Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #16

Original series penciller Alberto Ponticelli and current writer Matt Kindt drop the Monster Bomb on Central City in "Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E." #16, the final issue of the series kicked off by writer Jeff Lemire. Under Kindt, the comic is true enough to Lemire's original vision, but progressive enough to take chances and continue to naturally evolve. Following two issues that tied into the "Rotworld" stories from "Animal Man" and "Swamp Thing," this issue checks back in with S.H.A.D.E. and sets Frankenstein back with his teammates: Griffin, Velcoro, Nina and Khalis. Unfortunately, things don't seem to gel on the appearance of Khalis in this comic book, as he is mentioned and appears on a monitor or two, but doesn't ever appear alongside the rest of the team.

Kindt has proven his mettle more than once in this title, revealing a fondness for these characters and the wild, Silver Age zaniness that would spawn such a concept as Creature Commandos by employing no fewer than three editorial boxes and delivering a comic book science fiction menace built upon the worst fears of today's society. Beyond that, the writer has found his interpretation of Frankenstein's voice and made a very solid effort to define the relationships between the team members.

That madness is all given substance through the craggy, detailed artwork of Alberto Ponticelli. Ponticelli has been a rock throughout this title's run, delivering imagery that is worthy of such a legendary monster while evoking comparisons to Bernie Wrightson and Doug Mahnke. Wayne Faucher brought a sense of refinement to Ponticelli's crazed sketches. The two together are like science and fiction, monsters and comic books, peanut butter and chocolate. Only together does one realize the necessity of the combination. I'm not sure what is next for Ponticelli, but if it doesn't involve some degree of monster or alien then his talents are going to be wasted. For now, though, "Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #16 provides not only a glorious sample of what Ponticelli, Faucher, colorist John Kalisz and letterer Dezi Sienty brought to the table, but also what this title brought to the DC Universe.

As last issues go, this one doesn't have much to wrap up or to spin out towards other horizons. All the same, Kindt gives Frankenstein and his crew a strong finale that serves as a precise representation of the book's characters and mission statement. February won't quite be the same as there will be a Frankenstein-shaped hole on the new comics rack. Hopefully, Frank continues to appear in "Justice League Dark." Maybe his team will find refuge elsewhere as well.

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