52 Pick-Up: Frankenstein #1
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E #1
by Jeff Lemire (W); Albert Ponticelli (A)
The first issue of Frankenstein is so crammed full of good ideas that it just might burst. There ought to be a warning on the cover: “Contents Under Pressure – Double Polybagging Recommended.” Jeff Lemire is on a roll; Animal Man was a big hit already, and now we have this book. When Lemire sneezes, ideas come out, and the pages of Frankenstein are the tissue.
Frankenstein, Father Time, and the Creature Commandos are all agents of S.H.A.D.E., the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive, sworn to protect the world from monsters with behavioural issues. It sounds a lot like Hellboy and B.P.R.D., but the mad scientist angle reminds me more of Casanova, Matt Fraction’s psychedelic sci-fi romp.
At the start of the book, Frankenstein returns from his vacation on Mars and plenty has changed. Team agents now shrink and teleport to their new headquarters inside a floating 3 inch globe using technology provided by their new government liaison, Ray Palmer (Palmer Particles?). Father Time has taken on a new form and should probably consider updating his code name, and Frank’s wife (the Bride of Frankenstein, natch) has disappeared fighting to save the town of Bone Lake from a monster invasion. Together with all the Commandos, the books is a lot to digest, but thankfully the S.H.A.D.E.net internet database is here to explain everything to Frankensteing, and of course the reader, cleverly providing all the necessary exposition. The “interview” in Animal Man last week served the same purpose.
Lemire is getting really good at first issues, and Albert Ponticelli is the right guy to draw this book. His line work is loose and little messy, but it suits the subject matter perfectly. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. is going to be a monster hit.