room after seeking him out.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified to see his Monster and finds his creation growling at him.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides that above all else, he must see that his Monster is destroyed.
    • Victor Frankenstein loses all sense of logic and smashes his Monster with a wooden chair.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the Monster unaffected and holds up a lit candle in defence.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified as the Monster grabs the candle with incredible power.
    • Victor Frankenstein retreats as the Monster becomes preoccupied with he candle’s fire.
    • Victor Frankenstein runs from his housing into the freezing night until he finally collapses.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster wanders into the forest and hears a wolf howling in the distance.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster notes he does not know how to survive or if he even desires to.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds the will to live and continues on through the cold forests.
    • Henry Clerval finds the collapsed Victor Frankenstein and realizes that he is almost dead.
    • Henry Clerval is shocked as he discovers Victor Frankenstein’s near catatonic condition.
    • Victor Frankenstein is thankful to see Henry Clerval and lets the man take him to a hotel.
  • On January 28th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins suffering from the cold of the forest and of great hunger.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes that he does not know if he can eat game in the forest.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes that he is conscious only of the emptiness within himself.
  • On February 4th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself suffering from starvation and notes that he is dying.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster refuses to die and persists on living despite not knowing how to.
  • On February 7th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is confronted by a hungry bear as he lies dying from starvation.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is attacked by the bear and they then engage in a savage battle.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds his will greater than that of the bear and then strangles it.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster consumes the flesh of the bear and then uses its hide as a coat.
  • On February 21st 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster stumbles upon a small forest village found deep in the mountains.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster remains at the edge of the village to watch those who live within.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster notes the family of a blind man, his daughter and her husband.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself desiring the companionship of husband and wife.
  • On February 24th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster hides in the shed of the old man and watches over the family.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins to learn the more he watches over the old man’s family.
  • On February 28th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster learns the old man’s family is struggling to keep up financially.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins secretly doing the family’s chores to give them some aid.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster elects to stay hidden so that he may avoid being shunned again.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster elects to continue watching the villagers to learn how to survive.
  • On March 4th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster watches the old man and his son-in-law discuss their sudden luck.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster watches the old man’s daughter and husband both go on a trip.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes he can befriend the old man because he cannot be seen.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster struggles with actually approaching the old man to befriend him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster sees a hungry wolf enter the old man’s home to try and eat him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster rushes into the house and then saves the old man from the wolf.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tends to all the wounds of the blind man to give him some aid.
  • On March 7th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster stays by the blind man as he recovers enough to ask questions.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is overjoyed when the blind man calls him kind and thanks him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes the blind man will be his friend until his family’s return.
  • On March 9th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster and the blind man become close and start joking with each other.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself able to laugh at the jokes which the blind man tells.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds that the blind man is excited to introduce him to his family.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster hopes the blind man’s family might accept him despite his truth.
  • On March 10th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is seen by the blind man’s returning daughter and son-in-law.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is attacked with an axe by the blind man’s scared son-in-law.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster fails to reason with the blind man’s son-in-law and dodges him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster runs as the blind man’s daughter begs for him to be murdered.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself driven to tears as he retreats into the forest again.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster blames his creator for his circumstances and vows vengeance.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is found by hunting dogs released by the blind man’s son-in-law.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster lashes out against the dogs to express his hate against humanity.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster kills all the dogs but is shot at by some of the arriving villagers.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster turns his attention to the villagers and throws a boulder at them.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster misses the villagers with his toss but is overcome by his own pain.
  • On May 20th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster arrives in Geneva and then murders William Frankenstein there.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster frames Justine Moritz for the murder of William Frankenstein.
    • Justine Moritz is arrested and condemned to death for William Frankenstein’s murder.
  • On June 4th 1793:
    • Henry Clerval notes that Victor Frankenstein’s fever has broken and he is now recovering.
    • Henry Clerval receives a letter from Elizabeth Lavenza in regard to William Frankenstein.
    • Henry Clerval learns that Justine Moritz was charged with William Frankenstein’s death.
    • Henry Clerval sadly tells Victor Frankenstein the contents of Elizabeth Lavenza’s letter.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified by the idea that Justine Moritz murdered his brother.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides to put his own problems aside to head home to his father.
  • On June 20th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein returns to the Frankenstein Estate in Geneva with Henry Clerval.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the happiness of his home shattered by his brother’s death.
    • Victor Frankenstein wonders if his Monster is actually the one who killed his brother.
    • Victor Frankenstein reunites with both Alphonse Frankenstein and Elizabeth Lavenza.
    • Victor Frankenstein tells Elizabeth Lavenza that he believes Justine Moritz is innocent.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein points out Justine Moritz had William Frankenstein’s pendant.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out that Justine Moritz could very well have been framed.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein informs Victor Frankenstein the courts dismissed his defence.
    • Victor Frankenstein sees that his Monster is spying on him from outside of his room.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that his Monster must have killed William Frankenstein.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that the Monster wants revenge and purses his creation.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster gone, leaving Alphonse Frankenstein confused.
    • Victor Frankenstein asks Alphonse Frankenstein when Justine Moritz will be executed.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein that Justine Moritz will die in one day.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein that Justine Moritz deserves her death.
  • On June 21st 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein resolves to discover a way to go rescue Justine Moritz and himself.
    • Victor Frankenstein is allowed to go see Justine Moritz in her cell before her execution.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds Justine Moritz praying and notes she is resigned to her fate.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes telling the truth would not save Justine Moritz from death.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes telling the truth would condemn him as being a psychopath.
    • Victor Frankenstein watches as Justine Moritz is hanged and blames himself for her death.
  • On June 22nd 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein leaves his home to go on an expedition into the Alps to contemplate.
    • Victor Frankenstein climbs higher through the Alps than he has before to seek a refuge.
    • Victor Frankenstein ignores that his mission will end with his death or that of his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein grows tired and weary and seeks refuge within a cave which he finds.
    • Victor Frankenstein tries to think of an answer to his problems while he starts up a fire.
  • On June 23rd 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein continues to think about his issue as he is located by his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when his Monster confronts him deep within the cave.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his Monster that he must die for his crime against nature.
    • Victor Frankenstein stabs his Monster with a torch and notes that flames did do it harm.
    • Victor Frankenstein seizes his rifle and shoots his Monster but he finds it to remain alive.
    • Victor Frankenstein is shocked when his Monster claims him to have unrelenting cruelty.
    • Victor Frankenstein is seized by his Monster, who refuses to let his creator explain himself.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his Monster that he will die after he finishes telling his story.
    • Victor Frankenstein begs his Monster to kill him, decrying himself as an accursed wretch.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster willing to let him suffer if he desires death instead.
    • Victor Frankenstein is let go by his Monster who denounces all of his creator’s suffering.
    • Victor Frankenstein is mocked by his Monster as the creature tells him all that happened.
    • Victor Frankenstein admits he has sympathy for the hate that the Monster experienced.
    • Victor Frankenstein asks his Monster why he killed his brother and Justine Moritz first.
    • Victor Frankenstein asks his Monster why he was not just murdered for what he did.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his Monster that killing him would have been too easy.
    • Victor Frankenstein is offered peace by his Monster if they will come to an agreement.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out his Monster is doomed to forever plague his conscience.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when his Monster asks for him to go create him a mate.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the Monster confused on why he will not create him a mate.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out he did not know what he did when he made the Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the Monster claims he owes him a mate since he is the creator.
    • Victor Frankenstein is overcome by guilt and he agrees to create a mate for his Monster.
  • On August 25th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein journeys with Henry Clerval to England so he can begin his work there.
    • Victor Frankenstein is secretly followed by his Monster, suspicious of what is happening.
  • On September 4th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein arrives in Orkney and rents a laboratory to work on a new creature.
    • Victor Frankenstein once again starts gathering corpses to get body parts for a creature.
  • On October 10th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his work in the laboratory too extensive to keep grave robbing.
    • Victor Frankenstein is met by his Monster and makes his creation go and rob body parts.
  • On March 5th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein sends his Monster out to go find him the fresh heart of a woman.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster murders an innocent woman to provide his master with parts.
    • Victor Frankenstein is brought the dead woman by his Monster and remains horrified.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out that his Monster killed an innocent so his mate may live.
    • Victor Frankenstein implants the heart in the new creature so that he may complete it.
    • Victor Frankenstein dismisses his Monster, refusing to have him nearby as it all finishes.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster wishing to see the new creature when she wakes.
    • Victor Frankenstein forces his Monster to leave while he brings the new creature to life.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when he sees the new creature wake and walk to him.
    • Victor Frankenstein murders his new creature so he may free her from the curse of God.
    • Victor Frankenstein wearily leaves the destroyed creature and he then departs his lab.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds his destroyed mate and cries for not having known her.
    • Henry Clerval visits Victor Frankenstein’s lab but he finds his friend’s Monster there.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster brutally murders Henry Clerval for being his creator’s friend.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster carries his mate’s destroyed body out from his creator’s lab.
  • On March 6th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein returns to his lab on thoughts on what he must go and do next.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified to discover the body of Henry Clerval within his lab.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that his Monster murdered Henry Clerval to curse him.
    • Victor Frankenstein is accused of killing Henry Clerval and lets the police arrest him.
  • On March 10th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein is tried for Henry Clerval’s murder and a witness is brought forth.
    • Victor Frankenstein is overcome by grief and he refuses to give himself any defence.
    • Victor Frankenstein is condemned after the witness claims he murdered Henry Clerval.
    • Victor Frankenstein gives into grief and he claims he killed Henry Clerval while he jailed.
    • Victor Frankenstein begs for his sentence to be an execution but is instead put in prison.
  • On June 25th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein has a terrible nightmare of his Monster while locked up in his cell.
    • Victor Frankenstein awakens as Alphonse Frankenstein visits him within his prison cell.
    • Victor Frankenstein is shocked to find that Alphonse Frankenstein is really visiting him.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein he obtained a letter that can free him.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein how the witness’ testimony was wrong.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds he is feeling better and more hopeful due to his father’s arrival.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein has Victor Frankenstein rest as he goes to secure his son’s release.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when his Monster crashes into his cell for a confrontation.
    • Victor Frankenstein briefly thinks his Monster is fake but accepts him as a horrible reality.
    • Victor Frankenstein tells his Monster to take his revenge by killing him and to be finished.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster wanting to inflict a much greater revenge upon him.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster now desiring to avenge the destruction of his mate.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out everything that his Monster has already taken from him.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster vowing to be there with him on his wedding night.
    • Victor Frankenstein is left alone by his Monster and he then remains all alone in his cell.
  • On June 16th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein is freed from prison by Alphonse Frankenstein so they may go home.
    • Victor Frankenstein remains pensive and silent as his father starts the long journey home.
  • On August 15th 1794:
    • Alphonse Frankenstein brings Victor Frankenstein to Geneva so that hey may heal there.
    • Victor Frankenstein reunites with Elizabeth Lavenza once back at the Frankenstein Estate.
    • Victor Frankenstein promises Elizabeth Lavenza that he will always remain alongside her.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein is happy to see that Victor Frankenstein loves Elizabeth Lavenza.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein hopes that Victor Frankenstein and Elizabeth Lavenza will marry.
    • Elizabeth Lavenza privately tells Victor Frankenstein her hope that they can get married.
    • Victor Frankenstein tells Elizabeth Lavenza that their love is all which has kept him living.
    • Victor Frankenstein tells Elizabeth Lavenza that he will be wed with her no matter what.
    • Victor Frankenstein kisses Elizabeth Lavenza, unaware his pursuant Monster is watching.
  • On August 20th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein marries Elizabeth Lavenza and dares to hope that they can be happy.
    • Victor Frankenstein and Elizabeth Lavenza head off to a tiny Genevan village to be alone.
    • Victor Frankenstein and Elizabeth Lavenza both rent out a cottage for their wedding night.
    • Victor Frankenstein is overcome by paranoia and opts to search for and kill his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein arms himself and heads to the dock to see if his Monster is coming.
    • Victor Frankenstein fails to find his Monster and then opts to return to Elizabeth Lavenza.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster makes it to the cottage and finds Elizabeth Lavenza is all alone.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster feels sympathy for Elizabeth Lavenza but is overcome by anger.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster attacks and strangles Elizabeth Lavenza so he may have revenge.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is ashamed by his murder and leaves Elizabeth Lavenza’s body.
    • Victor Frankenstein returns to the cottage and is horrified by Elizabeth Lavenza’s body.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster hears his creator scream and finds himself feeling pity for him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster flees from the village in revulsion at the act which he just did.
  • On August 23rd 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein stays by Elizabeth Lavenza’s grave before finally returning home.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told that Alphonse Frankenstein is succumbing to his great grief.
  • On August 26th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein remains by Alphonse Frankenstein’s side until his father finally dies.
    • Victor Frankenstein is committed to an asylum after he is overcome by all his great grief.
  • On October 20th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein is released from the asylum, vowing that he will murder his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his doctor hoping that his obsession will not be what kills him.
    • Victor Frankenstein gathers his belongings and then begins hunting down his Monster.
  • On August 5th 1795:
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes his Monster is heading into the Arctic wastes to die there.
    • Victor Frankenstein proclaims he will capture and kill his Monster even if he also dies.
    • Victor Frankenstein reaches a trading post and is finds a trader who saw his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein purchases a sled and dogs from the trader to pursue his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein begins chasing his Monster deep into the Arctic wastes to kill him.
  • On August 19th 1795:
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster’s footprints and notes that his hunt is at an end.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster waiting for him and he then arms himself again.
    • Victor Frankenstein prepares to shoot his Monster dead so they may both have peace.
    • Victor Frankenstein is separated from his Monster as an ice sheet breaks between them.
    • Victor Frankenstein is incensed at being denied killing his Monster, who accepts it as fate.
    • Victor Frankenstein vows that his Monster’s end must be more horrible than his own is.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster decides his revenge is complete is Victor Frankenstein is dying.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster watches as Robert Walton’s ship passes by Victor Frankenstein.
    • Robert Walton rescues Victor Frankenstein and begins caring for him so he may survive.
    • Victor Frankenstein begins telling Robert Walton his story as a means of thanks for him.
    • Robert Walton writes Victor Frankenstein’s story as letters to his sister to keep account.
  • On August 25th 1795:
    • Robert Walton is forced to turn his ship around after the expedition becomes too rough.
    • Victor Frankenstein succumbs to exhaustion and hypothermia and dies aboard the ship.
  • On August 26th 1795:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster boards Robert Walton’s ship and confronts the captain there.
    • Robert Walton tells Frankenstein’s Monster how he came too late to murder his maker.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster decides that he too must die if Victor Frankenstein is now dead.
    • Robert Walton denounces Frankenstein’s Monster as being little more than a murderer.
    • Robert Walton refuses to give Frankenstein’s Monster any sympathy for what he will do.
    • Robert Walton refuses to listen to Frankenstein’s Monster and then quickly gets his gun.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tells Robert Walton that he will die too as his purpose is ended.
    • Robert Walton vows to avenge Victor Frankenstein and then tries to shoot the Monster.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster narrowly avoids Robert Walton’s shot and hits him with a chair.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster fends off Robert Walton’s crew and throws himself overboard.
  • On January 10th 1898:
    • Robert Walton IV leads an expedition into the Arctic under a false scientific pretense.
    • Robert Walton IV recruits the Inuit explorer Canute into his expedition to guide his men.
    • Robert Walton IV recruits the boy Sean Farrell into his expedition to serve as a cabin boy.
  • On January 24th 1898:
    • Robert Walton IV fails to lead his expedition further after his ship winds up stuck in ice.
    • Robert Walton IV leads his crew out onto the ice to go and find Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV identifies Frankenstein’s Monster after Canute finds him encased in ice.
    • Robert Walton IV finds himself seeing hate for humanity in Frankenstein’s Monster’s eyes.
    • Robert Walton IV notes that there is much work to do but there is barley any time for it.
    • Robert Walton IV has his crew excavate Frankenstein’s Monster even as a storm brews.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his crew growing discontent and he realizes they are near mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV calls an end to the work and he allows the crew to rest while night falls.
    • Canute watches Robert Walton IV’s crew with suspicion that they will revolt nonetheless.
    • Canute offers to stand watch for Robert Walton IV, admitting that he mistrusts the crew.
    • Robert Walton IV thanks Canute but asks him to be careful lest they lose their great prize.
    • Canute stands guard by Frankenstein’s Monster to ensure that the crew will remain calm.
  • On January 25th 1898:
    • Canute falls asleep and he reacts too late to the ice by Frankenstein’s Monster breaking.
    • Canute fires a shot to alert the crew but many of them are still killed due to the ice break.
    • Robert Walton IV recovers and finds himself wondering if Frankenstein’s Monster is safe.
    • Canute watches the scared crewmen start to attack the frozen Frankenstein’s’ Monster.
    • Canute vows that he will not let the crewmen damage the property of Robert Walton IV.
    • Canute is beaten down by a crewman who proclaims that he may will murder the Inuit.
    • Robert Walton IV shoots down the crewman when the man descends into open mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV vows to the crew that he will murder anyone who goes close to Canute.
    • Robert Walton IV helps Canute to his feet and scolds the crewmen for their behaviour.
    • Robert Walton IV reminds the crewmen that they were chosen to not ask him questions.
    • Robert Walton IV informs the crewmen all they need to know is that he works for science.
    • Robert Walton IV has the crewmen pack up Frankenstein’s Monster as they plan mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV has the crewmen bring Frankenstein’s Monster into the brig of the ship.
    • Robert Walton IV remains in the brig where Canute and the young Sean Farrell remain.
    • Robert Walton IV is warned by a crewmate they will not aid with Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV is given coffee by Sean Farrell, who asks about Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV tells Sean Farrell he does not know if he should tell anyone of his truth.
    • Sean Farrell takes note of how horrifying the eyes of Frankenstein’s Monster actually are.
    • Robert Walton IV notes Sean Farrell might actually be his best choice to tell the truth to.
    • Robert Walton IV starts to tell Sean Farrell about the sordid story of Victor Frankenstein.
    • Robert Walton IV is interrupted by a crewmate who tells him a storm is overtaking them.
    • Robert Walton IV attempts to guide his crew to survive the storm but finds it is difficult.
    • Robert Walton IV is horrified as his crew takes Sean Farrell hostage and launch a mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV is told by his crew they will dump Frankenstein’s Monster overboard.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his crew is superstitious due because of Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV loses control of the ship as the mast snaps and then falls overtop him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins to thaw from the block of ice as he is thrown by a stove.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster unthaws when the stove causes a fire to spread across the ship.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster awakens and he takes note of the flames surrounding the ship.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster wonders if he has been reborn into flame or if he is within Hell.
    • Sean Farrell rushes through the ship to find safety but he finds Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Sean Farrell is horrified when he realizes that Frankenstein’s Monster is alive once more.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tries to calm Sean Farrell, but the boy runs away from him in fear.
    • Sean Farrell trips and falls unconscious and Frankenstein’s Monster then approaches him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster wonders if he should save Sean Farrell in spite of the boy’s hate.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster feels pity for Sean Farrell and saves him but a crewman sees him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster swats aside the crewman and then keeps carrying Sean Farrell.
    • Canute gets Robert Walton IV out from under the mast and he tells him they are sinking.
    • Robert Walton IV and Canute both see Frankenstein’s Monster emerge with Sean Farrell.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster pretends to use Sean Farrell as a hostage to stop the violent crew.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins climbing one of the ship’s masts while holding Sean Farrell.
    • Robert Walton IV refuses to let Canute to shoot Frankenstein’s Monster for Sean Farrell.
    • Robert Walton IV punches down a crewman who tries to shoot Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV secures a shotgun and threatens to kill anybody who advances on him.
    • Robert Walton IV is accused by a crewman of just going insane while they are all sinking.
    • Robert Walton IV tells the crew he will remain their captain until he is finally judged unfit.
    • Robert Walton IV starts telling the crew of Frankenstein’s Monster so they understand.
    • Robert Walton IV tells the crew how Victor Frankenstein wound up arrested in Orkney.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his tale to have convinced the crew to kill Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV attempts to tell the crew how great Frankenstein’s Monster actually is.
    • Sean Farrell wakes and realizes how human Frankenstein’s Monster is and lets him know.
    • Sean Farrell begs for Frankenstein’s Monster to give Robert Walton IV a chance to help.
    • Sean Farrell is horrified to see the sinking ship heading for an iceberg, finally dooming it.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his crew rushing for lifeboats as it fatally collides with the iceberg.
    • Canute tells Robert Walton IV it is too late for Frankenstein’s Mosnter for Sean Farrell.
    • Robert Walton IV angrily declares he will go down with Frankenstein’s Monster if needed.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster throws down Sean Farrell and then leaps into the freezing ocean.
    • Robert Walton IV catches Sean Farrell and he verifies that the boy survived being thrown.
    • Robert Walton IV gets Sean Farrell into a lifeboat with some crewmen so they can escape.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is seen swimming near the lifeboat by the superstitious crewmen.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster despairs as the crewmen ignore him and elect not to rescue him.
    • Robert Walton IV and Canute get on the lifeboat but fail to save some nearby crewmen.
    • Robert Walton IV finds the crew on the lifeboat are giving up and willing to just drown.
    • Robert Walton IV threatens to shoot down the crew on the lifeboat if they disobey him.
    • Robert Walton IV forces the crew to row the lifeboat away to try and get them to safety.
    • Robert Walton IV finds he is still focused on learning the fate of Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV finds that the crew is truly thankful to be rid of Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster grabs a hold of the lifeboat, horrifying the crew by still being alive.
    • Robert Walton IV is astonished to note how superhuman Frankenstein’s Monster truly is.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster vows that the crew will die for wishing his death for no reason.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster throws the entire crew overboard and then gets on the lifeboat.
    • Canute guards Robert Walton IV and Sean Farrell in case Frankenstein’s Monster attacks.
    • Robert Walton IV points out to Canute that Frankenstein’s Monster opted to spare them.
    • Robert Walton IV apologizes to Frankenstein’s Monster for how he addressed his saviour.
    • Robert Walton IV asks Frankenstein’s Monster why only they were spared from his wrath.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tells Robert Walton IV they must find refuge from the storm first.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tells Robert Walton IV where they must row to reach solid ice.
    • Robert Walton IV tells Canute they have no choice but to trust Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster, Robert Walton IV and Canute row the lifeboat to an ice shelf.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster leads his companions to the beached wreckage of their ship.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster, Robert Walton IV, Canute and Sean Farrell all rest by a fire.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster points out his companions owe him for having rescued them.
    • Robert Walton IV points out he cannot refuse the request of Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV finishes telling the story of Victor Frankenstein to his companions.
    • Robert Walton IV lets Frankenstein’s Monster talk about Elizabeth Lavenza’s death.
    • Robert Walton IV asks Frankenstein’s Monster what he did after his creator’s death.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster points out that the rest of his story is quite painful for him.
    • Robert Walton IV urges Frankenstein’s Monster to just continue the story for their sake.
    • Canute tells Robert Walton IV that the storm is about to reach the ice shelf they are on.
    • Robert Walton IV notes that the rotting ship likely will not resist such a terrible storm.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster and his companions are caught in the rotting ship as it collapses.

