Made for Each Other
by Paul D. Storrie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My Boyfriend is a Monster 2: Made for Each Other / 978-0-761-37077-2
I absolutely loved the first book in this loosely connected graphic novel series, "My Boyfriend Is a Monster 1: I Love Him to Pieces". I thought it was the perfect example of a great graphic novel, with great story, great plot, great characterization, and great use of the zombie apocalypse theme. But this second installment in the series has both a completely different writer and a completely different artist, and I just don't see the same shine and charm.
"Made for Each Other" gives us high school couple Maria and Tom - they bump into each other in the hallway at school and were both immediately smitten from the start. When Maria surprises the shy and reclusive Tom at his combination home/funeral-parlor, she's a little surprised to find out that Tom's dad is the literary Frankenstein's Creation, and Tom (and an ever-increasing entourage of siblings) is assembled from body parts scavenged from the funeral home. Maria takes this in stride, however, and soon the two are happily dating. But why are so many people in their small town suddenly having fatal accidents?
This isn't a bad story, but a lot of what I loved from the first installment has been removed. The characterization is rushed and heavily stereotyped - Maria and Tom feel like blank (but attractive!) cardboard personalities, and the "romance" between them is incredibly rushed. They fall in love almost at first sight in the first chapter, Maria doesn't think twice about Tom's odd condition, and they act like a perfect married couple from then on - it's a sharp and unpleasant contrast to the realistic high school romance in the first novel.
The Frankenstein plot isn't terrible, but it feels a little bland. I would have preferred Tom and his father to just be "like" the Frankenstein Creation, not THE Frankenstein Creation. Pretty much everyone takes the whole thing in stride, from Maria to her high school friends, and it just feels...unnatural. There's also this cutesy naming scheme throughout the novel that is distracting and not very funny to me - Maria's last name is "McBride" (aka, Bride of Frankenstein), Tom's name is "Tom B Stone" (tombstone), and other names here include "Graves" and "Hedy" (headstone).
I also don't feel like the artistry is as sharp and clean and pretty as the first installment - there's a much heavier emphasis on "background textures" (of the abstract variety) and "sound effects" drawn over the characters. Overall, I guess this is an okay graphic novel, but I wouldn't have stuck with it if I hadn't liked the first so much, and I wasn't really thrilled with it. I hope the third in the series concentrates more on the details (both artwork and characterization) and less on trying to make the designated monster plot "cute".
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through NetGalley.
~ Ana Mardoll
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