Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

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The thing I like most about comic books is their opportunity to visually present fantastic concepts and stories. Case in point: Frankenstein. This is one part horror mash-up, once part mad science gone awry, one part James Bond, and 100% awesome.

Frankenstein was brought to the fore of DC comics my Grant Morrison in his Seven Soldiers of Victory maxi-series. There we met a world-hopping Frankenstein brimming with righteous anger. Morrison also introduced S.H.A.D.E., the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive, a top secret government agency designed to combat the strange and bizarre. Now, as a part of the new 52, Jeff Lemire is taking this concept and expanding upon it in incredible ways. There are so many wonderful ideas and concepts here. For example, S.H.A.D.E.’s headquarters are miniaturized using the technology of the Silver Age Atom, Ray Palmer, and are contained in a 3 inch ball that flies around the earth at speeds of 600 mph. Also, S.H.A.D.E.’s leader, Father Time, regenerates his consciousness into a new body every 10 years with the current body being that of a 9 year old Japanese school girl. Joining Frankenstein are the Creature Commandos, an older DC concept recently revitalized by Lemire in his Frankenstein Flashpoint tie-in. The team consists of a fish woman, a werewolf, a literal batman, and a mysterious mummy that also acts as the team’s medic.

Even with all these crazy concepts, the book’s opening plot is fairly simple, monsters are invading small town America and the bride of Frankenstein is sent in to deal with the invasion. When she disappears during the fighting, it’s up to Frankenstein and the Creature Commandos to get the bottom of the situation and contain the monster armies. While it may be a little cliche, I feel like this book has so much potential for amazing stories. The art by Alberto Ponticelli is perfectly suited for this book, rough, scratchy, and kinetic. There’s such an incredible atmosphere housed in the pages of this book.

Jeff Lemire wowed me last week with Animal Man and has succeeded again this week. Frankenstein has the makings of a cult classic comic, and maybe one of the new 52’s biggest sleeper hits.

Rating: 8.6/10

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