Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 1: War of the Monsters

frankenstein agent of shade volume 1 war of the monsters cover review
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Brave choice for DC to pick as a regular series

Fun but not as much fun as it should be

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Jeff Lemire

Artist:  Alberto Ponticelli

# of Issues:  7

Release Date:  2012


Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #2

Reprints Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1-7 (November 2011-May 2012).  S.H.A.D.E. is a covert funded operation that deals in the weird and bizarre.  Their primary agent is Frankenstein who along with his wife “The Bride” helps fight the threat of monsters all over the globe and beyond.  When monsters begin spewing out of a lake with no explanation, Frankenstein and his team of Creature Commandos must shut it down before the Earth is doomed.  Plus, Frankenstein faces the danger of another manmade creature in O.M.A.C. and a revolt from within S.H.A.D.E. itself!

Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Alberto Ponticelli, Frankenstein, Agent of Shade Volume 1:  War of the Monsters was part of DC Comics’ New 52 relaunch.  Following Flashpoint, the series explores the Frankenstein Monster largely redefined in Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory series.

New 52 was really weird when it started out.  DC bravely agreed to produce some series that were never going to fly with the mainstream public.  Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. was one of those series…and that is why I had to pick it up.


Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #5

The comic itself is quite strange.  I like Lemire and have read a number of his other comics, but his writing style here is kind of rough.  Lemire writes the comic almost like an old war comic with the rough and tough Frankenstein closer to Sgt. Fury or Sgt. Rock than to Superman or even a supernatural “hero” like Ghost Rider (or even Marvel’s version of Frankenstein).  The comic comes off as war and tech meets monsters…which works sometimes but also feels a bit clunky at other times.

The art also isn’t quite where I’d like it to be.  Alberto Ponticelli and Lemire seemed to realize that Hellboy was a big influence over this series and Ponticelli’s art seems to try to echo the art of Mike Mignola…but it isn’t as good.  Ponticelli uses very basic looking designs with a lot of ink and it feels a bit like a ’90s comic at points in that sense.  The showdown with O.M.A.C. is a great example of this because it was so dark and inked that it was sometimes hard to follow the action.

I admire what Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. attempted, and I do think it is better than the review might imply.  I think New 52 provided a lot of opportunity for a lot of writers that DC wanted to front and by offering titles like Frankenstein, it was able to really showcase different talent that might have been overlooked with all the focus on Superman and Batman.  Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. wasn’t cancelled after its first story arc (proving it was a bit more solid than some of the other fringe New 52 titles).  Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.DE. 1:  War of the Monsters was followed by Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 2:  Secrets of the Dead which wrapped up the series.

Related Links:

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 2:  Secrets of the Dead

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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