Analysis:

The story starts with the evacuation of Robert Walton IV’s sinking ship, which after undergoing a storm, a fire and a mutiny, finally hit an iceberg and decided to die. Getting on a lifeboat with the loyal Canute and the young Sean Farrell, Robert forces the crew to row away while Frankenstein’s Monster drowns. However, despite all of the danger, Robert keeps thinking about the Monster. He doesn’t have to think long because the Monster quickly grabs the lifeboat and gets rid of the crew, leaving only Robert, Canute and Sean aboard. Robert quickly calms down Canute and the Monster points out to the unruly captain not to call him ‘it’ and that he identifies as male. Strange little bit of identity confirmation there.

When Robert tries to learn why the Monster spared them, the zombified superhuman points out that they have much greater concerns. The Monster rows them to a solid ice shelf where a rotting ship coincidentally also got beached. There, the Monster has them huddle around a fire and demands Robert continue telling the story. It is kind of weird, even Robert points out the Monster knows the story, but agrees and continues the tale of Victor Frankenstein. The added benefit to this part of the retelling of Mary Shelley’s novel is that we get the Monster’s perspective on the events as well as Robert’s narration.

We see Victor Frankenstein was tried for the murder of Henry Clerval, with his laboratory’s landlady testifying against him. However, the proof clearly isn’t solid enough and coupled with Victor’s apparent insanity, he is instead locked up for several months. It takes the intervention of his father pointing out the inconsistences in the witness’ report to get him freed. However, when Victor’s father leaves, the Monster arrives to confront him on the death of his mate. The Monster vows to be there with Victor on his wedding night and then leaves him. I believe that the Monster’s promise actually happened to Victor earlier in the novel, but Friedrich has already changed things up and we can assume Robert Walton IV retelling changed from what Victor told his ancestor.

Victor’s father brings him home, where only seeing his beloved Elizabeth Lavenza manages to cheer him up. In fact, Victor decides to get married to her as soon as he can, having completely misinterpreted what his Monster actually meant. Why he misunderstands is a lot more clear in the novel if I recall, Friedrich unfortunately makes Victor seem like a complete dumbass. Now, Friedrich completely changes what happens next from the book but it seems to be a consequence of how he’s adapting the novel. Regardless, what occurs in both is fairly simple, Victor leaves Elizabeth alone after they marry to find and murder the Monster. Unfortunately, the Monster meant to kill Elizabeth and does so before Victor is able to murder him. Now, this is what completely turns me against the Monster. No matter how monstrous Victor’s actions as the modern Prometheus are, Elizabeth, Clerval and William were all innocents. You can justify William’s death since he and the Monster were both children of a sort. You can justify Clerval’s death since the Monster was overcome by insanity. You cannot justify Elizabeth’s death – that was cold, calculated murder. Three days later, Victor’s father dies of grief – the book explains it better, but essentially he loved Elizabeth like his own daughter.

Victor is committed to an asylum for treatment since after everything that he has lost, it’s understandable that he would go a bit insane. When he is finally released, however, the scientist is gone and the primal hunter has emerged with one goal: murder his Monster. It begins Victor on a months long pursuit of his creation, which leads him all the way to the Canadian Arctic. There, he uses a sled and some dogs to hunt down his Monster in an uninhabited part of the frozen wastes. When they find each other, they are separated by the ice sheet breaking. The Monster thinks the business is done, but Captain Robert Walton, on a powerful Arctic expedition, passes by Victor and rescues him.

Now, Friedrich again changes things between Robert Walton and Frankenstein. Walton actually sees the Monster before he rescues Victor and Victor does not tell the story as thanks, but rather as a warning. For in Walton’s obsession with finding a proper Arctic passage, he sees the same insane obsession he had before he made the Monster. When Walton is forced to turn back, Victor gives him and his crew a soliloquy on hardship and the glory of their mission before he dies. Friedrich omits all of that and just has Victor die to focus on Walton and the Monster’s confrontation. Even that confrontation has been changed by Friedrich. In the novel, Walton finds the Monster by Victor’s body and they have a talk that ends with the reanimated man deciding to kill himself before leaving. Here, Walton is found by the Monster, they have a brief scuffle and the Monster then jumps overboard and is frozen. That brings us to the ice shelf where Walton IV found the Monster back in Night 53. That, however, also ends the adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Anything from this point on will be akin to The Tomb of Dracula, a story using a character made by Mary Shelley, but not based on anything she did with him.

