Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #3

Story by
Art by
Alberto Ponticelli
Colors by
Jose Villarrubia
Letters by
Pat Brosseau
Cover by
DC Comics

"Hrrrn." That seems to be Frankenstein's reply to nearly everything he encounters. I'm not sure if it's exasperation or complete lack of a range of emotions, but throughout this issue it becomes quite comical, with Jeff Lemire delivering the "Hrrrn"s at all the right moments.

This is a book full of right moments. With a squad of monsters behind him, Frankenstein has been sent to an alien world to rescue his (ex-)wife from. . . uh. . . monsters. It's a monster mash (sorry, had to be done) that is wild and wooly, creeping with spiders, and filled with madcap comic book science fiction. Lemire gives Frankenstein an interesting cast of characters to play against, from the sassy vampire, Velcoro, to the obedient werewolf, Griffith. Lemire gives each of the characters a moment to shine, either in battle or in wit.

The characters are continuing to show more of their personalities, powers, and predispositions. I'd say they're continuing to grow, but I don't get the sense that the characters are growing in this series as much as our knowledge of them and familiarity with them is growing. Lemire seems to have these characters distinctly mapped out and it's simply a matter of the story giving the characters their moments rather than forcing moments on the characters.

The story itself is a simple tale: invading hordes are about to set upon the Earth, so Frankenstein and crew have to stop the hordes before they invade. That allows artist Alberto Ponticelli to be creative. After all, the world this team is invading doesn't even have a name, so the inhabitants of the planet are whatever Ponticelli and Lemire make them out to be. In this case, they're spiders -- giant and enormous, exactly the kind of menace that would rule the screen of a b-movie horror flick. Ponticelli's scratchy uncomfortable (in a good way) art makes the story that much more unnerving, and really sells the battle scenes. It helps, of course, that Ponticelli has experience drawing giant monsters shady ne'er-do-wells from his work on "Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths." With that kind of experience, this issue is just another day at the office. A really successful, grainy, edgy day at the office.

This third part of the "War of the Monsters" story is busy, exciting, and mind-blowing. Lemire and Ponticelli have made a strong case for this book to climb up the pile in my stack of books to read. This title is the one DC title I look forward to the most from the second week of the month releases and so far, it's delivered on my expectations. The best part? It's zany enough that any reader can jump in at any point and simply enjoy it for the supernaturally tinged, horror-flavored action adventure big screen romp that it truly is.

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