REVIEW: Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #0

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DC’s Zero Month continues in its attempts to provide new readers with a jumping on point for their books. Does Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #0 succeed in that attempt? Major Spoilers gives you its answer.

Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #0
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Alberto Ponticelli
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: Serving alongside other monsters like the Creature Commandos as an agent of the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive (S.H.A.D.E.), Frankenstein fights creatures preying on the world. Unaware of his origin, Frankenstein searches for an answer to whether he is alive or dead.

MONSTROUS ORIGIN

This issue is all origin as we see Dr. Victor Frankenstein create his monster. Using a soul machine powered by the doctor’s victims, Frankenstein’s monster is brought to life. After freeing the victims and escaping, Frankenstein travels for 10,000 miles but is followed by his creator. Victor finds Frankenstein in the Amazon and the battle between creator and creation comes to a head.

I’ve been using Zero Month to try new books that I would not usually buy. Many comic readers can get stuck reading the same titles each month and not attempt to branch out, and I can be just as guilty. Luckily, DC is providing zero issues as a means to interest new readers. Some have succeeded, some haven’t. Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. is a success. A huge success. I only know the character from what I read in Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers, and decided to pick up this title due to the character’s upcoming tie-in to Rotworld. I was pleasantly surprised. Seeing the monster’s creation provides a good setup and pulls new readers into his world. Making Victor the true monster and Frankenstein a purveyor of justice is something I just loved. Frankenstein is written with heart and compassion (which fits with Mary Shelley’s characterization) along with a noble sense of right and wrong that makes the character sympathetic and likeable. Juxtaposed with Victor, who is evil and loathsome, you see a Yin Yang bond occur. If seeing people used for their souls weren’t enough to make you hate Victor, seeing him and his army of monsters commit genocide on an Amazon tribe will.

I know Matt Kindt doesn’t write the ongoing title, that chore goes to Jeff Lamire, but if it’s anything like this issue, I’m going to pick it up. Kindt does an excellent job with his pacing, spending just the right amount of time with Frankenstein’s creation, and Victor’s pursuit. Out of all the zero issue’s I’ve read so far, this one is the best. It’s new reader friendly and succeeds in making you want to come back for more. It’s a good introduction to the world and tone of the title and I’m excited. This is a new book to read, and the only negative would be that I’ve got to make room in my budget to buy it.

MONSTROUS ART

Alberto Ponticelli’s art has a monstrous amount of detail in it. Just looking at the single page of Victor’s laboratory you see the soul machine, victims in cages and animals dissected, all on display in the minutest detail. Set in 1823, all the characters look like they belong in the time period, again with great design in the clothing and appearance. Backgrounds are just as detailed as his characters and really help immerse you in the world. His creatures have an ugliness to them, as seen in the panel with Victor and his army of monsters, which only adds to the story. Panel layout and composition are all well thought out and whether it’s the overhead shot of Victor and Frankenstein going over a waterfall, or Frankenstein smacking his creator with a rock, everything flows nicely and has great perspective. Colors are appropriately dark and dull in the laboratory scenes, and bright in the Amazon section of the story. This is some great stuff, and well worth the $2.99 for the art alone.

BOTTOM LINE: DON’T LET THIS TITLE FAIL

I can’t say enough good things about this book. A great jumping on point and introduction to the character, wonderful art, everything is a win. It’s an unusual concept, but everything works in my opinion and I’ll be tracking down past issues to give them a look. I hope DC keeps this book going (I’m unaware of how sales are) because it would be a shame to see it cancelled. If everything remains this high quality for future issues I’ll be adding it to my pull list. This outstanding zero issue of Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. earns 5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★★