Seduction of the Innocent: The Gruesome Magazine review of ReAnimator #1-4 from Dynamite Entertainment.
Hello, again, Grue-believers! Your old pal Chad again with this week’s creepy comic review!
I love ReAnimator. Love it. One of my favorite horror films ever. Stuart Gordon’s genius mix of dark comedy and utter horror even outdid Lovecraft’s original story in my opinion. Any horror hound worth his salt probably thinks the same.
So, when I heard about about a new comic series from Dynamite based on ReAnimator, I bought up all four issues of the series on Comixology. The Jae Lee cover alone was worth the price.
Oh, boy! I’m in for some back from the dead shenanigans as only Dr.Herbert West can give me. Right? Well………
What I got was something a little different from what I was expecting.
The story goes like this:
Susan Greene is a young pharmacologist who since her boyfriend’s murder, has been feeling empty inside. The thrill she once found in helping others has been replaced by a darker thrill. Stealing and selling pharmaceuticals on the black market. But even that has lost its charm and she vows this will be the last score. But the folks she sells to have other ideas. They try to steal the drugs from her.
A scuffle issues, but is interrupted by the gunshots of Dr.Herbert West and his giant companion, The Valusian. West kills the attackers, only to bring them back seconds later with his reanimation serum. Susan looks on in astonishment as The hulking Valusian dispatches them a second time and loads them into West’s vehicle. It seems Dr. west has become a bit of a drug dealer himself. Selling the Pineal gland fluid from the recently reanimated corpses as a powerful euphoric called Eunique, to further fund his research into bringing the dead to life.
Susan, seeing a chance to fill that void in her life again, accepts an offer from West to become his assistant. After refining the Pineal gland fluid into the drug, West informs Susan that it’s time to meet with the crime syndicate, The Eldritch Krewe, to sell the latest shipment of Eunique to them. Little does Herbert know, Croceus Rex, the leader of the Eldritch Krewe wants to muscle in on Herbert’s drug game. All in the name of the great god Cthulhu. You see, not only is the Eldritch Krewe a crime syndicate, but a cult of the Elder gods.
Enter “Dice” Durand. A rival drug dealer and gang leader who’s territory is being eaten up by Rex’s gang. Durand decides to go after West as well, sending his voodoo hitman Samedi to find Herbert. Poor guy. Everyone wants to take a bite out of him.
Over the course of the next four issues, the story unfolds with Herbert West’s drug Eunique at the center of everyone’s attention. We get zombie battles with gang members, Herbert West as an action hero, snapping turtle hybrid creatures(?), tentacles, voodoo mayhem and plenty of the red stuff to go around.
Writer Keith Davidsen gives us a tale that seems more Breaking Bad than ReAnimator. Not that it’s a bad story, but it just didn’t feel like a ReAnimator story. It would have made an awesome crime comic on its own without any of the supernatural elements. And maybe that’s what takes me out of the story a little. ReAnimator to me was always about science run amok, and the gory over the top violence and gore. Introducing elements of Chthulu and the Elder gods seems a little out of place for Doctor West. Even though they both spring from the Lovecraft lore.
I would love love to read a Shadow or Doc Savage series by Mr. Davidsen. I think he would do an awesome job. But I digress.
The character of Susan Greene is great. She really serves as the eyes and ears of the reader through all the madness, while at the same time, has her own interesting arc as well. It’s fun to see her reactions to some of Herbert’s secrets as the book goes on.
The art by Randy Valiente was great. He knows how to tell a story in interesting ways. His figure work is very nice, as well. But again, I find myself wondering if it’s the right art for a book like ReAnimator. It seems more like the art found in a superhero book than a horror title. And that’s no slight to Randy’s ability. I think you will see a lot more from him in the near future.
The covers for the remaining three issues by Francesco Francavilla are wonders to behold.
All in all, I was left on the fence with this one. It works as a crime tale, but not really as Herbert West story. I was glad I read it, but can’t see myself picking it up to read again anytime soon. Nothing seemed to fit for me. Hopefully, this isn’t the last ReAnimator title we see from Dynamite. This one just left me a little cool.
ReAnimator 1-4 Two out of five bumps in the night