Before the Monster can reveal what happened to him after he jumped overboard, the storm reaches the rotting ship and makes it collapse. Hey, Robert Walton IV has been in this situation before, hasn’t he?

The next Night will continue to tell the story of Frankenstein’s Monster. This was probably the worst of the issues so far, likely due to how much thematic and emotional stuff was removed and changed around from the novel. I’m certain that the previous issues are as acclaimed as they were due to what was taken from Mary Shelley. Hopefully, with her work out of the way, Friedrich and Ploog can craft something amazing that is their own.

1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 54 – The Bride of the Monster

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, Frankenstein Vol 1 2, which is an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus but set in the Marvel Universe. Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog are continuing their work on this adaptation, which appears to be incorporating the Bride of Frankenstein somehow. I liked the first issue, but I cannot confidently say if that was because of their work or because it was Frankenstein. Overall, I’d say I was a bit disappointed, so hopefully this issue is a bit better.

Given that this is an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel, I doubt we’ll see the Bride of Frankenstein. When you hear that name, you think pallid lady with Marge Simpson hair and a skunk stripe. That was an invention of Universal Studios, whose first adaptation of the novel was surprisingly faithful. As time went on and the property became more valuable, the adaptations became what they are now. That doesn’t mean the Bride is a bad character. However, she is not a literary character. She is a cinematic character and in regard to horror cinema, is perhaps even more important than Frankenstein’s Monster – although not nearly as iconic. I believe Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein film does the best job at combining the Bride elements into the novel and it is a very well done movie. However, it’s been years since I watched it.

What happened in the novel is that Victor Frankenstein creates the Bride, but realizes that he’s pretty much condemning the Earth to a race of monster men if he does. So, he destroys it and that furthers the rate of the Monster. It’s not a bad decision and Victor certainly cannot be held accountable for what the Monster does after. But again, people have found plenty of reasons to call Victor the real monster. He’s a very complex character and it’s the complexity of characters that makes these novels published in the 1800s the classics they are today. Do I think most of them hold up to today’s novels? No. But Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein certainly does. Hopefully, Friedrich and Ploog’s adaptation will as well.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

(due to the nature of the flashbacks, I am simply adding everything, even events of previous Nights)

  • On August 20th 1789:
    • Victor Frankenstein bids farewell to his family and friends as he prepares for university.
    • Victor Frankenstein has his fiancée Elizabeth Lavenza promise that she will write often.
    • Alphone Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein to go study hard to make them proud.
    • Victor Frankenstein bids farewell to William Frankenstein and Henry Clerval as well.
    • Henry Clerval watches Victor Frankenstein leave and notes that the boy will do well.
    • Henry Clerval hopes that all Victor Frankenstein’s ambition will not destroy his future.
  • On September 5th 1789:
    • Victor Frankenstein begins studying to be a doctor at the University of Ingolstadt.
  • On September 5th 1791:
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his professor to slow down in spite of his great work ethic.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his professor he could very well work himself to his death.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his professor that patience is just as important as fact is.
    • Victor Frankenstein is brought to a cadaver and is taught how to dissect a human body.
    • Victor Frankenstein begins to grow more fervent in his desire to learn humanity’s secrets.
  • On July 20th 1792:
    • Victor Frankenstein decides that he knows more about human life than his teachers do.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides that he must undertake a mission to further his knowledge.
    • Victor Frankenstein begins raiding cemeteries for body parts from cadavers buried there.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides to collect cadavers from wherever he can, even the gallows.
    • Victor Frankenstein begins secretly experimenting on the cadavers he manages to collect.
  • On January 23rd 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein finishes recreating a human body from the cadavers that he collected.
    • Victor Frankenstein prepares to awaken the recreated human body as his new creature.
    • Victor Frankenstein considers just how long it has been since he embarked on his project.
    • Victor Frankenstein considers that he has nearly dropped out of university completely.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes his sacrifices will not have been in vain if his project succeeds.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes that he will have created life from that which was once dead.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes that he will have bridged the last gap that leads to immortality.
    • Victor Frankenstein declares that all mankind will benefit once his creature has awoken.
    • Victor Frankenstein gives his creature an injection out of hopes that he will soon awake.
    • Victor Frankenstein rages when his creature does not wake up fast due to the injection.
    • Victor Frankenstein assumes he has failed and he returns to his notes to correct himself.
    • Victor Frankenstein hears his creature awaken as his Monster and notes that he is alive.
    • Victor Frankenstein is shocked as his Monster heads for him but he winds up horrified.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when his Monster roars and demands that he stay away.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that his Monster will not obey his orders and then runs away.
    • Victor Frankenstein locks himself in his bedroom, horrified by what he wound up making.
    • Victor Frankenstein forces himself to fall asleep, exhausted and terrified of his Monster.
  • On January 24th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein wakes up just as his Monster enters his room after seeking him out.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified to see his Monster and finds his creation growling at him.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides that above all else, he must see that his Monster is destroyed.
    • Victor Frankenstein loses all sense of logic and smashes his Monster with a wooden chair.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the Monster unaffected and holds up a lit candle in defence.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified as the Monster grabs the candle with incredible power.
    • Victor Frankenstein retreats as the Monster becomes preoccupied with he candle’s fire.
    • Victor Frankenstein runs from his housing into the freezing night until he finally collapses.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster wanders into the forest and hears a wolf howling in the distance.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster notes he does not know how to survive or if he even desires to.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds the will to live and continues on through the cold forests.
    • Henry Clerval finds the collapsed Victor Frankenstein and realizes that he is almost dead.
    • Henry Clerval is shocked as he discovers Victor Frankenstein’s near catatonic condition.
    • Victor Frankenstein is thankful to see Henry Clerval and lets the man take him to a hotel.
  • On January 28th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins suffering from the cold of the forest and of great hunger.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes that he does not know if he can eat game in the forest.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes that he is conscious only of the emptiness within himself.
  • On February 4th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself suffering from starvation and notes that he is dying.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster refuses to die and persists on living despite not knowing how to.
  • On February 7th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is confronted by a hungry bear as he lies dying from starvation.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is attacked by the bear and they then engage in a savage battle.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds his will greater than that of the bear and then strangles it.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster consumes the flesh of the bear and then uses its hide as a coat.
  • On February 21st 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster stumbles upon a small forest village found deep in the mountains.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster remains at the edge of the village to watch those who live within.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster notes the family of a blind man, his daughter and her husband.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself desiring the companionship of husband and wife.
  • On February 24th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster hides in the shed of the old man and watches over the family.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins to learn the more he watches over the old man’s family.
  • On February 28th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster learns the old man’s family is struggling to keep up financially.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins secretly doing the family’s chores to give them some aid.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster elects to stay hidden so that he may avoid being shunned again.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster elects to continue watching the villagers to learn how to survive.
  • On March 4th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster watches the old man and his son-in-law discuss their sudden luck.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster watches the old man’s daughter and husband both go on a trip.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes he can befriend the old man because he cannot be seen.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster struggles with actually approaching the old man to befriend him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster sees a hungry wolf enter the old man’s home to try and eat him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster rushes into the house and then saves the old man from the wolf.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tends to all the wounds of the blind man to give him some aid.
  • On March 7th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster stays by the blind man as he recovers enough to ask questions.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is overjoyed when the blind man calls him kind and thanks him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster realizes the blind man will be his friend until his family’s return.
  • On March 9th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster and the blind man become close and start joking with each other.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself able to laugh at the jokes which the blind man tells.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds that the blind man is excited to introduce him to his family.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster hopes the blind man’s family might accept him despite his truth.
  • On March 10th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is seen by the blind man’s returning daughter and son-in-law.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is attacked with an axe by the blind man’s scared son-in-law.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster fails to reason with the blind man’s son-in-law and dodges him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster runs as the blind man’s daughter begs for him to be murdered.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds himself driven to tears as he retreats into the forest again.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster blames his creator for his circumstances and vows vengeance.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster is found by hunting dogs released by the blind man’s son-in-law.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster lashes out against the dogs to express his hate against humanity.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster kills all the dogs but is shot at by some of the arriving villagers.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster turns his attention to the villagers and throws a boulder at them.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster misses the villagers with his toss but is overcome by his own pain.
  • On May 20th 1793:
    • Frankenstein’s Monster arrives in Geneva and then murders William Frankenstein there.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster frames Justine Moritz for the murder of William Frankenstein.
    • Justine Moritz is arrested and condemned to death for William Frankenstein’s murder.
  • On June 4th 1793:
    • Henry Clerval notes that Victor Frankenstein’s fever has broken and he is now recovering.
    • Henry Clerval receives a letter from Elizabeth Lavenza in regard to William Frankenstein.
    • Henry Clerval learns that Justine Moritz was charged with William Frankenstein’s death.
    • Henry Clerval sadly tells Victor Frankenstein the contents of Elizabeth Lavenza’s letter.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified by the idea that Justine Moritz murdered his brother.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides to put his own problems aside to head home to his father.
  • On June 20th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein returns to the Frankenstein Estate in Geneva with Henry Clerval.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the happiness of his home shattered by his brother’s death.
    • Victor Frankenstein wonders if his Monster is actually the one who killed his brother.
    • Victor Frankenstein reunites with both Alphonse Frankenstein and Elizabeth Lavenza.
    • Victor Frankenstein tells Elizabeth Lavenza that he believes Justine Moritz is innocent.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein points out Justine Moritz had William Frankenstein’s pendant.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out that Justine Moritz could very well have been framed.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein informs Victor Frankenstein the courts dismissed his defence.
    • Victor Frankenstein sees that his Monster is spying on him from outside of his room.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that his Monster must have killed William Frankenstein.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that the Monster wants revenge and purses his creation.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster gone, leaving Alphonse Frankenstein confused.
    • Victor Frankenstein asks Alphonse Frankenstein when Justine Moritz will be executed.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein that Justine Moritz will die in one day.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein that Justine Moritz deserves her death.
  • On June 21st 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein resolves to discover a way to go rescue Justine Moritz and himself.
    • Victor Frankenstein is allowed to go see Justine Moritz in her cell before her execution.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds Justine Moritz praying and notes she is resigned to her fate.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes telling the truth would not save Justine Moritz from death.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes telling the truth would condemn him as being a psychopath.
    • Victor Frankenstein watches as Justine Moritz is hanged and blames himself for her death.
  • On June 22nd 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein leaves his home to go on an expedition into the Alps to contemplate.
    • Victor Frankenstein climbs higher through the Alps than he has before to seek a refuge.
    • Victor Frankenstein ignores that his mission will end with his death or that of his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein grows tired and weary and seeks refuge within a cave which he finds.
    • Victor Frankenstein tries to think of an answer to his problems while he starts up a fire.
  • On June 23rd 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein continues to think about his issue as he is located by his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when his Monster confronts him deep within the cave.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his Monster that he must die for his crime against nature.
    • Victor Frankenstein stabs his Monster with a torch and notes that flames did do it harm.
    • Victor Frankenstein seizes his rifle and shoots his Monster but he finds it to remain alive.
    • Victor Frankenstein is shocked when his Monster claims him to have unrelenting cruelty.
    • Victor Frankenstein is seized by his Monster, who refuses to let his creator explain himself.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his Monster that he will die after he finishes telling his story.
    • Victor Frankenstein begs his Monster to kill him, decrying himself as an accursed wretch.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster willing to let him suffer if he desires death instead.
    • Victor Frankenstein is let go by his Monster who denounces all of his creator’s suffering.
    • Victor Frankenstein is mocked by his Monster as the creature tells him all that happened.
    • Victor Frankenstein admits he has sympathy for the hate that the Monster experienced.
    • Victor Frankenstein asks his Monster why he killed his brother and Justine Moritz first.
    • Victor Frankenstein asks his Monster why he was not just murdered for what he did.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his Monster that killing him would have been too easy.
    • Victor Frankenstein is offered peace by his Monster if they will come to an agreement.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out his Monster is doomed to forever plague his conscience.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when his Monster asks for him to go create him a mate.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the Monster confused on why he will not create him a mate.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out he did not know what he did when he made the Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the Monster claims he owes him a mate since he is the creator.
    • Victor Frankenstein is overcome by guilt and he agrees to create a mate for his Monster.
  • On August 25th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein journeys with Henry Clerval to England so he can begin his work there.
    • Victor Frankenstein is secretly followed by his Monster, suspicious of what is happening.
  • On September 4th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein arrives in Orkney and rents a laboratory to work on a new creature.
    • Victor Frankenstein once again starts gathering corpses to get body parts for a creature.
  • On October 10th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his work in the laboratory too extensive to keep grave robbing.
    • Victor Frankenstein is met by his Monster and makes his creation go and rob body parts.
  • On March 5th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein sends his Monster out to go find him the fresh heart of a woman.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster murders an innocent woman to provide his master with parts.
    • Victor Frankenstein is brought the dead woman by his Monster and remains horrified.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out that his Monster killed an innocent so his mate may live.
    • Victor Frankenstein implants the heart in the new creature so that he may complete it.
    • Victor Frankenstein dismisses his Monster, refusing to have him nearby as it all finishes.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster wishing to see the new creature when she wakes.
    • Victor Frankenstein forces his Monster to leave while he brings the new creature to life.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when he sees the new creature wake and walk to him.
    • Victor Frankenstein murders his new creature so he may free her from the curse of God.
    • Victor Frankenstein wearily leaves the destroyed creature and he then departs his lab.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster finds his destroyed mate and cries for not having known her.
    • Henry Clerval visits Victor Frankenstein’s lab but he finds his friend’s Monster there.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster brutally murders Henry Clerval for being his creator’s friend.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster carries his mate’s destroyed body out from his creator’s lab.
  • On March 6th 1794:
    • Victor Frankenstein returns to his lab on thoughts on what he must go and do next.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified to discover the body of Henry Clerval within his lab.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that his Monster murdered Henry Clerval to curse him.
    • Victor Frankenstein is accused of killing Henry Clerval and lets the police arrest him.
  • On January 10th 1898:
    • Robert Walton IV leads an expedition into the Arctic under a false scientific pretense.
    • Robert Walton IV recruits the Inuit explorer Canute into his expedition to guide his men.
    • Robert Walton IV recruits the boy Sean Farrell into his expedition to serve as a cabin boy.
  • On January 24th 1898:
    • Robert Walton IV fails to lead his expedition further after his ship winds up stuck in ice.
    • Robert Walton IV leads his crew out onto the ice to go and find Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV identifies Frankenstein’s Monster after Canute finds him encased in ice.
    • Robert Walton IV finds himself seeing hate for humanity in Frankenstein’s Monster’s eyes.
    • Robert Walton IV notes that there is much work to do but there is barley any time for it.
    • Robert Walton IV has his crew excavate Frankenstein’s Monster even as a storm brews.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his crew growing discontent and he realizes they are near mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV calls an end to the work and he allows the crew to rest while night falls.
    • Canute watches Robert Walton IV’s crew with suspicion that they will revolt nonetheless.
    • Canute offers to stand watch for Robert Walton IV, admitting that he mistrusts the crew.
    • Robert Walton IV thanks Canute but asks him to be careful lest they lose their great prize.
    • Canute stands guard by Frankenstein’s Monster to ensure that the crew will remain calm.
  • On January 25th 1898:
    • Canute falls asleep and he reacts too late to the ice by Frankenstein’s Monster breaking.
    • Canute fires a shot to alert the crew but many of them are still killed due to the ice break.
    • Robert Walton IV recovers and finds himself wondering if Frankenstein’s Monster is safe.
    • Canute watches the scared crewmen start to attack the frozen Frankenstein’s’ Monster.
    • Canute vows that he will not let the crewmen damage the property of Robert Walton IV.
    • Canute is beaten down by a crewman who proclaims that he may will murder the Inuit.
    • Robert Walton IV shoots down the crewman when the man descends into open mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV vows to the crew that he will murder anyone who goes close to Canute.
    • Robert Walton IV helps Canute to his feet and scolds the crewmen for their behaviour.
    • Robert Walton IV reminds the crewmen that they were chosen to not ask him questions.
    • Robert Walton IV informs the crewmen all they need to know is that he works for science.
    • Robert Walton IV has the crewmen pack up Frankenstein’s Monster as they plan mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV has the crewmen bring Frankenstein’s Monster into the brig of the ship.
    • Robert Walton IV remains in the brig where Canute and the young Sean Farrell remain.
    • Robert Walton IV is warned by a crewmate they will not aid with Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV is given coffee by Sean Farrell, who asks about Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV tells Sean Farrell he does not know if he should tell anyone of his truth.
    • Sean Farrell takes note of how horrifying the eyes of Frankenstein’s Monster actually are.
    • Robert Walton IV notes Sean Farrell might actually be his best choice to tell the truth to.
    • Robert Walton IV starts to tell Sean Farrell about the sordid story of Victor Frankenstein.
    • Robert Walton IV is interrupted by a crewmate who tells him a storm is overtaking them.
    • Robert Walton IV attempts to guide his crew to survive the storm but finds it is difficult.
    • Robert Walton IV is horrified as his crew takes Sean Farrell hostage and launch a mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV is told by his crew they will dump Frankenstein’s Monster overboard.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his crew is superstitious due because of Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV loses control of the ship as the mast snaps and then falls overtop him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins to thaw from the block of ice as he is thrown by a stove.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster unthaws when the stove causes a fire to spread across the ship.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster awakens and he takes note of the flames surrounding the ship.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster wonders if he has been reborn into flame or if he is within Hell.
    • Sean Farrell rushes through the ship to find safety but he finds Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Sean Farrell is horrified when he realizes that Frankenstein’s Monster is alive once more.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster tries to calm Sean Farrell, but the boy runs away from him in fear.
    • Sean Farrell trips and falls unconscious and Frankenstein’s Monster then approaches him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster wonders if he should save Sean Farrell in spite of the boy’s hate.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster feels pity for Sean Farrell and saves him but a crewman sees him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster swats aside the crewman and then keeps carrying Sean Farrell.
    • Canute gets Robert Walton IV out from under the mast and he tells him they are sinking.
    • Robert Walton IV and Canute both see Frankenstein’s Monster emerge with Sean Farrell.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster pretends to use Sean Farrell as a hostage to stop the violent crew.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins climbing one of the ship’s masts while holding Sean Farrell.
    • Robert Walton IV refuses to let Canute to shoot Frankenstein’s Monster for Sean Farrell.
    • Robert Walton IV punches down a crewman who tries to shoot Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV secures a shotgun and threatens to kill anybody who advances on him.
    • Robert Walton IV is accused by a crewman of just going insane while they are all sinking.
    • Robert Walton IV tells the crew he will remain their captain until he is finally judged unfit.
    • Robert Walton IV starts telling the crew of Frankenstein’s Monster so they understand.
    • Robert Walton IV tells the crew how Victor Frankenstein wound up arrested in Orkney.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his tale to have convinced the crew to kill Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV attempts to tell the crew how great Frankenstein’s Monster actually is.
    • Sean Farrell wakes and realizes how human Frankenstein’s Monster is and lets him know.
    • Sean Farrell begs for Frankenstein’s Monster to give Robert Walton IV a chance to help.
    • Sean Farrell is horrified to see the sinking ship heading for an iceberg, finally dooming it.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his crew rushing for lifeboats as it fatally collides with the iceberg.
    • Canute tells Robert Walton IV it is too late for Frankenstein’s Monster for Sean Farrell.
    • Robert Walton IV angrily declares he will go down with Frankenstein’s Monster if needed.

