Review: Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

Written by Jeff Lemire, Art by Alberto Ponticelli, Cover by J.G. Jones

Solicitation Info (from Previews): It’s Frankenstein as you’ve never seen him before, in a dark new series from acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Alberto Ponticelli (UNKNOWN SOLDIER)! Frankenstein is part of a network of strange beings who work for an even stranger government organization: The Super Human Advanced Defense Executive! But can he protect the world from threats even more horrifying than himself? And since he’s vilified for who and what he is, will he even want to take on this mission?

Bias: I liked him in Seven Soldiers, I liked him in Flashpoint, and I absolutely loved Animal Man (also written by Jeff Lemire), so I expect that this will be right up my alley. Definitely gonna be one of the first books I read next week!

What I liked: This is the second book I’ve read by Jeff Lemire (the first being Animal Man #1), and I must say that I’m impressed. It was surreal, crazy fun. As Ray Palmer (yup, he’s alive in the DCnU, and in this book) says, “This place is an advertisement for mad science bound to go wrong.” The art is rough and edgy, which I think fits Frankenstein very well – much better than the cover artist, who’s artwork is beautiful, but doesn’t fit Frankenstein as well.

What I disliked: Honestly, I’ve got nothing. I try to give the good side of titles I dislike, and the downside to titles I loved. The most I can say is that this one can be graphic at points (we see a dog skinned on the second page), but I tend to like that sort of thing, so it’s a caution to some readers, but is a-okay by me.

Verdict: I’m going to collect this title for sure.

As always, SPOILERS in comments, including my favorite scene, thoughts on what happened, and questions about what’s to come.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Review: Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

  1. My favorite scene was the introduction of the headquarters, from the crazy description of the headquarters itself (a 3-inch, indestructible globe travelling at 643 miles per hour that requires both teleportation and miniaturization to enter), to the description of the work force (artificial life forms that look like robots, only live for 24 hours, and are called humanids) – including Frankenstein’s reaction to them (“You should be careful, Doctor Belfroy…creating life is no game…it can bear many horrible consequences.”) – to the introduction of Father Time as a little girl (“Every decade I randomly generate a new body to act as my host. The old one was past due.”), to Ray Palmer’s aforementioned reaction to the place. It set the pace of surreal craziness that the rest of the comic would follow.

    I was glad to see the Creature Commandos included in the book, and it appears they’ll be regular cast members, not just guest appearances (though whether they’ll all survive is especially called into question by the title of next issue: “The dissection of Nina Mazursky”…)

    I absolutely loved Frankenstein arguing with Father Time about his wife – actually, all of the character interactions were simply stellar. Probably the best was the reaction of the old lady (nun?) guarding the children of the town to the Creature Commandos and Frankenstein (which is what we ended on). Gives you the sense that trying to rescue these people isn’t going to be the easiest thing to do, since they view our heroes as “filthy demon spawn.”

    So we’re left with a few questions:
    1) Where are all the monsters assaulting the town coming from?
    2) What happened to Frankenstein’s wife? She reported she was close to finding the answer to the first question, but all contact with her was lost before she could relay that information (and this was contact through a psychic network).
    3) Is S.H.A.D.E. on the up and up? Seems to have a lot of mad scientists running around for a kosher organization, and I’m left wondering if Ray Palmer wasn’t setting the stage for things to come with his unease about the place, not to mention Doctor Belroy’s facial expression in response to Frankenstein’s displeasure of his humanids.

    The big reveal from this book, for me, was that I need to go back and check out Sweet Tooth (the cover artwork had thus far discouraged me from trying the book, but if Jeff Lemire is this good a writer…well, I need to check it out.)

    Oh, and the mysterious, hooded figure is in the top panel of page 25, standing on the street with monsters all around. Batgirl is still the only comic where I couldn’t find the woman…

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