New 52 Review – “Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1”

The Creature Commandos are back with a new leader.

General Information

Title: Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

Author: Jeff Lemire

Illustrator(s): Alberto Ponticelli (art) and Jose Villarrubia (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


Frankenstein’s monster, who simply goes by Frankenstein, is an agent of S.H.A.D.E. (whatever that stands for) and works for good. Along with U.N. liason Ray Palmer and a few “mad science” style compatriots, he needs to quell a monster invasion in a small town before the government deploys nukes.

High Point

Finding a home for Ray Palmer, as early information revealed that he will not be the Atom in the Justice League.

Low Point

The issue is over, and I don’t give a hoot about the title character. All of my interest lies in the supporting cast in general, and Ray Palmer in particular.

The Scores

This is an original title in the sense of collecting a group of characters who have, to the best of my knowledge, never actually worked together, but who fit together quite naturally. The classic Creature Commando concept is here, but it doesn’t feel mired in any continuity such that it would confuse a new reader. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is in a deliberately off model style, meant to look rough but still giving the impression of careful planning. It’s a valid art choice I don’t personally care for. I give it 3 out of 6.

The story is off to a good start. The threat is defined, as is an additional obstacle to success. We also get some idea of the personal relationships involved. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is good. We get a very clear picture of who Frankenstein is, even if we don’t really know exactly what his motives are. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is where the problems come in. Yes, we get a very clear picture of who Frankenstein is. He’s a very old, very pessimistic monster who thinks he’s seen it all and knows better than anyone around him with no glimmer of enjoying life and no spark of charisma. In short, he’s a character who is entirely devoid of the qualities I like in my heroes. If not for Ray Palmer, this issue would have been a complete wash for me. I give it 2 out of 6.

The flow works well enough. The placement of the text captions and bubbles when the Creature Commandos are introduced is a bit awkward, but the only alternative I can see is to cover up parts of the art that shouldn’t be covered. It feels like either Lemire doesn’t plan for the artist well enough while writing, or the artist deviated so far from Lemire’s plan that the letterer (Pat Brosseau) was left with a “rock and a hard place” kind of decision there. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, this certainly adds to the diversity of the line, but I won’t be coming back for more. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 receives 26 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman

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