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Comic Book Review: Frankenstein – Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

By: Adam Basciano

Bone Lake seems quiet and tranquil as a boy and his grandfather enjoy a fishing trip.  The family dog growls uneasily and wanders off, before being found dead and bloody by grandpa.  The culprit of this grizzly act is a large monster lurking in the trees and bushes. At S.H.A.D.E.  Headquarters aka the Ant Farm, (an indestructible globe with a microscopic city as its interior.) Father Time (whose taken the guise of a little girl with pigtails), informs Agent Frankenstein of the current priority situation.  Monsters have invaded Bone Lake.  S.H.A.D.E. sent in their best agent, Frankenstein’s wife to exterminate the problem, but lost all contact with her.  Frankenstein is ready to storm off and find her, but not before Father Time saddles him with a team he feels he neither needs or wants.   The team dubbed the Creature Commandos consists of an Amphibian/Human hybrid, a Werewolf (the proper kind, not that shirtless S.O.B. from Twilight), a Vampire/Man – Bat crossbreed, and a mummy who doubles as a medic. The motley crew heads to Bone Lake and engages in a monster mash (a fight, not the song) with the invaders.  As the fight rages on Frankenstein finds an abandoned church with survivors who are just as afraid of their rescuers, as they are the invaders.

This series was something that was spawned out of “Flashpoint.”  If I had to describe this book, I would say it’s the spiritual lovechild of “Hellboy” and “S.H.I.E.L.D.”  One of the appealing things about the issue is that it takes literary classics that scared the crap out of me as a child, and forces me to view them in a different light.  I must admit, it’s fun to cheer for the things that go bump in the night.  The strongest aspects of the book are the character moments, the relationships between Frankenstein/Father Time and Frankenstein/the Creature Commandos.  From their first interactions together, this team is anything but a cohesive unit, so it should be interesting to see what unfolds as they begin to gel.  It was also nice to see Ray Palmer appear in this book.  He’s not the Atom, yet.  For right now he’s the U.N. liaison to S.H.A.D.E.  No matter how new this universe is, it’s good to know that when teleportation or reduction tech is involved, Ray Palmer’s the guy behind it.  Jeff Lemire  creates a balance between sci-fi, horror and heroics to create a fun and entertaining first issue.

Alberto Ponticelli’s art is definitely atmospheric enough to fit this book. The muted colour tones sell the horror aspect of the piece.  Rather then clean, crisp line work typical of superhero comic books, we have jagged lines further suggesting that this isn’t your average superhero story.  The opening scene at Bone Lake looks like a setting straight out of the “Supernatural” T.V. series, while the invading monsters call to mind the aliens from the “Men in Black” films.  To me it seemed as though Ponticelli drew the Human/Animal hybrid characters with equal emphases put on there human and animal traits.  While there wasn’t one single image in this issue that stood out in my mind, Ponticelli’s style is a solid fit for our hideous heroes.

This issue continued to impress me, just as the preceding “Flashpoint” mini-series did.   To sum my opinions of this issue up in one sentence, I’d have to say it is frighteningly good.  My intentionally cheesy one liner aside, this book definitely deserves a look.

 Overall Grade: 7.5/10



One comment on “Comic Book Review: Frankenstein – Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

  1. I had to crack up at the Monster mash line. It certainly seems like it. They got all the original Universal Monsters on board. That’s funny. Frankenstein’s monster has always been a favorite of mine and I am always curious to see different incarnations of him. I know Dean Koontz wrote a Frankenstein series of books with the creature as one of the heroes, and they later made it into graphic novels too. Will this become a movie? Calling Ron Perlman! 😀


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