“Little did I know that the real humiliation was yet to come” - Doktor Zeitpunkt
It's 1914 and the citizens of Metullistadt City are living in a utopian state due to the advancements made by the resident scientists. Doktor Zeitpunkt hopes to join the ranks of the City's revered boffins with his latest invention that promises clean continued energy for Metullistadt. Zeitpunkt also craves the approval of his idol Dr Burton Tuknupteiz. Unfortunately Tuknupteiz gives Zeitpunkt's invention the thumbs down, and worse Tuknupteiz steals the Zeitpunkt's idea for his glorification!
Zeitpunkt naturally is going to seek revenge, as all mad scientists are timed honoured to do, and gives his robot sidekick Ora a psychic brain that will allow her to see the future and pick the perfect test subject for Zeitpunkt's vengeance contraption. Why exactly she'll need to see the future to pick a test subject remains a mystery. Ora discovers the perfect subject, a young boy, and we wait to see what fiendish twist Frank Candiloro has for us in part II of this new graphic novel out of Australia.
While the whole artwork thing is notably Frank Candiloro style, circa Millennial Monsters, all in the characters, there are definitely some other influences seeping into the lab affecting what's on the slab. I was really humming along to a Fritz Lang Metropolis (1927) style vibe that for mine informed the panels and general aesthetic. Mixed into the offering are a real art deco happening, a creeping German expressionism feeling, and I'm told a Bauhaus sensibility, (whatever the hell that is). Which isn't bad for a graphic novel really and shows those evil inkers aren't above thieving off with ideas from major art and architecture movements. Sort of like Gypsies or whatever other group we currently accuse of stealing babies, probably Asylum seekers here in Australia. If this has all whooshed over your head then think futuristic industrial as depicted in those old black and white movies. In the wash up we're talking something pretty unique, and an approach to comic panels I haven't run across in my admittedly limited exposure to the downunder comic format. It also rocks the house down and makes the earth move and floats many a boat on the visual front.
While the whole art thing will have you reaching for your art history books, or that could just be me due to have an Artist in the house, the actual content isn't falling behind the innovative visual approach. There's a steam punk outlook that should have Sci-Fi readers happy with life, and of course the overall feeling is going to keep classic black and white horror movie fans stabbing the sofa armrests in happiness. Oh come on who doesn't love those old Universal or Hammer black and white Frankenstein style epics! So we get a mad scientist in a futuristic, well kind of, steam punk utopia, how can you possibly go wrong with this of setup? The short answer is you can't and Frank Candiloro starts in Part 1 building to what might be a very sick, we like that, twist ending in Part II. Though given who the narrator is I guess it isn't going to be over the top Chainsaw Massacre style sickness. I can live with that as long as Candiloro doesn't pull a prolonged one liner that has us groaning. Notably Dr Tuknupteiz is never fully realised in the artwork, and of course there's that whole dirty secret the City is built on! Lots of room for the graphic novel to go down various paths from here, maybe we are hitting a sort of The Island (2005) not everything is as it seems happening. Your guess as good as mine, lets keep speculation under some sort of leash till Part II reveals the plot crunch, which is probably something we didn't consider anyway.
Doktor Zeitpunkt Part 1 runs to an adequate 38 pages, including covers, with Frank Candiloro not wasting a single panel in getting his plot happening. We are introduced to the locations, once again extraordinary imagination there, the antagonist and the protagonist, (which is which might be called into question in Part II), and the principle conflict that will drive the narrative forward. Candiloro has already started to paint in some background and colour for the situation, and to have Readers already slightly uneasy about just who the young boy is that Ora has selected as a test subject. As stated above there's also that “dark secret” to contemplate. I've got a few theories that will no doubt be completely wrong when the devilish twists of the next issue of the graphic novel are unleashed.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect with Doktor Zeitpunkt but after some debate I included it in our review queue, though I guess arguably it's on the fringes of the dark genre. Mad Scientists are pretty much a staple of Sci-Fi and Horror, and the dedicated pursuit of revenge has driven more than one test tube jockey crazy in the path. Okay I'm not expecting like a human centipede or anything happening in Part II but I have this feeling Frank Candiloro might just deliver something I'm not expecting. I had a lot of fun with the first part of the graphic novel and have zero hesitation in screaming out that it's worth a look.
Doktor Zeitpunkt Part 1 can be purchased online from Frank Candiloro's official site or you could trek into your local comic store and demand a copy. If they don't have it threaten to burn the store down while foaming at the mouth, that generally works. Oh the price online is a low $4.00, with Paypal being an acceptable payment gateway online.
ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...br> br> Frank Candiloro in the process of unleashing a mechinased nightmare.