Analysis:

The story starts immediately where the previous issue left off, with Frankenstein’s Monster unthawing due to a fire caused by a stove that was thrown around when the ship he was on entered a storm. Before the Monster can take stock of his situation, he is found by Sean Farrell, who is understandably scared shitless. Sean conveniently knocks himself unconscious, and the Monster channels the spirit of the Hulk and wonders if he should save a boy that hates him just for existing. Sure enough, he does and then swats down a frightened crewman.

Robert Walton IV is rescued from the mast that fell over him by his Inuit companion Canute but at that moment, the Monster emerges with young Sean. Using Sean as a hostage, the Monster briefly holds the crew at bay and the begins to climb a remaining mast of the ship. Robert refuses to let Canute shoot the Monster because it’s clear such an action would also kill young Sean. He even beats down a mutinous crewman who assumes shooting the Monster will save them. So, in the face of imminent danger of a true innocent, has Robert begun to shed his ambitions? Is he becoming a better person? Or does he just care about securing the Monster? To hold the mutineers at bay, Robert begins telling them the story of the Monster. Ironically enough, the same story he was about to tell young Sean in the previous issue. Funny how he has time to do this while the ship is sinking. Friedrich may not have known this, but sinking ships tended to sink fast.

In the flashback, we see the Monster threatened to make Victor’s life Hell since death is what the mad scientist wanted. Denouncing everything that Victor has lost, the Monster begins to tell his own story to make his creator understand why he resorted to murdering a child.

As we learn, the Monster wandered into the cold forest. There, he very nearly died due to the sheer cold and starvation. But, he was attacked by a bear and managed to kill it. He ate the bear and fashioned crude clothes from its hide. He kept wandering and found a village, where he sympathized with a blind man and wished the companionship of the man’s daughter and her husband. He began secretly helping them, playing the guardian angel. Then, when the daughter and husband go on a trip, he saved the blind man from a wolf and they became friends just as he had so badly desired.

However, the Monster’s paradise cannot last as he is attacked by the blind man’s son-in-law as soon as the rest of the family returns. He gets away but does not blame the man who attacked him, but rather the man who made him. But the village is fully alerted by this time and they first send dogs after him and then hunters after he kills all of the dogs.

It is at that point that the Monster goes to Geneva, kills Victor’s brother, frames Justine Moritz and that brings us to the meeting between man and creation. Victor is horrified when the Monster asks him to create a mate for it. Overcome by guilt and a desire to be free of the Monster, Victor agrees and so the process begins once again.

Now, Wikipedia tells me that it is at this point that Victor travels to England. Friedrich and Ploog make no indication that he leaves Geneva, but I’ve listed his journey to England in the summary. I don’t know how long that took back in the day, but let’s say two months? Either way, I speculated on the time in the Summary but eventually Victor gets to work. He starts grave robbing. The Monster reveals himself to Victor after he kills a woman to speed up the process. I do not remember that happening in the book. Friedrich certainly made the Monster much more villainous. Victor makes the Bride of Frankenstein, which is not something he did in the book. However, he is horrified and quickly destroys her. In the book, he destroyed her on the brink of completion. Either way, the end result is the same and the destroyed mate is discovered by the Monster.

The enraged Monster kills Henry Clerval simply because the man is the friend of Victor Frankenstein. That murder was a bit different in the book, if I recall. Victor finds Henry’s body but with no other suspects, he is the one arrested by the local constabulary. It is at this point that Robert Walton IV finishes telling his tale to the crew. I imagine they’re all neck deep in water at this point bored out of their minds and only just realizing their dumbass captain has just condemned them with an inaccurate retelling of their brother’s favourite book. Unfortunately, there can be no resolution because the ship hits an iceberg. Oh yes, a burning, sinking ship in the middle of a storm also hits an iceberg. Man that’s some shitty luck.

The next Night will continue the origin of Frankenstein’s Monster. I did like this issue better than the debut issue. Friedrich and Ploog are doing a great job, but still, I feel more credit goes to Mary Shelley than it does to them. See you next Night.

1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 53 – Frankenstein

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, Frankenstein Vol 1 1, which is an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus but set in the Marvel Universe. This series reteams Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog and given that the last time we saw them was their fantastic work with the Ghost Rider, I can confidently say that this is the perfect series for such a creative team. I have to say, if you don’t know what Frankenstein is, you’ve probably been living under a rock or you’ve been extremely sheltered.

However, I shall give you guys a brief recap. Keep in mind, I read this book when I was in Grade 11 or Grade 12 – I can’t remember when – so I may go wrong with the details here. I expect that actually reading Freidrich and Ploog’s adaptation will remind me what goes on in the novel and what they change for the Marvel Universe. So, essentially Victor Frankenstein is a Genevese scientist (he’s Swiss) studying in England, I believe, where he runs an experiment that brings artificial life to a monster he makes out of corpses. He’s horrified by his invention and abandons the monster. He tries to go about his life, but the monster haunts him, demanding he make a bride. While Frankenstein does so, he destroys it out of fear he could make a race of monsters. This prompts the monster to kill Frankenstein’s wife, Elizabeth Lavenza, on their wedding night. The monster also kills Frankenstein’s brother – just a child – and his best friend at points in the novel. Frankenstein pursues the monster to the Arctic to try and kill him but instead catches hypothermia, is saved by Captain Walton and dies telling the man his tale. Captain Walton briefly encounters the monster, who opts to commit suicide, and then writes Frankenstein’s tale to his sister. Again, I think I got a lot wrong in that but the basic’s are right. I believe that the book was set in the mid-1700s, if I recall correctly.

Either way, a lot of people who read the novel like to say things like ‘oh if you read the book you’ll learn that the real monster was Victor all along’. That is absolute bullshit. Victor was negligent and refused to take responsibility. Hence, he was a modern man and thus, Prometheus with our failings. He may have been a gigantic asshole who ignored his own morals, but at the end of the day, he was not a monster. He didn’t kill anybody. Victor’s brother was an innocent, his friend was an innocent and his wife was an innocent – his monster killed all of them out of malice. Yes, he would not have if Victor had been there to teach him, to guide him and be as Prometheus actually was. But he was not – that is where he failed and he when he accepted his responsibility, he did not give up until it killed him. Regardless, I don’t want to go into an essay, but that’s my thoughts on who the real monster was in the book.

