"Frankenstein Versus the Wolf Man: War Stories, Part Two"
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Tony Akins (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i)
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
As Bigby Wolf moves in to destroy the Frankenstein monster before the Nazi scientists can reanimate the undead monstrosity, we see the creature wakes up and makes it clear it's not a big fan of Bigby's efforts. What follows is an impressive clash between the two monsters, but while Bigby emerges as the eventual winner, he soon discovers that the Frankenstein monster was simply bait designed to lure him into a devious Nazi trap.
I suppose one's enjoyment of this issue is entirely dependant on how cool one considers the old school movie monsters to be, as I know several people who look upon those old black and white Universal monster movies as creaky and downright antiquate in their able to provide chills. On the other hand I have vidid memories of my first encounters with these films, and the delight that these were essentially the first comic book movies, with the monsters playing the role of the super-heroes. I also remember the delight I felt when I discovered that the monsters movies engaged in the crossover, as Dracula would encounter the Frankenstein monster and the Wolf Man, and being monsters they would often end up at cross purposes. Essentially the big draw of this issue is its clash between Bigby Wolf and the Frankenstein monster, and what the battle is a bit lacking when it comes to the imaginative use of it's surroundings, it more than makes up for when it comes to it's sheer brutality, as the two monster go at it in a gory display of violence. The issue also manages to make pretty good use of its evil Nazis, as we see they had a second, decidedly sinister plan that neatly addresses the one quibble that I made mention of in my review of the previous issue, as we learn the Franenstein monster wasn't never really seen as a weapon that would win them the war. Plus, the issue nicely plays up the idea that Bigby can be a very sinister character when he's called upon to be.
This issue features a battle between Bigby Wolf and the Frankenstein monster that runs for several pages, and the since there's no dialogue or internal thought captions intruding on these page, the power of this bout is entirely dependant of the art, and I have to give Tony Akins full marks for managing to capture the sheer brutality of this clash. I mean the panels that detail the fight perfectly convey the idea that these two are going at it full tilt, and there's a wonderful final moment where we see Bigby's at his most animalistic, as he beheads the creature. The ruthless nature of Sergeant Harp is also well presented as he deals with the enemy in a manner that can only be described as chillingly effective. I also have to give this issue full marks for its cover image as in addition to be a fun visual homage to the old style war comics, the big idea of the issue is on full display.
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