The Cobbler’s Monster: A Tale of Gepetto’s Frankenstein (Image Comics/Beckett Comics)

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A father's relationship to his monstrous son, and the challenges both face.

Image Comics/Beckett Comics; 128 Pages; FC; $14.99

(W: Jeff Amano; P: Craig Rousseau; I: Wayne Faucher)

The cover to The Cobbler's Monster. Click thumbnail for a larger image.What do the Kabbalah, Mary Shelley, and The Shining Dawn have in common? All of them get the shaft from Jeff Amano in his Judeofrankenspiracy tale involving Gepetto, an Eastern European immigrant to New York who, rather than allowing his dead child Victor to stay buried, decides to imprison his soul (read: DNA) in the body of a magically animated clay human--a golem. Gepetto quickly learns, however, that some things, like this story, should never be attempted.

While Gabriel Benson's foreword offers much hope to readers interested in a tale of one father's relationship to his monstrous son, the reality of the story is that this is a non-stop rampage of chewed up cats, dismembered bodies, and crushed skulls. At no point do these characters exceed the two-dimensional, their dialogue lackluster, and reactions stilted. Perhaps what's more insulting is the sensationalized, ill-researched, and shallow representations of the Kabbalah, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and-sigh-The Shining Dawn. As if the The DaVinci Code wasn't bad enough.

Interior art by Craig Rousseau and Wayne Faucher. Click for a larger imageThe artwork also leaves much to be desired. Characters are blandly rendered next to blocky backgrounds with angles and focuses that lack any major dynamism. The gore becomes so cartoonish that it overpowers the story, where subtlety and grace might've lent a much-needed element of horror. Yes, the idea of Victor is frightening, but when the monster turns into a regenerating super villain with the power to blow himself up, the story tips over into absurdity and, unfortunately for everyone involved, does not recover.

There is, however, a shining light at the end of the tunnel. For those who manage to slog through this patchy story, there's a preview for Red Warrior at the conclusion that almost makes it worth the read. If readers are lazy, however, they might want to just skip ahead. And don't be fooled by the cover: while The Cobbler's Monster may share some pacing issues with Frankenstein, Mary Shelley it is not.

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