Now, I’ve said before that Friedrich didn’t really have a successful career at Marvel Comics until he started working on Ghost Rider. His stories before that were sub-par, not the best writing and kind of a drag. I don’t want to go into that again, but simply put, he and Mike Ploog struck gold with Ghost Rider. From what I have read about Friedrich, if Ghost Rider is his mot well known title, then Frankenstein is his magnum opus as a writer at Marvel Comics. It isn’t a long series, it only runs for about eighteen issues, and I don’t know if he writes all of those but from what he does write, it is apparently at the peak of writing quality for Marvel Comics in the mid-1970s. I also have no doubt that Mike Ploog perfectly captures the atmosphere of Mary Shelley’s novel for the Marvel universe.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

  • On August 20th 1789:
    • Victor Frankenstein bids farewell to his family and friends as he prepares for university.
    • Victor Frankenstein has his fiancée Elizabeth Lavenza promise that she will write often.
    • Alphone Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein to go study hard to make them proud.
    • Victor Frankenstein bids farewell to William Frankenstein and Henry Clerval as well.
    • Henry Clerval watches Victor Frankenstein leave and notes that the boy will do well.
    • Henry Clerval hopes that all Victor Frankenstein’s ambition will not destroy his future.
  • On September 5th 1789:
    • Victor Frankenstein begins studying to be a doctor at the University of Ingolstadt.
  • On January 23rd 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein finishes recreating a human body from the cadavers that he collected.
    • Victor Frankenstein prepares to awaken the recreated human body as his new creature.
    • Victor Frankenstein considers just how long it has been since he embarked on his project.
    • Victor Frankenstein considers that he has nearly dropped out of university completely.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes his sacrifices will not have been in vain if his project succeeds.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes that he will have created life from that which was once dead.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes that he will have bridged the last gap that leads to immortality.
    • Victor Frankenstein declares that all mankind will benefit once his creature has awoken.
    • Victor Frankenstein gives his creature an injection out of hopes that he will soon awake.
    • Victor Frankenstein rages when his creature does not wake up fast due to the injection.
    • Victor Frankenstein assumes he has failed and he returns to his notes to correct himself.
    • Victor Frankenstein hears his creature awaken as his Monster and notes that he is alive.
    • Victor Frankenstein is shocked as his Monster heads for him but he winds up horrified.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when his Monster roars and demands that he stay away.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that his Monster will not obey his orders and then runs away.
    • Victor Frankenstein locks himself in his bedroom, horrified by what he wound up making.
    • Victor Frankenstein forces himself to fall asleep, exhausted and terrified of his Monster.
  • On January 24th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein wakes up just as his Monster enters his room after seeking him out.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified to see his Monster and finds his creation growling at him.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides that above all else, he must see that his Monster is destroyed.
    • Victor Frankenstein loses all sense of logic and smashes his Monster with a wooden chair.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the Monster unaffected and holds up a lit candle in defence.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified as the Monster grabs the candle with incredible power.
    • Victor Frankenstein retreats as the Monster becomes preoccupied with he candle’s fire.
    • Victor Frankenstein runs from his housing into the freezing night until he finally collapses.
    • Henry Clerval finds the collapsed Victor Frankenstein and realizes that he is almost dead.
    • Henry Clerval is shocked as he discovers Victor Frankenstein’s near catatonic condition.
    • Victor Frankenstein is thankful to see Henry Clerval and lets the man take him to a hotel.
  • On March 4th 1793:
    • Henry Clerval notes that Victor Frankenstein’s fever has broken and he is now recovering.
    • Henry Clerval receives a letter from Elizabeth Lavenza in regard to William Frankenstein.
    • Henry Clerval learns that Justine Moritz was charged with William Frankenstein’s death.
    • Henry Clerval sadly tells Victor Frankenstein the contents of Elizabeth Lavenza’s letter.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified by the idea that Justine Moritz murdered his brother.
    • Victor Frankenstein decides to put his own problems aside to head home to his father.
  • On March 20th 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein returns to the Frankenstein Estate in Geneva with Henry Clerval.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds the happiness of his home shattered by his brother’s death.
    • Victor Frankenstein wonders if his Monster is actually the one who killed his brother.
    • Victor Frankenstein reunites with both Alphonse Frankenstein and Elizabeth Lavenza.
    • Victor Frankenstein tells Elizabeth Lavenza that he believes Justine Moritz is innocent.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein points out Justine Moritz had William Frankenstein’s pendant.
    • Victor Frankenstein points out that Justine Moritz could very well have been framed.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein informs Victor Frankenstein the courts dismissed his defence.
    • Victor Frankenstein sees that his Monster is spying on him from outside of his room.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that his Monster must have killed William Frankenstein.
    • Victor Frankenstein realizes that the Monster wants revenge and purses his creation.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds his Monster gone, leaving Alphonse Frankenstein confused.
    • Victor Frankenstein asks Alphonse Frankenstein when Justine Moritz will be executed.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein that Justine Moritz will die in one day.
    • Alphonse Frankenstein tells Victor Frankenstein that Justine Moritz deserves her death.
  • On March 21st 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein resolves to discover a way to go rescue Justine Moritz and himself.
    • Victor Frankenstein is allowed to go see Justine Moritz in her cell before her execution.
    • Victor Frankenstein finds Justine Moritz praying and notes she is resigned to her fate.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes telling the truth would not save Justine Moritz from death.
    • Victor Frankenstein notes telling the truth would condemn him as being a psychopath.
    • Victor Frankenstein watches as Justine Moritz is hanged and blames himself for her death.
  • On March 22nd 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein leaves his home to go on an expedition into the Alps to contemplate.
    • Victor Frankenstein climbs higher through the Alps than he has before to seek a refuge.
    • Victor Frankenstein ignores that his mission will end with his death or that of his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein grows tired and weary and seeks refuge within a cave which he finds.
    • Victor Frankenstein tries to think of an answer to his problems while he starts up a fire.
  • On March 23rd 1793:
    • Victor Frankenstein continues to think about his issue as he is located by his Monster.
    • Victor Frankenstein is horrified when his Monster confronts him deep within the cave.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his Monster that he must die for his crime against nature.
    • Victor Frankenstein stabs his Monster with a torch and notes that flames did do it harm.
    • Victor Frankenstein seizes his rifle and shoots his Monster but he finds it to remain alive.
    • Victor Frankenstein is shocked when his Monster claims him to have unrelenting cruelty.
    • Victor Frankenstein is seized by his Monster, who refuses to let his creator explain himself.
    • Victor Frankenstein is told by his Monster that he will die after he finishes telling his story.
  • On January 10th 1898:
    • Robert Walton IV leads an expedition into the Arctic under a false scientific pretense.
    • Robert Walton IV recruits the Inuit explorer Canute into his expedition to guide his men.
    • Robert Walton IV recruits the boy Sean Farrell into his expedition to serve as a cabin boy.
  • On January 24th 1898:
    • Robert Walton IV fails to lead his expedition further after his ship winds up stuck in ice.
    • Robert Walton IV leads his crew out onto the ice to go and find Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV identifies Frankenstein’s Monster after Cantue finds him encased in ice.
    • Robert Walton IV finds himself seeing hate for humanity in Frankenstein’s Monster’s eyes.
    • Robert Walton IV notes that there is much work to do but there is barley any time for it.
    • Robert Walton IV has his crew excavate Frankenstein’s Monster even as a storm brews.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his crew growing discontent and he realizes they are near mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV calls an end to the work and he allows the crew to rest while night falls.
    • Canute watches Robert Walton IV’s crew with suspicion that they will revolt nonetheless.
    • Canute offers to stand watch for Robert Walton IV, admitting that he mistrusts the crew.
    • Robert Walton IV thanks Canute but asks him to be careful lest they lose their great prize.
    • Canute stands guard by Frankenstein’s Monster to ensure that the crew will remain calm.
  • On January 25th 1898:
    • Canute falls asleep and he reacts too late to the ice by Frankenstein’s Monster breaking.
    • Canute fires a shot to alert the crew but many of them are still killed due to the ice break.
    • Robert Walton IV recovers and finds himself wondering if Frankenstein’s Monster is safe.
    • Canute watches the scared crewmen start to attack the frozen Frankenstein’s’ Monster.
    • Canute vows that he will not let the crewmen damage the property of Robert Walton IV.
    • Canute is beaten down by a crewman who proclaims that he may will murder the Inuit.
    • Robert Walton IV shoots down the crewman when the man descends into open mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV vows to the crew that he will murder anyone who goes close to Canute.
    • Robert Walton IV helps Canute to his feet and scolds the crewmen for their behaviour.
    • Robert Walton IV reminds the crewmen that they were chosen to not ask him questions.
    • Robert Walton IV informs the crewmen all they need to know is that he works for science.
    • Robert Walton IV has the crewmen pack up Frankenstein’s Monster as they plan mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV has the crewmen bring Frankenstein’s Monster into the brig of the ship.
    • Robert Walton IV remains in the brig where Canute and the young Sean Farrell remain.
    • Robert Walton IV is warned by a crewmate they will not aid with Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV is given coffee by Sean Farrell, who asks about Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV tells Sean Farrell he does not know if he should tell anyone of his truth.
    • Sean Farrell takes note of how horrifying the eyes of Frankenstein’s Monster actually are.
    • Robert Walton IV notes Sean Farrell might actually be his best choice to tell the truth to.
    • Robert Walton IV starts to tell Sean Farrell about the sordid story of Victor Frankenstein.
    • Robert Walton IV is interrupted by a crewmate who tells him a storm is overtaking them.
    • Robert Walton IV attempts to guide his crew to survive the storm but finds it is difficult.
    • Robert Walton IV is horrified as his crew takes Sean Farrell hostage and launch a mutiny.
    • Robert Walton IV is told by his crew they will dump Frankenstein’s Monster overboard.
    • Robert Walton IV finds his crew is superstitious due because of Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • Robert Walton IV loses control of the ship as the mast snaps and then falls overtop him.
    • Frankenstein’s Monster begins to thaw from the block of ice as he is thrown by a stove.

Analysis:

The story starts at least a hundred years after the ending of Mary Shelley’s novel, with an expedition in 1898 to Arctic waters by Robert Walton IV. Okay… that’s kind of circumspect. I don’t really remember at the time, but I do believe that the territory through which Walton IV is trying to go through was crown land given to the Hudson’s Bay Company at the time. Of course, there would be no NWMP/RCMP on patrol so far North, but there would be no reason to go on an expedition to charted territory. However, 1898 must have seemed so long ago in 1973 so I’m sure Friedrich just didn’t give a damn. But, it seems that the descendant of Robert Walton is going to play a pivotal role in bringing Frankenstein’s Monster into the Marvel Universe. Perhaps that is the secret purpose of this expedition, to find the monster of the fabled scientist that only his family knows is real, having told the story to Mary Shelley once and her then publicizing it with her novel. I don’t know, I’m just speculating on that one.

Either way, the opening page has Robert Walton IV leading his crew out to land after his ship gets stuck in ice. They wind up finding Frankenstein’s Monster – with Robert identifying him right away – so even if finding him wasn’t the initial purpose of the expedition, it is now. So, he has his crew, which is apparently full of cutthroats and killers, excavate the block of ice so that they can transport it. It’s clear that Robert took what he could get instead of hiring a trustworthy crew. So, when set to a task like excavating the Monster and transporting him while an Arctic storm is brewing, it’s clear that Robert’s pushed them to the edge of mutiny. Robert’s guide Canute knows they have been pushed too far, even as night falls, and offers to stand watch. Robert agrees to let him, but it’s clear that ambition has taken his eye and he cares more about losing Frankenstein’s Monster than his own life.

In fact, when the ice breaks and some members of the crew are killed, Robert’s first thoughts are whether or not the Monster is safe. Not, should I try and rescue my crew, check on their safety, secure the bodies… but is the Monster safe? The man is overcome by his ambition and it may not be as subtle as people might prefer it, but Friedrich has made him a good enough analogue for Victor Frankenstein. Canute seems fiercely loyal to Robert, perhaps it is because in treating everyone like a tool, he ironically ends up treating the Inuit with equality? His loyalty goes to the point where the crew almost kill him when he sticks up for Robert to save Frankenstein’s Monster. Unfortunately for Robert, killing one crewman to save Canute winds up causing the others to officially plan their mutiny. They do get Frankenstein’s Monster into the ship before they do anything, though. Once on the ship, Robert decides to confide in his young ward Sean Farrell and starts to tell the boy of his mission that starts with the tale of Victor Frankenstein.

As we get into the flashback, we see the day that Victor Frankenstein left his family to go abroad for his studies. Now, Victor looks like he’s in his thirties here. The book makes it clear there’s about a ten year gap between him and his brothers and they’re children, which means he’s actually a teenager when he goes to university. Regardless, Ploog does give Frankenstein a distinct look – I believe kind of inspired by one of the more popular film or television adaptations of the novel by that time – and everything does look very well done. I do not think that Friedrich is ripping any dialogue from the novel, but I’m sure he does at points – but I can’t identify where. Also, Victor’s best friend Henry Clerval looks very old – maybe he was in the book but I don’t remember reading him that way.

We get some glimpses into Victor’s time at university, which Google tells me is actually Ingolstadt and not Oxford (although I could swear he goes to England in the book). However, Friedrich points out to us how within two years, Victor becomes the star pupil at university. Everybody thinks highly of him, especially the greatest minds of Europe, but his professors note that he works too hard to discover too much. They advise him to slow down, yet push him further, telling him they will now be studying cadavers. So yeah, those mixed messages make Victor’s desire to learn how life works even greater than it already was.

Unfortunately, by Victor’s third year, this desire has become an obsession and he begins raiding cemeteries and the gallows for human bodies. Within six months of starting this sick pursuit, he has finally constructed the body of his creature. In fact, he’s severely neglected his studies at Ingolstadt due to this endeavor of his. Unfortunately for Victor, he succeeds and is scared shitless of the Monster when it finally emerges. So much so, in fact, that he locks himself in his bedroom to escape it. That doesn’t help and when he wakes up, the Monster is there, watching over him. Victor hits it with a chair, but that proves as effective as when Chavo did that to Batista. So, he tries to use a lit candlestick to defend himself and when the Monster is distracted by the fire, he runs away into the freezing rain. Obviously that’s also a shit idea, so it’s to nobody’s surprise when he collapses and becomes nearly unresponsive.

Victor is found by Henry Clerval and remains in the man’s care for a while, but when he wakes up, things have taken a turn for the worse. In the time that Victor was near death, his brother William was supposedly murdered by his guardian Justine Mortiz. Obviously, if you’ve read the novel, you know that the Monster found the boy after being abandoned by Victor and murdered him in a fit of rage after learning his surname. Victor is not at fault for what the Monster did to his brother, no matter what essayists and such may want you to believe. He is innocent of that. However, he is not innocent of what comes next.

