Review: Frankenstein #4

Frankenstein #4 cover
Cover by Mike Ploog

Frankenstein #4
Published and © by Marvel, July 1973

Title: “Death of the Monster!”
Synopsis: Stranded by an arctic shipwreck, Frankenstein’s monster ponders his back story while trying to assist his dying colleagues.

Writer: Gary Friedrich
Artist: Mike Ploog

Review: Frankenstein is one of Bronze Age Marvel’s better horror offerings. A great deal of the credit for this goes to artist Mike Ploog; while his interior work is not on par with this issue’s excellent cover, it’s still quite striking. A nod also goes to colorist Glynis Wein, whose palette work here is inspired. Not as positive is the contribution of writer Gary Friedrich. His script is overwritten, and his decision to deliver the back story as reminiscence saps this issue of dramatic momentum. Still, the lead character’s emotional and moral starkness gives this one a unique edge.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “Friedrich’s script for this issue had reached a point that perfectly captured the Nineteenth Century cadences of Shelley’s prose and lifted the Frankenstein strip far above any past (or, so far, future) attempt to adapt the character for comics.” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon: Expanded Edition,” 2021

Cool factor: Ploog’s art. He might still be a bit of a poor man’s Wrightson, but he’s one heck of a poor man’s Wrightson!

Notable: You can certainly see the the influence of the Comics Code’s lifting of restrictions on horror here: In addition to the title character, this issue includes ads for Tales of the Zombie and Dracula Lives!

Character quotable: “He is my enemy – and I choose to let him die!” – Frankenstein, budding moral absolutist

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Feb. 19, 2012.

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