“Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” #13 by Matt Kindt and Alberto Ponticelli is a standalone “Rotworld” tie-in issue that runs aside the major storyline in “Animal Man” and “Swamp Thing” without needing those titles to inform much at all. As a tie in, it uses the basic premise and then runs with an independent and unique storyline that requires Frankenstein at its center. You can certainly read this one on its own and enjoy it for what it is.
This issue is a rollicking good time that’s more mystical monster swashbuckling rather than horror fare or edgy superheroic deconstruction. “Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” has continually been one of the most fun books of the New 52 and nothing demonstrates that better than this issue. Most of these pages involve Frankenstein smashing through gory hordes of Rot monsters with his gigantic sword. The same giddy pleasure you got as a child watching Indiana Jones do crazy things is what’s offered by Kindt and Ponticelli.
Ponticelli, with Wayne Faucher inking and Jose Villarrubia on colors, are given more than enough space by Kindt to do their thing. There are pulpy colors and giant sea monster ideas abound in this issue. This is high concept adventure on an almost Ditko level where anything can happen and the ride and extreme pleasure of the experience is just ahead of the actual narrative flow.
The actual plot of is thin, but through the magic of keeping busy, it’s impossible to notice. It boils down to the fact that Frankenstein, being living reconstituted cadaver tissue, cannot rot and as such he’s recruited by the Red to fight the Rot. It’s so simple that it had to happen. Plot elements are placed into order, some simplicities are taken with moving people around, but in the end this is an action tale and we get what we need on nearly every page.
“Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” #13 is a ridiculously fun mess of sword smashing and monster destruction. Ponticelli and the art team deliver a mesmerizing world of chaos and disrupted vision through which Frankenstein does what he does best: fight. This is an excellent example of the way a tie-in issue should be executed.