On his way home, Victor is plagued with questions about his Monster and begins to suspect that Justine did not kill the boy she cared so much for. Of course, to learn more about Justine, read the novel. When Victor sees the Monster spying on him, his suspicions are confirmed that poor Justine is innocent from the execution that she will receive. Victor goes to see Justine to save her, but in the end, decides that telling the story of his Monster will not help her. So, when Justine is executed, that is Victor’s fault. Victor is left to blame himself for the Monster’s murders as many who analyze the novel even now do.

With Justine dead, Victor heads into the Alps on a hike so that he can contemplate what he must now do all by himself. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to contemplate for long because his Monster finds him in the cave to try and murder him. Victor stabs the Monster with a torch and shoots him but finds the Monster to be practically invulnerable. Victor is overcome by the Monster, who declares he will murder his creator after he tells his story.

With that, Robert Walton IV finishes telling young Sean Farrell the story as they are interrupted by a crewmate, who reveals that a storm is brewing. During the storm, the crew launches their mutiny to be rid of the Monster, Walton IV is nearly crushed by a snapped mast and the Monster begins to thaw.

With that, the issue ends. All I have to say is that it was a good issue, definitely better than Friedrich and Ploog’s work on Ghost Rider from a literary perspective. But you can attribute that to Mary Shelley more than those two. Was it better from an entertainment perspective? I personally would not say so. There’s a reason why it took me so long to finish this analysis. I understand the praise for this issue, but I didn’t really care for it.

So, while I would rather not do the next issue for the next Night, I will, because I have to.

1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 52 – Death From The Sea

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, The Tomb of Dracula Vol 1 9, which continues the story from The Tomb of Dracula Vol 1 8, which was covered in Night 48. So check that out if you need a refresher. However, to give a brief recap, Count Dracula tried to use a vampiric projector created by his acolyte Dr. Adrian Mortte to create an army of the damned. He failed after Mortte betrayed him and was forced to retreat when the projector broke. Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan are continuing what has become their fantastic saga with this issue and I have high hopes for it.

Now, what exactly do I want from this title? Honestly, I’m not really sure. After the fantastic way that Wolfman and Colan have handled their collaboration the past two issues, I feel like the ball is entirely in their court in regard to how we proceed. There is so much more that I want to see: like let’s learn more about Count Dracula’s character, see his antagonism with Frank Drake develop further and let us learn more about his past. For one point, Wolfman has taken the relationship between Rachel van Helsing and Frank Drake very slowly. He hasn’t given it really any focus aside from Frank calling her love at one point, which is reasonable because barely any time has passed since the start of the series. I’m hoping that if he continues to keep the series going at this break neck pace, he keeps them apart until he can properly figure things out. Then there is the enigmatic Quincy Harker, for him I am personally hoping that we learn more about his network of spies and such. But really, that’s more my hopes for the series as a whole at this point rather than just this particular issue.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

  • On March 17th 1973:
    • Count Dracula’s body winds up floating to the dock of Littlepoole and a fisherman finds him.
    • Count Dracula is hauled off by Dave Dunn and his friends, who note how heavy he truly is.
    • Count Dracula is taken to the church by Dave Dunn as he notes it is too late to see a doctor.
    • Dave Dunn finds Andrea Lee waiting for him at the church but tells her it is not time to talk.
    • Count Dracula’s body is placed in the very back of the church upon the request of its priest.
    • Count Dracula’s arm is briefly seen shaking by the priest but the man assumes it is nothing.
    • Dave Dunn despairs about nobody leaving Littlepoole as he puts Count Dracula on the pews.
    • Count Dracula awakens after Dave Dunn and his friends leave him alone in the church room.
    • Count Dracula is horrified to see the crucifix before him and he then panics at the sight of it.
    • Count Dracula quickly transforms into a bat and attempts to flee the church in his great fear.
    • Count Dracula fails to escape through the church windows and takes his human form again.
    • Count Dracula makes noises heard by the priest and the man allows him to leave his building.
    • Count Dracula rushes past Dave Dunn and Andrea Lee when he runs right out of the church.
    • Count Dracula collapses once out of the church after Dave Dunn fails to stop him from going.
    • Count Dracula notes that his arm is still hurting because of the poison dart of Quincy Harker.
    • Dave Dunn, Andrea Lee and the priest approach Count Dracula to try to learn what is wrong.
    • Count Dracula reveals how he ended up in Littlepoole but claims that he is getting stronger.
    • Count Dracula take sup the alias of Drake to keep the people from learning his true identity.
    • Count Dracula assures everyone that with a day of rest, his strength will be fully returned.
    • Count Dracula privately notes that he is still far too weak to actually depart from Littlepoole.
    • Count Dracula privately notes that Littlepoole is perfect for him to prey on while he recovers.
    • Count Dracula tells a curious Dave Dunn that he will stay in the town until he is able to leave.
    • Count Dracula refuses to stay in the church and asks if there is a boarding house available.
    • Dave Dunn offers Count Dracula a place to stay with him and his mother within their home.
    • Dave Dunn refuses to talk to Andrea Lee about him deciding to leave Littlepoole for London.
    • Dave Dunn finds that Andrea Lee is still upset about his decision to depart from Littlepoole.
    • Count Dracula joins Dave Dunn and suggests that he speak more strictly with Andrea Lee.
    • Dave Dunn informs Count Dracula that Andrea Lee is unafraid of speaking her own mind.
    • Dave Dunn tells Count Dracula how Andrea Lee is upset for him opting to leave Littlepoole.
    • Dave Dunn tells Count Dracula how all the people of Littlepoole seem to cherish the village.
    • Dave Dunn tells Count Dracula how he hates Littlepoole and all he wants to do is just leave.
    • Dave Dunn brings Count Dracula to his home and his mother gives the man some chowder.
    • Count Dracula is led to a room to stay by Dave Dunn and is given chowder for him to eat.
    • Count Dracula dumps the chowder once all alone, deciding that he must consume blood.
    • Count Dracula sees Andrea Lee but decides not to feast upon her after he recognizes her.
    • Gladys Fulton fends off the drunken advances of Corker Waller and then leaves her pub.
    • Count Dracula finds and feasts on Andrea Lee, converting her into a vampire by doing so.
    • Count Dracula returns to Dave Dunn’s home while Gladys Fulton rises again as a vampire.
    • Gladys Fulton baits Corker Waller to her and feasts on him, converting him into a vampire.
    • Count Dracula returns to his room in Dave Dunn’s home where the boy approaches him.
    • Dave Dunn apologizes for bothering Count Dracula but admits that he had to talk to him.
    • Dave Dunn asks if Count Dracula would take him along when he finally returns to London.
    • Dave Dunn again tells Count Dracula how dissatisfied he is with his life within Littlepoole.
    • Count Dracula tells Dave Dunn that his path is too dangerous to allow the boy to join him.
    • Count Dracula tells Dave Dunn that Littlepoole is better than what the rest of the world is.
    • Count Dracula tells Dave Dunn that he could be responsible for helping improve Littlepoole.
    • Dave Dunn admits to Count Dracula that Andrea Lee is what is tying him down to Littlepoole.
    • Gladys Fulton and Corker Waller find Andrea Lee outside of Dave Dunn’s house and attack.
    • Dave Dunn hears Andrea Lee scream and Count Dracula senses what is happening to her.
    • Count Dracula and Dave Dunn confront Gladys Fulton and Corker Waller to stop them both.
    • Dave Dunn angrily tackles down Corker Waller in his valiant effort to keep Andrea Lee safe.
    • Quincy Harker, Frank Drake, Taj Nital and Edith Harker watch as Rachel van Helsing trains.
    • Edith Harker notes how fervent Frank Drake is about getting to face Count Dracula again.
    • Quincy Harker receives an urgent phone call and notes that he and Edith Harker must go.
    • Corker Waller overcomes Dave Dunn and nearly kills him until Count Dracula intervenes.
    • Count Dracula mentally dominates Corker Waller and Gladys Fulton, making them retreat.
    • Count Dracula is seen making the vampires flee from afar by Littlepoole’s suspicious priest.
    • Count Dracula tells Dave Dunn and Andrea Lee not to question him and takes them inside.
    • The people of Littlepoole are angrily roused into a mob against Count Dracula by the priest.
    • Dave Dunn takes note of the mob nearing his home out of a hope of ending Count Dracula.
    • Count Dracula tells Dave Dunn and Andrea Lee who he is, before sending them to the mob.
    • Dave Dunn fails to stop the mob from chasing Count Dracula when he retreats into a forest.
    • Gladys Fulton and Corker Waller attack the mob but are then destroyed by those within it.
    • Dave Dunn lies to the mob about where Count Dracula is to give him a chance to escape.
    • Count Dracula approaches Dave Dunn and Andrea Lee to thank them for lending him aid.
    • Count Dracula admits that he would have killed Dave Dunn if the boy had betrayed him.
    • Count Dracula applauds Dave Dunn and offers to turn him into a vampire to follow him.
    • Dave Dunn refuses Count Dracula, deciding to remain within Littlepoole with Andrea Lee.
    • Count Dracula tells Dave Dunn he understands, hoping that one day the boy will join him.
    • Dave Dunn and Andrea Lee watch as Count Dracula becomes a bat and flies away to safety.

Analysis:

The story starts with a wounded Count Dracula being fished out of the waters in the night, with a group of people hauling him off to a church so that he can recover because it’s too late now for him to see a doctor. I’m assuming that this is a few hours after his battle with Mortte, so late enough at night for everything to have closed off but early enough for somebody to still be fishing? It’s probably not that long after midnight, either way. I don’t know, some people got weird fishing habits – seriously, not everyone fishes in the morning or afternoon. Man, if Dracula just didn’t get noticed by these people, then I guess the Sun would’ve eventually just taken care of the job for good old Frank Drake. One of the people hauling Dracula’s corpse to the church is a guy named Dave. He seems to have some issues with this girl Andrea, who’s waiting for him outside of the church as he’s hauling Dracula in.

While they know Dracula’s dead, they don’t know what kind of dead he is and once he’s alone in the church room, he wakes up and is more frightened to see the cross than people are to see him. Seriously, my man morphs into a bat and tries to yeet himself out of the church. It doesn’t work and he’s forced to become human and run out, scaring the absolute shit out of the priest, Dave and Andrea as he does so. As it turns out, he’s still pained by the poison that Quincy shot him with, even if he’s no longer at risk of being destroyed by it. When Dave, Andrea and the priest approach Dracula, he tells them how he wound up in Littlepoole.

This gives a neat little bit of storytelling from Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, where Wolfman uses narration to have Dracula tell a sanitized version of his story but via Colan’s art, we learn the truth. Honestly, if Wolfman and Colan keep up with the fantastic work like that, I would say that they could push this book into the upper echelons of Marvel Comics. At this time, their best series was probably The Amazing Spider-Man, although Fantastic Four and The Defenders were not far behind. When compared to their other series like The Avengers or Iron Man and such, this does indeed rank a lot higher than them already with three issues by Wolfman and Colan.

As we learn, Dracula fled following the death of Dr. Mortte despite being too weak to travel. He found some teenagers having fun in a nearby field and decided to feast on them to regain his strength. However, the teenagers bested him and forced him to retreat to town to find a doctor. Yeah, the poison really took its toll on Dracula. Honestly, it is kind of sad that the last Quincy saw of Dracula, the vampire was resisting the poison. It was a potent weapon but he likely thought it failed and isn’t going to try it a second time. Once in town, Dracula collapsed and is confronted by a motorcycle gang led by one Lucas Brand, as the Marvel wiki tells me. They completely beat the shit out of him and then toss him in the water, where he floats until he’s found at the beginning of the issue. In the story that Dracula tells, he makes his actions seem much more heroic and noble than they actually were. He also makes himself seem much stronger than he currently is.

Since he’s so weak, Dracula needs to stay somewhere but it’s clear that he isn’t going to stay at the church. Honestly, while Vlad the Impaler may have been a zealot, it’s clear that vampirism has changed him into one who hates God. Dave offers Dracula an offer to stay with him, which upsets Andrea because she wanted to talk to him about his decision to leave Littlepoole. Count Dracula agrees to go with Dave and suggests he be more sexist toward Andrea if he wants to keep her. Yeah, cause that will work. But, I can’t be surprised that a vampiric monster like Dracula has such tendencies. We learn that it’s also about six hours till sunrise, so yeah, it’s very early morning. Once in Dave’s home, Dracula quickly sneaks away as a bat to find somebody to feast on.

For some reason, likely due to the kindness shown to him by Dave, Dracula decides to spare Andrea and instead goes to find another target. Honestly, imagine if Dracula and Frank had a friendlier first encounter – there’s a chance that he never would’ve killed Jean Ovington and Frank may have joined him as he originally intended. Instead, he kills a barmaid named Gladys, who rises again as a vampire and kills a drunkard named Corker in her bar.

Dracula returns to the home of Dave Dunn where he has a talk with the boy about Littlepoole and the outside world. As it turns out, Dracula is actually fond of Littlepoole despite the devastation that he’s caused it in one night. He sees it as better than the outside world because it isn’t filled with evil people – whom he describes in a way that we might describe him. He suggests that Dave remain there with Andrea and change the town into what he wants it to be. This is a new side of Dracula we’re seeing, a more paternal side and perhaps how he wants to be with Frank. Unfortunately for everyone, Gladys turned Corker into a vampire and they’re both after Andrea. Dracula immediately senses what’s going on and rushes out with Dave to stop the risen undead. Fearing for Andrea’s life, Dave Dunn tackles Corker without knowing what he’s facing.

