It’s October and that means it’s a time to have fun in the realm of the macabre, what better character to spotlight then than the DC comics’ version of Frankenstein’s Creature? Originally from the pages of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelly’s novel, Frankenstein, the Creature has become more known by his father’s name of Frankenstein. Some complain this is a misnomer but I see it as only fitting that Victor Frankenstein’s only son carry on the Frankenstein name. So for the rest of this article, and my life, I will refer to the Creature as Frankenstein. I think the guy should get the familial recognition he never got in the book. Spoilers for a centuries old story ahead, technically.
After the events of the book, instead of dying, the Creature Frankenstein swam his way across the Atlantic ocean all the way to America. If you haven’t gathered yet, Frankenstein is strong and tough as all get out. While in the Americas he finds a creature named Melmoth in 1870. Melmoth was the ruler of the Sheeda (remember them from the Shining Knight spotlight?) one billion years in Earth’s future but had gained access to time travel and wound up meeting Frankenstein in the late 19th century. Frankenstein fought Melmoth and stopped his use of maggot-hominids from taking over a village. Frankenstein would go dormant for years at a time, reviving when he was needed.
One such time had him awaken in the early 21st century to handle the return of the maggot-hominids along with a bullied teen who gains telepathic powers and uses them horribly. Now returned to the land of the living, Frankenstein heads to Mars using the same technology that brought the Martian Manhunter to Earth. While on Mars, Frankenstein frees children that had been imprisoned by Melmoth to work in his gold mines. Melmoth’s gold mine on Mars is worked by child slaves until they are rescued by Frankenstein. That is a cool sentence I just wrote. Melmoth is torn apart by Martian mantis-horses (so many great sentences) and with his dying breath, Melmoth lets Frankenstein know that it was not the electricity that brought him to life but Melmoth’s own blood purchased by his father, Victor. Melmoth’s blood runs in Frankenstein’s own veins.
Back on Earth, Frankenstein is contacted by The Bride (Victor’s attempt at creating a companion for Frankenstein and like most of Victor’s attempts at creating life failed miserably even when successful). She brings Frankenstein to the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive, or S.H.A.D.E. for short, and drafts him as an agent for a case. Now with S.H.A.D.E., Frankenstein heads to the distant future to fight the Sheeda where he defeats their fleet that can destroy whole worlds and is able to make his way back to the present day.
During the battles of the Infinite Crisis Frankenstein was able to fight off many monstrosities including General Eiling. During the Battle of Blüdhaven, Frankenstein proved quite helpful and was immune to Darkseid’s life-draining abilities since he is undead. When the reality of Flashpoint comes into existence, Frankenstein has his history changed so that he’s been active since World War 2, fighting Nazis then joining S.H.A.D.E. and leads the Creature Commandos (a group of monsters that also work for S.H.A.D.E.) They fight in the Amazon/Atlantis Wars.
The new 52 brings a Frankenstein that has worked with S.H.A.D.E. for many decades under the command of Father Time (who is an entity that always reincarnates in a new body, currently a tween girl). Partnered with the newly created Creature Commandos, Frankenstein deals with strange supernatural threats all over the planet. He must fight his own son and his own father, destroy a monster planet, stop an infinite monster, take control of the Grey much in the way that Animal Man must the Red and Swamp Thing must for the Green, and falls in love with fellow team-mate and creator of the Creature Commandos, Nina Mazursky who is also a gill-woman (Creature from the Black Lagoon style.)
Frankenstein, as a character, has always been one of my absolute favorites. I remember reading that book as a kid and seeing Victor’s obsession and disregard grant him a twisted form of success. I always felt terrible that Victor and his creation did not stay united. Instead his father casts him out and the creature eventually becomes a murderer fueled by hate and vengeance. The creature was not a monster until he began to murder, maybe if his father or someone had been their to raise him he’d turn out better. That’s why I like this Frankenstein, he was still able to become a better person and help the world at large against true monsters. I call him Frankenstein not out of miscommunication from what the movies have people believe but because I want that poor creature to have a family. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a happy Frankenstein, guess I’ll go watch Young Frankenstein for that.