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Playing God In “Reanimator Incorporated”


Reanimator Incorporated by Andy Perry and Lyndon White is a sci-fi and horror mashup. It draws inspiration from various sources, including Dante’s Inferno and more directly, H. P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West–Reanimator. Herbert West is literally a character within the story. He’s a driven scientist hellbent on discovering the secret to restoring life, no matter the consequences. The story focuses on him, along with his partner, sponsor, wife and son. All of these characters are necessary to drive the plot forward.

The graphic novel covers a lot of ground, starting with Herb and his partner Cain. They almost succeed in reanimating a corpse! At the end, Herb’s son experiments with his own equally dangerous and death-defying project. Neither of these experiments go as intended. But these scientists are playing with forces beyond human understanding. It’s inevitable that problems would arise.

Art for Reanimator Incorporated is very sketchy. The line work is rough, with the shading present but producing an overall flat character look. It’s highly stylized and original. The look of this graphic novel gets utilized best in the panels that take up a whole page. These pages are mostly monochromatic, with a gorgeous, ethereal look to them. The artist seems more comfortable doing these pages, which usually contain only one small figure. These are also much more focused on tone and setting. They help enhance the world of the story and add to the supernatural elements.

In some ways, it feels as though this story starts in the middle. It establishes the characters and their relationships to each other. But they feel fragmented. It’s hard to piece together what exactly has happened in the past. The author shows the reader a few snippets of then. But he doesn’t give much information about what’s happening within these scenes. Letting the reader figure these things out on their own is a viable strategy, of course. But this comic has so many unknowns that it’s difficult to fit events together. I’m sure future volumes will remedy this issue over time.

This modern spin on an old story captures the essence of a rule that humanity has long always known: playing god leads to severe repercussions. Death is perhaps the one thing that all people have in common. We’ve invented many ways of looking at death. But we all know deep down, death is a finality, no matter what else it might mean on a personal level. This isn’t so in Reanimator Incorporated. All the people who participate in this pay the price for messing with something sacred. Michael, Herb’s son, seems destined to go down a similar path to his father. Herb becomes obsessed with his research to the point of neglecting his family. Michael makes a similar choice for the sake of his own research, though not intentionally. Both he and Herb will undoubtedly learn hard lessons over the course of this series.

Many find the allure of the unknown tempting. But some things should stay secret.

What supernatural elements will we see next? Have you ever read H. P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West–Reanimator? The graphic novel by Perry and White is available for purchase on its Kickstarter. Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!

About the author

Layna Putterman

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