An Updated Frankenstein Graphic Novel: The Coffin

“By encasing a living subject in a body cast of our polymer at the moment of death we have been able to trap the life force inside this cast, or coffin, as we call it.”

In life, Dr. Ashar Ahmad was dedicated only to his science. Now encased in one of his own coffins at the moment of death, Dr. Ahmad has a chance to redeem his life, or let his soul slip away to Hell.

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Book cover for The Coffin written by Phil Hester and illustrated by Mike Huddleston

TITLE:

THE COFFIN

WRITER:

by Phil Hester

ARTIST:

by Mike Huddleston

SERIES:

The Coffin Mini-series #1-4

PUBLISHER:

Oni Press

GENRE:

Graphic Novel (collection), Horror,

DESCRIPTORS:

Souls, Hell, After Life, Death,

SUMMARY:

Dr. Ashar Ahmad barely tolerates Dr. Lynde’s audit as he works on a dog encased in one of his coffins, the life force still trapped with the dead body.

Dr. Lynde reports to Mr. Heller that Ahmad is much further along than anyone realized and that the doctor might bail at any time. For his efforts, the old man Mr. Heller has the doctor pithed. Mr. Heller then harvests Dr. Lynde’s internal organs for his ancient body and then encases what’s left in one of Dr. Graham’s coffins.

Meanwhile, Ms. Keen and Mr. Blunt are dispatched to Dr. Ahmad’s lab where they kill Liv and mortally wound Ashar. While they download his data, he crawls to the pit where his one working human suit, based upon the latest designs, awaits. He encases himself in the coffin as he dies, thus capturing the soul within it.

In death he meets a demon bent on torturing him. He also encounters Liv who explains to him that he can go back and fix things — give himself a second chance — if he wants.

Dr. Ahmad returns and finds his dead body inside of one of his coffins. He realizes he’s had his priorities messed up and that he needs to save his daughter Billie and his former partner Dr. Bell from Mr. Heller’s insanity.

But people are coming for him — bad people like Ms. Keen and Mr. Blunt — people who are themselves, locked up inside of coffins.

WHY I LIKED IT:

I enjoyed this story. It is a bit of a take on the Frankenstein story. Dr. Ahmad starts out as a very flawed character and after his death; he is open to change for the first time since, probably, childhood. However, he has obstacles set before him, including a clunky “box” that he can never get out of as well as Mr. Heller’s forces arrayed against him.

Book cover for The Coffin: 10th Anniversary Edition written by Phil Hester and illustrated by Mike HuddlestonThe story starts out slow as exposition is used to bring the reader up to speed with the science and the relationships between the main characters. But soon it gains speed and you’re zipping through it like an adventure tale.

The characters are mainly one-dimensional except for Dr. Ahmad and Mr. Heller who get fleshed out somewhat. Still there isn’t much room for character development. Dr. Ahmad’s “transformation” from being a self centered scientist driven by pride to something more human is given short shrift, focusing instead on his actions to try and make amends.

The artwork is black and white pen work. The humans are rendered with some detail but the coffins are fairly simple and look a little steam punk-like, with steam blowers attached to the back. The images of souls were confusing and I wouldn’t have deemed them beautiful if the narration hadn’t told me otherwise. However the depiction of Dr. Ahmad’s demon and various levels of Hell were very interesting.

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