Adapting A Sci-Fi And Horror Classic With Island Of Dr. Moreau #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

The Lady Vain goes down at sea, a lone woman survivor washes ashore an island. Her name is Ellie Prendick, and she is saved by a group of people who have built a village on the island. She meets a man named Montgomery who, despite saving her life, won’t accept her thanks. She soon meets Dr. Moreau, a disgraced medical practitioner from years ago, and she begins noticing strange and frightening things on the island. Ellie’s curiosity gets the better of her, and she begins snooping around the island. What she discovers is horrible beyond reckoning.

The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 cover by Gabriel Rodríguez
The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 cover by Gabriel Rodríguez

Island of Dr. Moreau #1 is the first issue of this two-part graphic retelling of the H.G. Wells classic–one that I must admit not having read nor have I seen any of the movie adaptations of it. 

I was aware of the basic plot–cultural osmosis is a hell of a thing, especially in the internet age–and the story of the Island of Dr. Moreau film with Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer that was such a legendary filmic catastrophe.

The comic book is quite engaging nonetheless. It has that creeping sense of discomfort and innate wrongness common in good horror. Even knowing the story of this one, I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It has that Gilded Age/Victorian Era trait where most characters underreact to truly horrid things–either due to a need to be polite or the tertiary syphilis. 

In short, Island of Dr. Moreau is a literary classic by a celebrated science fiction author, and this comic does a good job of adapting it.

The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 art by Gabriel Rodríguez, Nelson Dániel, and letterer Robbie Robbins
The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 art by Gabriel Rodríguez, Nelson Dániel, and letterer Robbie Robbins

Gabriel Rodríguez really takes center stage, as adding visuals to a previously text-only story is quite a challenge. Thankfully, Rodríguez was up to the task, and the art of this comic does an excellent job of keeping things clear and coherent. The island creatures are a disturbing hybrid of man and beast, and their expressions could easily send chills through the reader’s body. Nelson Dániel’s color art is nothing to sneeze at either, giving a pale and discomforting palette to this tale of inhumane experiments and body horror.

Island of Dr. Moreau #1 is a very compelling read with great art. I can’t say for certain how faithful an adaptation it is, but it does engage the reader with its style and artistic merit. This one gets a recommendation; check it out.

Island of Dr. Moreau #1 comes to us from writer H. G. Wells, adaptaters Ted Adams and Gabriel Rodríguez, artist, cover artist, and variant cover artist Gabriel Rodríguez, color artist Nelson Dániel, and letterer Robbie Robbins.

Final Score: 8.5/10

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