There’s a limited amount of public domain material, what with all the copyright nonsense we’ve dealt with in the last couple decades, and we’re used to new takes on old stories. At this point, it takes quite a lot for a retelling to stand out.
This is the struggle for Made Men. The first issue attempts to get a lot of the story set up out of the way while maintaining a fairly high level of action. It introduces Jutte Shelley, a descendant of of the infamous Frankenstein family, who shares the talents of her ancestors but has done all she can to distance herself from them.
Stylizing itself as a gritty cop drama with a wide streak of science fiction, Made Men starts with a good hook- setting the reader directly in the middle of a doomed shootout. Writer Paul Tobin strikes an interesting tone by having the protagonist narrate the deaths of her colleagues. Art team Arjuna Susini (illustrations), Gonzalo Duarte (colorist), and Saida Temofonte (letterer) work together to give Made Men its grim look without making the settings or characters too uniform.
There’s some good set up, but not enough to make a judgement call on whether Tobin can deliver on an engaging plotline or decent character arcs. The one problem I have is the design of the reanimated characters- there’s clearly one that went horribly wrong and now has a lion face, yet the two reanimated ladies are exactly as they were but with some stitches in places. It’s not particularly encouraging in terms of putting a new spin on the old since that is essentially what every “sexy lady Frankenstein monster” halloween costume looks like.
Overall, I’d give Made Men at least another issue to get me 100% on board, but if you’re not a fan of low-level gore, cops with underworld connections, or the Frankenstein mythos in general, maybe give this one a miss.