We then have a brief interlude where we shift to the Harker Estate, where Quincy Harker, Frank Drake, Rachel van Helsing, Taj Nital and Edith Harker are training for their inevitable showdown with Dracula. As it turns out, a few days have passed since the last issue. So, that means that Dracula was submerged under the water for at least two days? That’s kind of an insane implication to the true depth of his power if he was able to survive while still so weak. After all, he had to have been deep under the water before floating up to have not been destroyed by sunlight. Either that or it was raining for two days straight. This little interlude ends with Quincy getting an urgent phone call and deciding to leave with Edith.

Back to Dracula, he saves Dave from Corker by mentally dominating the new vampire and forcing him into a retreat. He then does the same to Gladys. Honestly, if this is what having Dracula for a friend means in the Marvel Universe, maybe it’s best to join him? I mean, he hasn’t been destroyed by Frank yet. Yeah, turning into a vampire and being forced to eat people would suck, but it’s better than being eaten by him? Plus, when you get destroyed, you turn to ash, so it might just be painless? However, while Dave and Andrea are thankful, it turns out the priest also saw and he knows what Dracula is now. So, he creates a mob and they surround Dave’s house to try and destroy Dracula. Rather than use Dave or Andrea as hostages, Dracula releases them to the mob and then retreats into a nearby forest. We note that time is now running out as daylight is fast approaching.

When the mob enters the forest, Gladys and Corker attack it but are quickly destroyed. Gladys tries tempting the mob with her body and mesmerism, but she’s not skilled enough with her powers to try and pull off such a feat. Dave misdirects the mob from where Dracula actually is and the vampire applauds him to the point where he offers to turn him into a vampire. When Dave refuses, Dracula just flies away, certain that one day, the boy will take up his offer.

Honestly, this was a very important issue. It was the first to feature Dracula in an anti-hero position and actually be the protagonist of the book. Perhaps it was necessary for Wolfman to do this, after all, how long can you write a book where the heroes fail to defeat the villain? By getting into Dracula’s head and transforming him into more than just the antagonist, but a force of nature who we as the reader can now also understand, we may not want him to lose. There may be times in the upcoming issues where we want him to overcome Frank or when we hate him for what we know he will do. But by giving us this issue, we understand what Dracula will do and if we were to re-read previous issues, I’m sure his interactions with Frank would retrospectively have even more meaning applied onto them. So, with this issue, Wolfman has likely breathed life into the series by making Dracula a much more complex figure and not just an antagonist – even if that is what he is.

Now, the next Night will be covering another famous literary character – perhaps more famous than Count Dracula? At this point, it’s just a matter of who you like more personally, I would wager. However, without spoiling exactly who it is, although I’m sure some of you can guess, I will say tune in for the next Night to find out.

1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 51 – The Lurker Behind the Door

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, Werewolf by Night Vol 1 8, which continues the story from Werewolf by Night Vol 1 7. Read Night 46 for more information on that issue, but to give you a brief recap, Jack Russell was been kidnapped by Swami Rihva and his circus but managed to break free of them just in time.

The first thing to note is that Len Wein is continuing his run on this series, however, Mike Ploog has unfortunately stepped down. This is unfortunate because Ploog really mastered what horror meant in Marvel Comics and I personally believe that he was up there with Gene Colan. It is going to be unfortunate to no longer have him on this title, but I’m sure that there was a justifiable reason for it. Taking on the art duties in Ploog’s place is none other than Werner Roth. Now, I don’t believe that I’ve covered Roth’s work here before. In fact, I believe he died shortly after this issue was published – so I don’t expect him to remain on art duties beyond this one. He was a talented artist, being the one who succeeded Jack Kirby’s tenure on the original X-Men book. Unfortunately, his run on the book had terrible stories and it didn’t become good until Neal Adams took over.

This issue, however, just going off of that amazing cover – which was done by Ploog – I am expecting will be much better. Yes, Swami Rihva was a mutant, but like the Kane Brothers, he was still a decidedly human opponent. Even earlier enemies like the mutant Marlene Blackgar and the cyborg Kraig or the chauffeur Maxwell Grant were all mostly human foes. Only the vengeful spirit of Aelfric was different in that regard, having been a dark soul bound to the Darkhold. So, we haven’t had that many supernatural enemies for our supernatural protagonist. Unless this Krogg is also a mutant, I’m expecting some demonic action here that is separate from Jack’s transformation. I’m excited to see what will happen when Jack as the werewolf finally faces off against an enemy that is just as savage as him.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

  • On June 20th 1973:
    • Lissa Russell gets to Buck Cowan and manages to break the man out of his hypnotized state.
    • Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell call the LAFD to put out the fire that is destroying the circus.
    • Jack Russell escapes from the circus and makes it to a cliff from which to watch it burn down.
    • Jack Russell watches as the arriving LAFD start to put out all the blazing fires of the circus.
    • Jack Russell finds himself confused by the burning circus before he retreats into the forest.
    • Jack Russell finds the status of Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell to no longer be that important.
    • Jack Russell decides to find food and he is attracted by some meet being cooked by hunters.
    • Jack Russell is overcome by hunter and winds up waking up the hunters as he eats the meat.
    • Jack Russell is shot at by the hunters and then attacks them for attempting to murder him.
    • Jack Russell grabs the rifle from a hunter’s hand and slices him, making his friend run away.
    • Jack Russell angrily destroys the rifle after hearing the hunter speculate that he will use it.
    • Jack Russell walks to the edge of a cliff, satisfied that he managed to destroy the weapon.
    • Jack Russell is shot down the cliff by the recovering hunter as the man seeks retribution.
    • Jack Russell winds up crashing to the bottom of the cliff while he is knocked unconscious.
    • Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell are thanked by the LAFD for calling them to save the circus.
    • Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell are told by an LAPD officer of the three bodies they found.
    • Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell are told by an LAPD officer that the circus troupe scattered.
    • Buck Cowan claims to the LAPD officer they only came out of their search for Jack Russell.
    • Lissa Russell assures the LAPD officer that they will be able to find Jack Russell very soon.
    • Jack Russell transforms back into a human as daylight comes and then quickly wakes up.
    • Jack Russell finds that he has a headache due to how Swami Rihva had him brainwashed.
    • Jack Russell considers going back to the circus to leave with Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell.
    • Jack Russell realizes he will become a werewolf again at night and should just stay away.
    • Jack Russell finds Krogg’s cave inhabited by a rabbit but he hears the demon soul moan.
    • Jack Russell goes to investigate Krogg’s cave and then finds a sealed door deep within it.
    • Jack Russell hears more moans behind the door and uses nearby tools to break it open.
    • Jack Russell finds Krogg’s chamber empty as the demon’s soul attempts to possess him.
    • Krogg finds he cannot psosess Jack Russell as he is a werewolf and possesses the rabbit.
    • Jack Russell assumes the moaning was just wind and decides to take some time to rest.
    • Jack Russell goes to the rabbit but Krogg has it run away from him so that he can plan.
    • Jack Russell discovers the body of Amos Treach in the chamber and he finds his journal.
    • Jack Russell decides that he will Amos Treach’s journal until he transforms once again.
    • Jack Russell learns how Amos Treach summoned, trapped and died all due to Krogg.
    • Jack Russell assumes that Amos Treach was lying since Krogg was not within the cave.
    • Jack Russell finds himself tired and decides to fall asleep instead of reading any more.
    • Philip Russell is phoned by the agents of the Committee but he refuses to cooperate.
    • Lieutenant Lou Hackett arrives at the Russell Estate right when Philip Russell hangs up.
    • Lieutenant Lou Hackett is informed by Philip Russell that Lissa Russell is currently away.
    • Lieutenant Lou Hackett tells Philip Russell that he is investigating reports of a werewolf.
    • Krogg manages to assume his true demonic form and sets out to locate Jack Russell.
    • Jack Russell wakes up as night falls and he considers that he slept away the entire day.
    • Jack Russell sees the rising full moon and then once again transforms into a werewolf.
    • Jack Russell once again sets off to find food but is confronted by the fully formed Krogg.
    • Krogg notes that while Jack Russell appears different he is the same one who freed him.
    • Krogg notes Jack Russell has his gratitude and he will repay that debt killing him swiftly.
    • Krogg leaps at Jack Russell but the werewolf manages to dodge the tackle of the demon.
    • Krogg notes Jack Russell delays the inevitable because he must consume him for power.
    • Krogg admits to Jack Russell that though he regrets murdering, he must keep on killing.
    • Krogg punches down Jack Russell but the werewolf manages to push the demon away.
    • Krogg is enraged when Jack Russell runs away and states he owes the werewolf nothing.
    • Krogg begins throwing boulders at Jack Russell to try and pummel the werewolf to death.
    • Krogg knocks down Jack Russell with the boulders and picks up a log to destroy him with.
    • Krogg tells Jack Russell how he is an elemental force with some shapeshifting capabilities.
    • Jack Russell rolls out of the way before Krogg is able to smash him to death with the log.
    • Krogg breathes fire to try and incinerate Jack Russell but the werewolf keeps on dodging.
    • Jack Russell strikes Krogg from behind and pushes the demon straight into a cliff wall.
    • Krogg continues to rant at Jack Russell but they are interrupted by investigating hunters.
    • Krogg easily overcomes the hunters and he kills them by draining their essence from them.
    • Krogg spots Jack Russell fleeing and he then once again resumes his chase of the werewolf.
    • Krogg chases Jack Russell back into the cave and he states that there is nowhere left to run.
    • Krogg confronts Jack Russell and notes that he was reluctant when they first started fighting.
    • Krogg proclaims that he will now take the utmost pleasure when he destroys Jack Russell.
    • Jack Russell leaps over Krogg’s head and the demon attempts to breathe fire to burn him.
    • Jack Russell dodges the fire and Krogg burns the cave roof, which makes it collapse on him.
    • Jack Russell assumes Krogg to be trapped and retreats into the forest to keep on hunting.
    • Krogg shapeshifts into he form of the rabbit again and escapes from the ruins of the cave.

Analysis:

The story starts where the previous issue left off, with Jack having escaped the circus as it burns. He watches from high above as the LA Fire Department gets there to put out the fires. Retreating into the forest, Jack decides to find food – with the scent of meat burning at a nearby campfire attracting him. Remember Jack, only you can prevent forest fires.

Unfortunately, werewolf Jack is super hungry and starts to have a feast with the cooked meat. This wakes up the hunters and starts a brief scuffle in which Jack kicks their asses and then destroys their rifle. However, one hunter sees him retreating and uses another rifle that he has to shoot the werewolf right off of a cliff. And Jack stumbles all the way down like Humpty Dumpty and remains in such a way until daylight comes and he reverts back to human. The hunters discuss trying to skin Jack for his pelt but they ultimately decide that it isn’t worth it.

Back at the destroyed circus, it appears Lissa broke Buck out of his brainwashing at the hands of Swami Rihva before they called the fire department. As it turns out, the LAPD officer on site found the bodies of Rihva, his assistant Mige and strongman Elmo but failed to stop Calliope Barker and his troupe from fleeing. Now, I didn’t mind the circus arc but I sure hope that they don’t become recurring enemies. They aren’t strong enough characters for that. When the officer asks why they came to the circus, Buck claims they were looking for Jack instead of pointing out he’s a journalist. Man could have just said he was investigating and gotten a good story out of his experience.

After the human Jack wakes up, he considers going to Buck and Lissa but recalls that it’s the final night of the month that he’ll be a werewolf. Instead of potentially tearing apart his mentor and causing his sister any further grief, Jack decides that he’ll just stay out in the forest. Going to a cave with nothing but a rabbit, Jack finds the little creature to be really friendly and it accompanies him as he investigates strange noises. He finds the strange noises to be coming from behind a door in the cave. Instead of leaving it well enough alone, Jack opens the door and releases whatever was inside. I’m guessing it was the soul of Krogg and that it possesses the rabbit because of how it runs away from Jack in the scene right after.

Regardless, Jack finds the journal of a skeleton named Amos Treach. Reading it, he learns that Amos was a pharmacist who dabbled in work as a warlock. However, Amos was no Dr. Strange and he summoned a greater demon in Krogg. Before he could take control, Krogg immediately ran away and started murdering people. Amos trapped Krogg behind the door in the cave and remained on guard there until he finally died. For some reason, Jack – the man who becomes a werewolf – assumes that the story was just that and goes to sleep.

We then shift to the Russell Estate where Wein picks up one of Conway’s lingering plotlines regarding the death of Jack Russell’s mother at the hands of the Committee. We find that the Committee is still trying to get more cash from Jack’s stepfather Philip Russell, but he is now refusing to cooperate with them. He takes this chance to continue the LAPD investigation plotline too, with Lieutenant Lou Hackett dropping by to question Lissa. When Philip points out that Lissa isn’t home, Hackett states that he is investigating a possible werewolf. Now, given that Lissa was taken from Joshua Kane’s home by the LAPD, it’s reasonable he’d go to her since she’s the one real lead that he has.

Meanwhile, the day is coming to an end and Jack wakes up just in time to transform into a werewolf. What if Jack stays asleep during the full moon, would the werewolf also remain asleep? It’s been months at this point and he hasn’t tried the most obvious solution. Well, he has, but it never works out and something winds up waking him up. Before Jack can get on the hunt, he’s confronted by Krogg, who has now assumed his full demonic form. Krogg thanks Jack for freeing him and decides proper repayment is a swift death. Honestly, if Jack was still human, maybe that’d be for the best – not a bad deal when confronted by a monstrous warped corrupted soul of a man.

