Max takes a break from Adam Strange to check out the DC New 52 series Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. in both issue and trade paperback form. Find out about some of the wild monster mashing fun of the first stories of this great series written by Jeff Lemire!
Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at email@example.com. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.
I bought the Green Lantern Arkkis Chummuck figure today, who looks somewhat like a werewolf, and set up my now crowded Green Lantern Corps shelf. It looks great, though oddly enough Arkkis does not have a Lantern ring on any of his fingers! Maybe he has a ring as a piercing somewhere? Seriously, I don’t know what’s up. Oh well, you can’t tell the way he’s displayed. I’m back in the position where I probably won’t be buying anymore action figures anytime soon. Now there’s really not much room left!
After reading tons of classic Adam Strange the past few entries, it seemed appropriate to take a break from the character before jumping into his modern adventures. How better to take a break than with a handful of modern (at least when I’m writing this) comics? Not just any modern comics, but Jeff Lemire’s first story arc on Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. with art by Alberto Poniticelli. Thanks to my buddy Loren I was able to borrow Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. # 1-4 and read them in a couple of sittings, bringing us to another session of…
I own the first two issues of Frankenstein and only wanted to borrow #3-4 from Loren, but he must of misheard me and loaned me all four. This gave me the opportunity to sit down and read from the beginning without digging out my copies of the issues. Having read all four, my love for this book has been cemented. I did a review of issue #1 awhile back where I talked about how the book is pretty weird, but pretty great because of it. I stand by that here. There’s super science, surreal weirdness and over the top monsters—both good guys and bad guys—who make the book a great read. Also in that review, I made the mistake of saying that I believed the Creature Commando characters in the book dated back to WWII at least in setting, though they debuted in the 1980s, and as a modern team. I regret the error.
The story involves a monster planet invading Earth to take it over via a dimensional warp in the small community of Bone Lake. It’s up to Frankenstein, S.H.A.D.E.’s top agent and his new team, the Creature Commandos to stop the invasion of the monster planet and save the Bride, Frankenstein’s ex-wife and fellow S.H.A.D.E. agent. The odds are overwhelming, but the Creature Commandos rise to the occasion making mincemeat of any monsters in their path. Meanwhile, they remain in constant contact with S.H.A.D.E. commander Father Time who has chosen the body of a Japanese school girl in a domino mask as his current form, and science liaison Ray Palmer—a character most of us comic nerds know as the Atom. He’s not in his super hero identity here though.
Things escalate but ultimately, Frank and crew come out on top. But the road to victory is such a wild ride it makes me wish more comics had this much chaos and mayhem going on in them. The Creature Commandos are fleshed out enough to become distinct characters, particularly the Commandos’ creator, Dr. Mazursky, who is now the Mermaid member of the team, as her origin is delved into in issue #2. Frankenstein isn’t used to working with a team, and it shows, but he works to adapt to his new compatriots and lead them to triumph. There is also a fair amount of humor in the book, which is pulled off well despite the mostly serious cast. The back and forth between the vampire pilot Velcoro and suckup werewolf soldier Griffith is pretty funny. Best of all, Alberto Ponticelli’s art is just the perfect fit for this series, as he does such a good job of rendering all the bizarre monstrous characters and environments.
So if you haven’t read Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. yet, you might want to give it a try. The trade paperback is due out in June, which collects issues #1-7, though I don’t know if I can advise waiting, it’s just such good comics. However you get it though, definitely check Frank’s new series out. Lemire and Ponticelli are really doing something special here. With Marvel putting the kibosh on their Destroyers book before it even saw print, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. is the premiere place for super heroic monster mashing madness in comics right now outside of Dark Horse’s Hellboy and its related titles.
And with that, it’s time to start reading the modern Adam Strange stuff, reading my first trade paperback so far for this project; everything else up to now have been Archive Edition hardcovers. Stay tuned…
NOTES FROM NOW (8/5/12): Little did I know when writing this entry, it would take me this long to get things up. The Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. trade paperback is now out! I still standby my love for this series, I just picked up my copy of the trade and suggest you all do the same—especially as I’ve heard the sales on the ongoing aren’t that great. Creator Matt Kindt has taken over for Jeff Lemire on the book now as of #10, but apparently Kindt had a hand in helping Lemire craft the first eight issues. Kindt is a rising star in his own right, authoring acclaimed graphic novels Pistolwhip and Super Spy, both of which are published by Top Shelf.
I looked through the TPB of Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and read the stories that appeared in issues #5-7. These include a fight with OMAC, the star of one of my favorite, yet vastly underappreciated New 52 book, OMAC . OMAC was canceled and ended with #8 in April of this year, but Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. seems to have survived DC’s second wave of cuts and is going strong. The final two part story features the team split up with disaster striking S.H.A.D.E. at home after their artificial life disposable “humanid” army become sentient and spark an uprising. Issue #7 has a really cool cover too.
I debated scanning some of the TPB, but decided not to for a couple reasons. First, there are a lot of one and two page spreads and my scanner would not do them justice. Second, it’s a pretty new book and cheaply had at that, so go check it out yourselves you turkeys! You’ll just have to settle for some of the covers, illustrated by J.G. Jones along with a picture of the Creature Commandos I found. For more, get in touch with Super-Fly and order your copy of the TPB today!
Back to Adam Strange next time!