When you have a character like Frankenstein, and he belongs to a secret organization that patrols the supernatural, and his team is made up of a werewolf, a pissed off skeletal vampire and a mutant water woman scientist, where do you go? If you’re new writer Matt Kindt, you send this team into a city that suddenly appeared in another dimension, you add in a traitorous blue agent, a ton of assassin bugs and then have Frankenstein recite poetry throughout.
Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #10 is the first part of a story arc dealing with espionage and betrayal on a supernatural level. Frank has been called off of shore leave to try and discover why the Scare-eb agents, bug creatures bred to be killers, have attacked members of SHADE with whom they are usually allies. To make matters worse, an agent of SHADE has gone rogue and vanished into a city that’s only recently appeared from another dimension. Frankenstein and his band of merry men are sent to bring back the rogue agent and find out what the hell is going on.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Yes, Frankenstein Agent of SHADE has some similarities to Hellboy. There’s a big tortured soul out fighting the supernatural, he has a wacky team who belong to a Secret Government Organization, and one of the team members has a glass hood around her fish-like skull. The difference here is that Hellboy is serious and gothic while Frankenstein is just seriously fucked up. The bone structure may be similar, but the blood and tissue that make the face is completely different. With that out of the way, let’s talk issue 10.
I have to hand it to Kindt, he picks up right where Jeff Lemire left off. Oddly enough, FAoS #10 says Jeff Lemire on the outside cover but announces Matt Kindt on the inside. Kindt blends in so well with what this series is about, I didn’t even notice until The Book Report Podcast. Kindt makes us feel for Frankenstein and all his hardship, and we also root him on when he rips apart the diabolical forces that go bump in the night. Kindt doesn’t just write randomly to appear weird – he has a legitimate story arc that he weaves around the more ludicrous aspects of his story. He also focuses on character development, something monster comics tend to shy away from. We get a well-rounded team book with Frankenstein Agent of SHADE, not just a kooky monster book.
Alberto Ponticelli’s art is first rate. This guy blends his own modern style with that of the old Creepy comics and horror books. Everything is surreal, just off center enough to be sure we know it’s not of this world. Ponticelli’s eye for movement really comes through with issue 10. So much of the issue is fighting or falling or fighting while you’re falling. Without an ability to bring that action off the page, Frankenstein Agent of SHADE just would not work. Thus far, this is one of my favorite DC titles. Lets hope that Matt Kindt keeps up his flair for good writing.
4 story, 4 art