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Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #5

by  in Comic Reviews Comment
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #5

Frankenstein’s trademark groan of exasperation – “Hrrn” — gets a lot of play in this issue as Jeff Lemire and Dan DiDio present the other side of the epic battle that was conveyed in “O.M.A.C.” #5. This time we see S.H.A.D.E. attempting to lend assistance to Max Lord’s Checkmate in the pursuit of O.M.A.C.

This book is less a crossover with “O.M.A.C.” and more of a parallel retelling of what some readers may have already experienced. Readers picking this title up exclusively for panels from O.M.A.C. and Kevin Kho might find themselves disappointed in the lack of “new” battle sequences, but the art for the fight — and the rest of the issue — by Alberto Ponticelli gives the fight a facelift and makes it seem fresh, new and exclusive to this comic. Ponticelli’s art is darker and harsher than Keith Giffen’s take on this same battle over in “O.M.A.C.” Giffen’s work there is more bombastic and celebratory of comic art for comic art’s sake while the same tussle here (with a few new punches and kicks) is dark, brooding and tangible. Ponticelli has a knack for this book’s titular character and the off-beat, wild science that surrounds Frankenstein.

The epitome of the wild science, Ponticelli’s skill at drawing that world and some hints for where Lemire intends to take the character and the book, you don’t need to look any further than the final scene in the medical bay. That magnificent medical bay looks more like a science-fiction flick’s mad scientist laboratory than the typical sterile, white and vacuum-packed operating room conjured to mind by the term “medical bay.”

Following his battle with O.M.A.C., Frankenstein is seeking remedial attention from Dr. Mazursky, S.H.A.D.E.’s resident physician and Creature from the Black Lagoon equivalent. Dr. Mazursky makes an offer that piques Frank’s interest, and Father Time poses a threat to the way that Frankenstein handles business. This book has been in constant evolution and revelation mode since it hit the racks. While it seems like a safe bet that the star of the book is going to remain such, there’s just no telling what else is going to happen in each issue.

In this wacky, off-beat crossover with one of DC’s more entertaining relaunched titles, Lemire presents a tidy package for newer readers, including a full-blown mission statement for Frankenstein, right from the lips of the self-proclaimed undead prince of vengeance: “My only mission is to protect humanity from the things they themselves cannot bear to face.” The things he protects us from includes man-eating mountain dwarves, O.M.A.C. and boring comics. This book continues to entertain and this issue is a wonderful sample for anyone to try out.