Comics Anonymous


FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E #1 by Linsay @softlyspokenlas
September 18, 2011, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: , , , ,

Despite my usual preference for monsters of all shapes and sizes I gave the Frankenstein Flashpoint tie-in a wide berth – Lemire was not a writer I was familiar with and I doubted that it would fit in to the overall story in an important way. Some pals who had read it agreed with my impression and so it was forgotten.

Since the influx of the DCnew52 and the crazy fever that has taken over Twitter, I was led into conversation with some comic savvy Americans who are pretty crazy for Lemire and couldn’t sing the praises of his Frankenstein Flashpoint book high enough. I was soon to realise how foolish I had been.

After picking up the DCnew52 week 1 haul I felt really ill and came out in a cold sweat. I realised I didn’t have enough comics. So, I promptly went on over to another comic store and picked up the three Frankenstein Flashpoint books and read them pretty soon after. I totally loved them and ended up feeling pretty disappointed in myself for dismissing them without even giving them a try.

There are a lot of major differences between Lemire’s Flashpoint Frankenstein and his DCnew52 effort. They are both super fun reads, with interesting (although very different) artwork and an engaging set of characters. There are some crucial differences in the origin story of certain characters – most notably fish girl (not her real name) whose Flashpoint origin was ridiculously interesting and full of mystery. In DCnew52 she is just a daft fish girl. Daft Fish Girl will also no doubt be responsible for certain comparisons between Dark Horse’s B.P.R.D. as she even looks that much like Abe I’m expecting a cross over mini series and maybe daft fish babies.

However, Fish Girl isn’t the star of this book, it’s big electro-powered, multi origin body parts Frank. In Flashpoint he was possibly inked and coloured in a much more stereotypical fashion and even his dialogue seemed reminiscent of shady B-movies. Agent Frankenstein now looks like he might be eligible for the odd shift with the A-Team. He is no longer bright green, and although you can still see the stitches he looks a bit edgier and I think aesthetically will fit in well with the Dark side of the new DC Universe.

I bet those of you who missed out on the Flashpoint tie-in are either silently willing me to hurry up and talk about the story of issue one or have already went back to read the Hawk and Dove #1 review… again… You lot need help by the way.

Well! As first issue storytelling goes, Lemire works a belter in here. He sets up the ‘crisis’ superbly, and with humour, in the first 3 pages before going on to introduce us properly to Frank, S.H.A.D.E. and the rest of the gang, including a certain Dr Ray Palmer. If that name means nothing to you then get googling and get back to your DC history books.  :D

S.H.A.D.E.HQ has a nice loose, steampunkesque feel and there are a lot of artistic contrasts within the scenes here. The good doctor, as mentioned above, appears in a pretty bog standard lab coat, Wayne Static seems to be working there as a lab assistant (I wonder if Lexi Leon and the Eternal Descent Gang know he’s in this comic book too!!), and Frankenstein’s boss/ creator whom he refers to as ‘Father’ has taken the form of a little girl who looks not unlike a certain Hit Girl with maybe an Umbrella Academy makeover. All in all it makes for some visually pleasant scenes. The dialogue ain’t bad either.

After all the loveliness of hanging about in S.H.A.D.E. HQ it becomes apparent that the initial crisis (which involved monsters of unknown origin visiting a town and killing loads of people) has escalated into an even bigger rammy. Agent Frankenstein’s wife is a top agent at S.H.A.D.E and after going in first to quash the emergent monsters is now missing and Frank has been tasked with leading his team in to take care of business.

Agent Frankenstein’s team members are a welcome sight after the success of the Flashpoint book, with the exception of the egyptian mummy-styled Khalis who is brand new to me, and at first glance seems a bit on the unnecessary side. The rest of the team include Daft Fish Lassie (Dr Nina Mazursky – bet you couldn’t wait to find out her real name!), Warren Griffith, the werewolf fellah, and Vincent Velcoro, the winged vampire chap who, for some bizarre reason, has been given a pair of Avril Lavigne’s knee high socks to wear as gloves.

Although I have made a few facetious comments during the course of this review I really enjoyed the book. It was a great fun review with strong and interesting characters, for the most part, as well as some juicy tidbits and a great cliff-hanger which ensures we want to buy next month.

This book was written by Jeff Lemire – Art by Alberto Ponticelli.

7/10 a worthwhile and fun read

Linsay @softlyspokenlas


5 Comments so far
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Really good review, had a good wee laugh reading it. I also enjoyed reading this book. As you know, I was one of the said readers who hadn’t been keen on the flashpoint tie in, and wasn’t sure what I was going to make of this number 1. After last weeks amazing performance on Animal Man, I no longer doubt anything Lemire writes, I loved Frank almost as much as AM. My first though after finishing it was “shit – I didn’t preorder issue 2!” since I didn’t expect to enjoy this. Like you, I thought it had some umbrella academy elements to it (probably the reason I enjoyed it so much) – Frank is a pretty funny character, and I’m looking forward to see him lead his team and try and rekindle the romance with his wife🙂

Comment by Craig

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