Before he was menacing Spiral City, Sherlock Frankenstein was a hero. He managed to fight back death itself with his superior intellect. After the loss of the woman he loved, he turned evil. Now, decades later, he’s facing Lucy Weber, the daughter of one of his oldest foes with every different eyes. When the Cataclysm took Black Hammer, Abraham Slam, and the other heroes away, Sherlock took his life in a very different direction. Will that be enough to convince Lucy?
Sherlock Frankenstein and The Legion of Evil #4 is a major exposition dump. Much of the issue consists of the title character explaining his own history and how he got to this point. This is what Lucy has been looking for as she’s been trying to get answers and possible leads on her father’s whereabouts. It comes through a bit like a history lesson, however, it’s elevated by David Rubin’s amazing artwork.
The comic may be rather text-heavy, however you could probably read it without a single word on the page and understand the gist of the story. Rubin keeps the conversation from getting boring by creating some dynamic and engaging imagery. For example, while Lucy and Sherlock are speaking, they’re walking through the hospital. This could have been a handful of panels just showing their faces as they talk to each other. Instead, it’s one large image, with their silhouettes moving around the building which makes it much more entertaining.
There are still a fair amount of “talking head” panels, however, they flow very well as each features a very expressive character as the conversation heats up. They also tend to surround an image of heroic – or villainous – exploits, spread across two pages.
Sherlock’s story is tragic. Here you have one of the smartest men in the world and he’s practically immortal. He could have almost anything he wants, except the one thing he really yearns for: love. He thought he found that with Golden Gail, as revealed in a previous issue of Black Hammer. Then, right when he was settling in to this new relationship, the Anti-God came in and took it all away. Instead of putting that brain of his to use and searching for his love, he just gave up. He couldn’t bring himself to hope just in case Gail was really gone. It would be too heartbreaking. This makes for such an interesting character.
Lucy’s appearance in Sherlock’s life is a reminder of that failure. It is presumably why he tried to dissuade her from pursuing this further. If she gave up this quest, then he could feel justified in his actions. She is just a normal, albeit scrappy young woman, right?
Although Sherlock is undead, his world is bursting with color. His adventures are vibrant and exciting, which are at odds with his pale visage. His present day is dark and gloomy, coinciding with his lack of hope.
Each issue of Sherlock Frankenstein and The Legion of Evil has profiled one of the villains left behind in Spiral City after the Cataclysm. This one is no different, looking at the greatest enemy of all. As with any great villain, there’s some tragedy in his history. How he’s chosen to handle it is what makes him such an intriguing character. He’s faced with a world without heroes and instead of taking it over, he’s stepped into their shoes to try and make it a better place. That’s a pretty great arc.