Those that already miss Halloween need not fret, Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten have preserved the comedic horror of the supernatural in their well drawn, well written four part series Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein. Plagued by two mysteries, L.A.’s shrinking ghoul population and his own respiratory illness, occult detective Cal McDonald is hoping for a small win by finding a new set of eyes for a recently rescued Frankenstein monster. He must begrudgingly visit Jason Hemlock, a wealthy surgeon and self-proclaimed supernatural expert, who might be able to solve both the ocular issue and that of the dying ghouls.
It is remarkable to see how Steve Niles can transition from his emotionally poignant Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem to the dry, bloody humor of Cal’s macabre world. Some comics, at times, can be consumed by jokes and witty dialogue (cough-Quantum and Woody-cough), but Niles expertly balances morbid banter with paranormal plot lines to keep the story moving. Though he has been oft compared to DC’s Constantine, it is fair to say that after more than two decades in print, Cal McDonald has solidified himself as an entirely unique and different character.
Christopher Mitten‘s illustrations, though supremely different from Ben Templesmith‘s work on Criminal, are unique in it of themselves. The scratchy lines and sunken eye sockets add to the moody atmosphere of an unknowing Los Angeles fraught with undead dilemmas. Although Mitten could still afford to add more panels of a cloudy L.A. skyline or seedy side streets to expand the reader’s view of the city.
This four book series is a great starting point for Niles’ long-running noir horror detective series and will leave readers wanting more of the pill-popping, degenerate protagonist. If Eyes of Frankenstein isn’t bloody enough, look no further than the Criminal Macabre/30 Days of Night crossover trade that came out in September. Either way, for those dreading the Thanksgiving gourds and Christmas commercials, the ghoulish haunts of Halloween don’t have to go anywhere.
Story: Steve Niles Art: Christopher Mitten
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review