I swear I’ve been missing out on the amazing stories being put out by Zenescope over the last 10 years. I’ve been trying a number of books over the last few months and I’ve been readily impressed with the quality of the stories, even as a new reader with no background. Some of the stories, I can understand, require at least some knowledge of the universe that Zenescope covers but not all do; this is one that does not need any background. Because we already know the background even if we’re not aware of it. Enter: Screwed.
Zenescope is known for focusing on classic fairy-tale style stories, hence the name of their main line of books: Grimm’s Fairy Tales. They have also entered into the realms of Wonderland, Oz, and even The Jungle Book; not exactly fairy tale, but still flows within that same realm of thought. With their recent event across the universe, “Unleashed”, we have seen the introduction of other classics, most notably (to me) of the Boris Karloff movie era: vampires, werewolves, zombies and demons. So, with those monsters making their way to Zenescope, one of the most notable singular creatures was missing from the lineup and now that classic monster put together by Dr. Frankenstein has come to the publisher in a story that was great fun to read.
The story is by Tyler Kirkham and Keith Thomas with Thomas taking on the scripting role. For the most part, the story flows smoothly from page to page, panel to panel. We don’t get a lot of lead-up as to what’s going on in making this modern monster, instead jumping right into the action. Although there is no direct reference as to whether this takes place in Zenescope’s expanding universe, they make certain implications towards the “Unleashed” miniseries currently underway. Here, though, they are focusing on the monstrous results of science rather than your typical monster, and I think that Kirkham and Thomas did a great job. Our main character – who is nameless, just like the monster of old – is awoken from an electric shock. She has no memory of anything and is a tad… well, messed up as a result. She also has hallucinations, seeing normal people as monsters and demons – perhaps as a result of her electrical attacks, which appear to be serving as a “reboot” of sorts. The only thing I don’t like about the characters in the issue is the federal agent Simon Beckett who appears, whose persona is exceptionally arrogant. Maybe he will be a main player later on in the series, but to be honest the character did nothing for me but to be a nuisance. I have a feeling he’s more involved with the creation of the “monster” based on his inclusion, but only time will tell if this actually happens.
The artwork is by David Miller with colors by Oracle. Some scenes appeared to have our main character in some weird angles that just shouldn’t seem possible for a human being, but seeing as how she has simply been stitched together with various parts it doesn’t detract. In fact, that slight impossibility of the angles actually serves to help the story. The stiffness of our main character’s body is done quite well, even when she is falling from a multiple story building, she’s not flailing or clawing at the air – she is simply stiff. Which is what I would expect. This is a violent book and there are multiple deaths – not like a vampire biting a neck death but people beaten and bloody – and Miller has done a great job with that. Whereas the main character is stiff, we still see the (previously available) angles of motion that the human characters were capable of. I say previously because the majority of humans who show up don’t live to the final pages. When we see our main character being electrocuted, the colors by Oracle show the energy flowing through her – from a dark scene to a suddenly lit-up one.
This was a great read and one of my favorite books of the week. It takes another classic character and brings it to the Zenescope family, and I will be honest that I like this iteration of the Frankenstein monster more so than the one currently in DC’s Justice League Dark. I don’t know why, but I just really enjoyed this version. If you like a story that will have an encapsulated arc (this is a miniseries) and has good art and an engaging story, this is something you should give a look to.