The GeeksverseFrankenstein: Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #1

Frankenstein: Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #1
Published on Thursday, September 15, 2011 by

Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Alberto Ponticelli
Colored by: Jose Villarrubia
Lettered by: Pat Brosseau
Cover Art: J.G. Jones w/ Hi-FI
Assistant Editor: Kate Stewart
Editor: Joey Calvalieri

Like Resurrection Man, this was another title that I was looking forward to. I’ve liked what little I’ve seen of DC’s Frankenstein and the concept of S.H.A.D.E. was interesting.

After reading this issue, I’m a little unsure on both. There’s a high level of craziness going on. And in parts it seems a bit overboard. Lemire’s script sets up a couple of obvious future storylines when Frankenstein gives warnings to the other S.H.A.D.E. agents.

SHADE (I’m tired of typing the periods already) is very odd. It’s precise mission isn’t revealed. We get that it’s some kind of super human defense organization and that it employs monsters. Why the two go hand in hand is a mystery. The Creature Commandos might be cool, but why does a superhuman defense organization need it’s agents to look like the things that scare humans the most? Why look like monsters?

It really should be just the opposite. If the world has gone crazy because of the rise in super humans, wouldn’t SHADE be better served in not employing agents that would scare the people more then the super humans?

And what is up with their headquarters? That’s craziness to the max and also stealing some ideas from Avengers Academy’s Infinite Mansion and the many Jocastas. Does it really need to be that odd? That level of technology seems out of place. Same with the designs.

I get it’s trying to keep with the monster feel, but it just seems odd. Odd use for Ray Palmer as well. Just odd all around. Some more description of what SHADE is and what they do would have been in order.

The device that Lemire uses to help fill in some of the blanks, Frankenstein mentally accessing SHADEnet and asking questions, could have been a neat device but it comes across oddly, like much of this issue. Why would an agent of SHADE need to have the headquarters explained to him and why would it be completely new to him? How long was he on vacation on MARS? Wouldn’t someone have explained to him where he was going before it happened? And if Frank is accessing the SHADEnet mentally, since we never see him use a computer of anykind, then why was he so surprised with the mental imaging that Father Time used as a mission briefing?

Frankenstein himself is interesting, but not enough time is spent with him in this issue. He’s polite and that’s about it. There are to many other characters and concepts thrown around in this issue and Frankenstein doesn’t stand out. It’s an ensemble book with a main point of view character. Frank is lost.

Alot of this reminds me of John Rozum’s Xombi, which came out just before the relaunch. It has alot of the same feels. Xombi was also an ensemble book but in Xombi the main character had been better developed so he stood out more and was obviously the focal point. Frankenstein could have benefitted from more of a Xombi approach.

Ponticelli’s art is ugly. Best way to describe it. For this title it works. The designs of the SHADE HQ are great. It’s obvious Ponticelli had alot of fun with that. The monsters are crazy. He goes a little overboard with odd exaggerated poses and expressions from Frankenstein. The layouts are decent and the work is technically sound.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 receives
3 out of 5

There’s just a little too much going on. Alot of crazy concepts and characters kind of overshadow the character the book is named after.

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