Outgoing “Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” writer Jeff Lemire collaborates with incoming scribe Matt Kindt on “Men of War” #8 starring Frankenstein fighting the good fight during World War II. This might have been slated to run through more than one issue of “Men of War” or maybe it was intended to be included in “Frankenstein,” but as the only story for an entire issue of “Men of War,” it seems to be oddly placed.
That’s not to say it isn’t an enjoyable story — Lemire and Kindt write the buddy tale of all buddy tales as Frankenstein makes a fast friend from an unexpected quarter. Robert Crane, who prior to the relaunch was the Golden Age Robotman, has an appearance here that brings about the post-relaunch existence of G.I. Robot. The automaton and Frankenstein work as a formidable duo against the forces of evil and offer crazy escapades for the reader.
Tom Derenick is a very solid artist that doesn’t pack much flash into his work. His storytelling is straight-forward, his characters fill the space well and his choice of camera angles fits the bill. That said, “Men of War” #8 could have used a bit more flash. After all, you’ve got Frankenstein flying a fighter plane then abandoning the plane to take the fight to his foes’ faces directly. Derenick’s art is tight and accurate, but is so tight it becomes almost clinical. Jose Villarrubia injects some life into the artwork with his colors, giving them a faded marker-like appearance that makes the story seem older than just published this week. Taken together, Derenick and Villarrubia give the reader a good looking book, but some parts of the story really needed to be great-looking to come across as more exciting and bombastic.
As much as this story is used as a “Times Past” adventure for Frankenstein, it also feels like it’s setting up future adventures for Frankenstein and G.I. Robot to fight side-by-side again. The final page leaves the story open so Frankenstein could appear again alongside G.I. Robot and the time period could be left fairly open-ended.
It’s a shame to see this book fade away, but this issue is certainly a great send-off. Lemire and Kindt took full advantage of being able to present Frankenstein in a different era. Putting Frankenstein in a wartime setting serves as a nice sample of what can be done with the character and his allies. Hopefully from here DC encourages more experimentation with this character and his adventures.