“Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” #10 brings Matt Kindt in to pick up the writing chores for the departing Jeff Lemire. While the difference is noticeable, it’s not horribly noticeable — it’s just different. Different as in Frankenstein speaks more in this issue than in multiple issues of Lemire’s run.
Other than making Frankenstein a bit more verbose, Kindt displays completion of accepting the handoff from Lemire with exceptional skill. To take the football metaphor a bit farther, Kindt plows forward like Maurice Jones-Drew to Lemire’s Fred Taylor. One was the greatest the franchise had ever seen, but the second shows great promise with the very real possibility of eclipsing his predecessor. Yes, it is only one issue, but it’s very complete, full of ninja bug assassins (Scare-Eb agents) armed with flesh-eating throwing stars, upside cities that induce headaches on first glance and teaser flashback panels that offer veiled clues to the origins of Frankenstein’s various anatomical gifts.
Alberto Ponticelli, now confidently inked by Wayne Faucher, draws it all with equal sense of purpose. The art continues to celebrate a sketchy quality that enhances the edginess of these adventures. The Escher-inspired landscape of Untropolis is a prime example of what Ponticelli brings to this series beyond his ability to draw a massively monstrous Frankenstein. The rest of the team are nicely drawn as well, but in this issue it’s the landscape and Frankenstein that hold the spotlight.
The aforementioned flashback panels are treated similarly to those in “Aquaman” where the imagery doesn’t have the stark black linework of the present day, but in Ponticelli’s style, with Jose Villarrubia’s more grounded palette, those panels aren’t as intense as the ones from Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis, but the message comes across clearly. These are panels of times past. As the issue progresses, the frequency of them increases and points towards an upcoming reveal.
Matt Kindt was interviewed by “USA Today” about his upcoming work on “Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” and offered some clues about this issue and beyond. Given what we’ve seen in these first twenty pages of Kindt’s tenure, I’d say Frankenstein has some great adventures coming up. This issue makes the start of a new arc and deliverable from a new writer extremely worthwhile. If you’ve been waiting for a chance to check this book out, now’s the time. No need to wait until a zero issue.