Frankenstein and the Creature Commandos break through the dimensional barrier into the home dimension of the creatures that infested a small Midwestern town in issue #1. There, they find themselves vastly outnumbered by the spider creatures that call this dimension home. Khalis, the mummy, must make a great sacrifice to save them, but even with the spider creatures dispatched, a new, even greater threat emerges. With Ray Palmer and Father Time behind the scenes calling the shots, the heroes barely manage to survive that attack, only to learn there are two more massive threats awaiting them. The heroes must split up to confront these two threats, but considering they barely survived the first assault united, things aren’t looking great!
Damn, this is one ugly book. Seriously, this art is crazy ugly! But, in a good way as it fits the supernatural tone of the book flawlessly! One thing DC has done masterfully with these ‘New 52’ titles is matching the art style so perfectly to so many off-beat books. Books like this one, ‘Animal Man,’ ‘All-Star Western’ and ‘Batwoman’ aren’t the typical super hero action books, so they shouldn’t be rendered as such. Alberto Ponticelli should never be allowed anywhere near ‘Justice League’ or ‘Supergirl,’ but his rough style is just the right take for ‘Frankenstein.’
He draws excellent monsters! They’re huge and grotesque! Critics may assert that the images in ‘Animal Man’ are more disturbing and they would be correct. But ‘Animal Man’ (also written by Jeff Lemire, by the way) is more psychological. ‘Frankenstein’ is a big balls-out action series, so the slightly scaled back gore is perfectly acceptable.
But it’s more than that. The crudeness of Ponticelli’s work may make more cursory observers interpret it as weak, when in reality, once past the roughness of his style, his storytelling, narrative and facial expressions are all top notch!
Jeff Lemire is carving out quite the niche for himself, penning both the darkly psychological ‘Animal Man’ and this book. Is it too early to dub him the new Grant Morrison? Maybe, but he’s treading similar ground and thus-far, managing to differentiate himself and tell some truly innovative tales, which I think was the main goal of relaunching DC’s entire line of comics.
The cast is certainly engaging. Frankenstein is anachronistic, while his ex-Bride seems to be a liberated modern lady. As a fan of the classic Universal Monster movies, I am delighted to see the rest of the cast fleshed out by Velcoro the Vampire, Griffith the Werewolf, Dr. Mazursky the Sea Creature and Khalis the Mummy. Their personalities are being revealed a bit at a time, but so far, they’re quite appealing! Not to mention Father Time, a cantankerous old coot stuck in the body of a female toddler!
Make no mistake, despite my comparison to Grant Morrison, that may sound too in-depth. ‘Frankenstein’ is a big loud action book. It’s supernatural in theme, but super hero at its core. It’s like the Justice League of Misfits! I feel like this book is flying under the radar because it doesn’t feature any of DC’s big names, which is really too bad. It’s excellently executed and entertaining on every level! Definitely check it out, if you haven’t already!
FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #3
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Alberto Ponticelli
Cover by J.G. Jones