Saturday, October 13, 2012
Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE Vol. 1: War of the Monsters
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Alberto Ponticelli
What happens when Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, a werewolf, a mummy, a vampire, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon team up? You get one of the best comics on the market. It sounds like a classic movie monster slugfest but Jeff Lemire chose to go in a different direction.
They all work for the immortal Father Time whose latest incarnation is a little girl. She heads up S.H.A.D.E. (Super Human Advanced Defense Executive). Lemire takes the time to develop backstories and personalities for each of the characters. He quickly makes the reader realize that the monsters are people too. Even the Monster Planet that attacks Earth in the opening arc is a victim in the story. It turns out the planet is not what they expected.
My favorite story was the fourth one in this collection. It is the tale of Colonel Quantum. He was one of Frankenstein’s friends in the sixties. His powers are similar to Dr. Manhattan from “Watchmen” or Captain Atom (currently in the DC Universe). They fought together in Viet Nam. It is a touching story about a warrior who becomes tired of fighting. He walks away. But it is never that easy. I remember spy stories where the character finds happiness and tries to leave the game behind. It never ends well. Quantum will be a character I never forget.
I did not particularly care for the art of Alberto Ponticelli in the past. His style was not a good fit for the other books I saw him illustrate. Here, it is the perfect match. I am disappointed to hear that he will be leaving the title in the near future. I will be very interested to see who follows him.
The mixture of monsters, science fiction, conspiracies, and covert operations makes this a “must read” title.
I read this as part of the RIP VII Challenge and the Graphic Novel Challenge.