Honestly, I love how monstrous and Wendigo looking Krogg is but at the same time, just how eloquent he is. It’s like if somebody super sophisticated went to Hell and then they turned into Krogg there. I also like that Krogg regrets that he must kill to survive, but as he attacks Jack Russell, admits that he must do it nonetheless. Even when Krogg punches down Jack, the wily werewolf keeps on fighting back, refusing to surrender to the denizen of Hell. When Jack runs, it’s hilarious to see Krogg call him ungrateful and demand that he return. Like… really? Jack doesn’t get too far cause Krogg hits him with boulders and then prepares to smash him with a log. Once again, though, Jack manages to get out of the way just in time. Krogg gets so incensed by this time that he attempts to incinerate Jack with his fire breathing but it doesn’t work out and this time, it’s the werewolf who gets the attack in.

The battle is briefly interrupted by the two hunters and they shoot at Krogg. However, the demon is not as kind to them as the werewolf was and he murders them by draining their life force. This supercharges Krogg and he easily chases Jack back into the cave where their rivalry began. However, in the cave, Jack escapes when Krogg winds up collapsing the cave on top of his own head. Assuming Krogg to be defeated, Jack leaps off into the night to once again enjoy his hunt. However, as we the reader learn, Krogg is in the form of a rabbit again and has escaped to stalk the nights again.

The issue ends there, but I managed to find the old letters column where readers mailed Marvel Comics about the series. There’s some neat gems in here to talk about.

The first is that this is Len Wein’s final issue. That sucks because he just found his stride and made a great villain in Krogg, who unfortunately probably will not be visited again. We learn that Conway is too busy to remain on this title and that Marv Wolfman will be taking over at some point and has already begun scripting issues. We learn that Mike Ploog’s commitments outside of work for Marvel Comics is what is removing him from the industry. Also, most important, an upcoming issue of Marvel Team-Up pits Jack Russell together with Spider-Man. That is the biggest crossover that horror comics will have with the more mainstream ones beyond Morbius being a spin-off character from the Spider-Man line or Daredevil and Black Widow briefly crossing over with the Man-Thing. I look forward to covering it here.

With that said and done, the next Night will take us back to covering Dracula’s adventures in England.

1001 Nights of Marvel Horror: Night 50 – Ritual of Blood

Background:

This Night covers the events of the comic whose cover is listed above, Werewolf by Night Vol 1 7, which continues the story from Werewolf by Night Vol 1 6. Read Night 46 for more information on that issue, but to give you a brief recap, Jack Russell has been kidnapped by Swami Rihva and his circus but he’s in the middle of a break out and if he can defeat some circus lions, he’ll be in the clear. Len Wein and Mike Ploog are continuing their duties on this magazine, so no change there.

What do I expect from this issue? I’m hoping that the circus plot gets dropped fairly quickly, if I’m being honest, and more focus is given into the Bloodgem that Swami Rihva holds. Just like the Darkhold, the Bloodgem is something that gains a lot more prominence in the Marvel Universe. Given, however, that Ulysses Bloodstone’s Bloodgem is a different one, I feel no obligation to ever cover his stoires. However, it still makes this story a bit more interesting because of that fact. Additionally, the previous issue introduced a police officer, Lieutenant Lou Hackett, who is investigating the werewolf – development of that subplot would be a welcome twist.

And so, read directly ahead for the Summary or head further down for my Analysis done in real-time as I read the issue.

Summary:

(note: dating is arbitrary and chosen based on year of release, nothing else)

  • On June 19th 1973:
    • Jack Russell roars as the lions attack him on the orders of Swami Rihva’s hateful assistant.
    • Jack Russell holds off one lion and throws her aside but he is quickly attacked by her mate.
    • Jack Russell struggles with the lion and he finds his strength growing while they both collide.
    • Jack Russell notes that the lions cannot defeat him because they are weak due to the circus.
    • Jack Russell wonders why the lions fight him as another joins the struggle to try to kill him.
    • Jack Russell gives in to his rage and vows that he will murder all of the lions who attack him.
    • Jack Russell finds the arriving strongman pulling the lions off of him to stop further fighting.
    • Jack Russell finds the entire circus troupe now watching the battle as he defeats one lion.
    • Jack Russell is forced to fend off a final attacking lion while the strongman also struggles.
    • Swami Rihva uses his hypnotic gas and he forces stop the lion from attacking Jack Russell.
    • Swami Rihva is allowed to walk past the circus troupe while the lions return to their cages.
    • Swami Rihva finds his assistant attempting to blame the strongman for the entire disaster.
    • Swami Rihva angrily dismisses his assistant and looks on jack Russell in the lion taming cage.
    • Swami Rihva has Jack Russell left in the cage as he decides that one is as good as any other.
    • Jack Russell howls at the circus troupe but is left all alone until he winds up going to sleep.
    • Jack Russell wakes as the strongman gets him, but he remains hypnotized by Swami Rihva.
    • Jack Russell follows the strongman as the man takes him back to the cage he was in earlier.
    • Jack Russell is told by the strongman how Swami Rihva was born a mutant within Nepal.
    • Jack Russell is told by the strongman how Swami Rihva was lower caste due to his power.
    • Jack Russell is told by the strongman how Swami Rihva got the Bloodgem from Kaman-Ru.
    • Jack Russell is told by the strongman how Swami Rihva requires some supernatural power.
    • Jack Russell is told by the strongman how Swami Rihva brought them to Calliope’s Circus.
    • Jack Russell is told by the strongman to help them and Swami Rihva may help him as well.
    • Lissa Russell has Buck Cowan bring her back to Calliope’s Circus to search for Jack Russell.
    • Lissa Russell tells Buck Cowan she does not think that the LAPD would assist Jack Russell.
    • Lissa Russell points out to Buck Cowan they also have no real leads to give unto the LAPD.
    • Lissa Russell notes they last saw Jack Russell at the circus and he might have even joined it.
    • Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell approach Calliope Barker but he lies on knowing Jack Russell.
    • Calliope Barker refuses to let Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell search around for Jack Russell.
    • Calliope Barker advises Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell return when the circus has opened.
    • Calliope Barker acquiesces after Buck Cowan threatens to return with the LAPD in tow.
    • Calliope Barker brings Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell to Swami Rihva so he can help them.
    • Lissa Russell recalls Jack Russell went to Swami Rihva and she demands answers from him.
    • Swami Rihva feigns ignorance but Lissa Russell sees Jack Russell in a cage behind the tent.
    • Buck Cowan threatens Swami Rihva while Lissa Russell rushes to try and free Jack Russell.
    • Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell find Jack Russell to have been hypnotized by Swami Rihva.
    • Swami Rihva telepathically dominates Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell to keep them prisoner.
    • Swami Rihva gives Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell over to Calliope Barker for him to use them.
    • Calliope Barker dresses Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell up to make them look like circus acts.
    • Calliope Barker presents Buck Cowan and Lissa Russell as acts once the circus finally opens.
    • Calliope Barker presents Jack Russell to the paying crowd once the full moon comes again.
    • Jack Russell transforms into the werewolf again and is enraged to see the crowd before him.
    • Jack Russell is enraged to see the crowd before him and then fails to break out of his cage.
    • Swami Rihva forces Calliope Barker to shut down the circus to keep Jack Russell contained.
    • Calliope Barker has the circus troupe surround Jack Russell before tranquilizing the beast.
    • Swami Rihva straps Jack Russell to a wooden table and he prepares to utilize his Bloodgem.
    • Swami Rihva notes how the Bloodgem was made by Kaman-Ru in order to hide his treasure.
    • Swami Rihva notes that if he sacrifices Jack Russell at midnight, then he will have everything.
  • On June 20th 1973:
    • Swami Rihva nearly sacrifices Jack Russell but is stopped from doing so the kindly strongman.
    • Swami Rihva finds the strongman unwilling to resort to murder to get Kaman-Ru’s treasure.
    • Swami Rihva rants at the strongman that now they must to wait a month for their sacrifice.
    • Swami Rihva allows his assistant to shoot the strongman and for them to murder each other.
    • Swami Rihva fails to allow the struggle from setting his tent on fire and freeing Jack Russell.
    • Jack Russell blames Swami Rihva for the strongman’s death and decides to take his revenge.
    • Jack Russell easily overcomes the circus troupe members who attack him for Swami Rihva.
    • Jack Russell tracks Swami Rihva down and the man takes Lissa Russell hostage against him.
    • Jack Russell looks Lissa Russell right in the eyes and seeing him allows her mind to be freed.
    • Lissa Russell scratches Swami Rihva in the eye and she makes him release her from his grip.
    • Lissa Russell assumes Jack Russell must have set the circus ablaze while in werewolf form.
    • Lissa Russell realizes Buck Cowan is still hypnotized and could die soon because of the fire.
    • Lissa Russell tells Jack Russell that she is going to free Buck Cowan to get him away to safety.
    • Lissa Russell urges Jack Russell run away and hide out until she can find him in the morning.
    • Jack Russell remains behind with Swami Rihva as Lissa Russell runs off to free Buck Cowan.

Analysis:

The story starts with a transformed Jack Russell defending himself against the lions controlled by Swami Rihva’s unruly assistant, the despicable Mige. Now, we’ve seen Jack fight wolves and dogs before, but a beast as big as a lion? Probably one of few things that could give the werewolf trouble. However, as Jack struggles against the lions, he himself grows stronger. I doubt it’s a Hulk situation where he gets stronger as he gets angrier – probably more of him just unlocking the full depth of his powers. Jack acknowledges that the lions struggle to kill him because they are circus bred and not as powerful as those in the jungle but finds himself wondering why beasts similar to him are fighting him. That only serves to increase Jack’s rage and he vows to kill all of the lions.

However, the battle is interrupted when Elmo, the kindly strongman, interferes and makes the lions stop attacking Jack even as the assistant rages. The battle only ends when Rihva, the circus fortune teller, uses his hypnotic gases to make the lions stop attacking Jack. With Jack stuck in the lion taming cage, Rihva beats down Mige after the troublesome assistant tries to blame Elmo for the disaster. Rihva leaves Jack in the cage, where he goes to sleep and then finally reverts back into his human form. Unfortunately for Jack, he’s just as hypnotized as he was before when he wakes up as a human.

However, during this time, we learn more about Rihva. The man was born a telepathic mutant in Nepal and was considered to be a part of the low caste – the untouchable caste. I don’t know if the caste system is actually a thing in Nepal, but close proximity with India means that it likely has some effect there. Even though Wein wasn’t intending this, it kind of makes Rihva a parallel to Professor X – they have the same powers but are separated by country and culture. Rihva is what Professor X could have become if he was born in a much harsher world. We learn how Rihva acquired his Bloodgem, why he needs a supernatural being like Jack to use it and how he joined the circus of Calliope Barker. Honestly, knowing this turns Rihva into a very complicated person. He’s not necessarily bad, but he’s known the worst of humanity and is just trying to take what he believes is his.

In the meantime, Buck Cowan brings Lissa Russell back to Calliope’s Circus so that they can try and find Jack Russell there. Believing the police are inept, Lissa refuses to let Buck call them and notes her belief that Jack has just joined the circus. Kind of like the wolfman in Penny Dreadful, huh? At first, Calliope Barker doesn’t want to let them look for Jack, but the threat of the police on his ass makes him give in. What does Calliope do? He takes them right to Rihva. I find that hilarious, it’s like: you got us into this mess, now you get us out. Lissa recognizes Rihva and demands answers, but he refuses to give them and ultimately, she sees Jack trapped in a cage behind his tent. Before she and Buck can free Jack, however, Rihva telepathically dominates them and lets Calliope turn them into acts for his circus.

As the full moon comes once again, Calliope again presents Jack to the crowd as a wild man and he transforms into a werewolf again. Jack is enraged by the crowd and tries to break free from his cage but he proves to be unable to do so. With him a werewolf, however, Rihva makes Calliope end the circus early and then tranquilize Jack on his behalf. When Jack awakens, he’s strapped to a wooden table while Rihva is readying the Bloodgem. Now, previous issue, we learned that Rihva was waiting for the third transformation – this is only the second one. But, it makes sense that he would try his scheming early in the event that Jack tries to escape once again. However, as I read on, I learn that I was wrong and that Rihva actually needed him on the third day – since he waits for midnight to try and sacrifice Jack.

However, Rihva is stopped by the strongman Elmo, who refuses to let him murder Jack, stating that no treasure is worth killing an innocent. This prompts a fight between Elmo and Mige, leaving both the strongman and assistant dead, the circus tent now on fire and Jack Russell free from his chains. The maint thing is, Jack feels kindred to the strongman and accepted the man as a sort of friend. While Rihva tries to escape, he makes Jack fight the circus troupe but he overcomes them and chases Rihva, blaming him for the death of the strongman. With his plan in ruins, Rihva takes the hypnotized Lissa hostage but looking at her feral brother allows her to break free of the hypnosis and shove the fortune teller away.

Judging by Lissa instantly recognizing werewolf Jack as her brother, I assume she fully remembers the events with the Kane Brothers. So, that unfortunately means that what I feared in the previous Night about character developing scenes between Jack and Lissa occurring off screen must be true. That sucks and I hope we get a glimpse into those conversations in later issues because Jack talking to Lissa about his curse and how it might affect her too is important. It ties into everything we’ve had in this series so far with the Committee and the Darkhold and their father, Baron Russoff. We don’t get that conversation here, either, because Lissa goes to free Buck while urging Jack to stay hidden until the morning. Again, two months have passed and there’s a lot of stuff we’ve missed because of that and I don’t like it. Well, maybe if somebody makes a throwback Werewolf by Night miniseries set in between the scenes of this volume, we’ll get to see those talks.

The issue ends with Jack scaring Swami Rihva into having a heart attack and just leaving the Bloodgem behind in the fire. The next Night will also continue the adventures of the werewolf Jack, since we still have one last full moon left to subject Jack to (unless Wein skips ahead by two months again). With that said, see you all then!