Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E #3

#1 Posted by MattDemers (362 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good

If I can say some good things about this book, it would be that the covers evoke a very "Conan" air, and that's something that contributes to the book's mood. The art inside isn't too shabby either, and its roughness is reflected on the characters themselves.

The spiders are wonderfully rendered, and they definitely evoke a "creepy, ooze-y" feel. However, you've got to wonder about why Lemire partners spiders with ogres and sea monsters; it seems like a "grab bag" of bad guys with no definite purpose.

The Bad

One of the large problems I've had with this series so far is the tendency to throw the team into "insurmountable odds" situations and have them deus-ex-machina'd out of it, or the conflict that by all means should threaten them is taken care if with minimal effort. Both of those happen in this issue.

Seeing Frank deal with a colossal, mountain-sized spider in five pages is not something that I want to see. It de-values the whole fight, and hearing how they have to kill two more just kind of makes that one seem like less of a threat. A scene that could've been an amazing fight has kind of been swept under the rug.

Also, the dialog in this issue seems to have taken a hit, as there's no shortage of "Good job, Frank!" and "He may be insane, but he's no coward." It's groan-and-eyeroll worthy, and I could do without it. Again, we're not learning much about the characters over the course of the book - it's action, action, action, and that's not always a good thing.

Having the whole premise of the issue being "team vs. huge gaggle of monsters" seems to have come and bit them the creative team in the ass: they can't spend a whole issue fighting a faceless, voiceless horde (that'd be boring), yet when they wipe out the horde in a panel-long deus-ex-machina (which earns an angering "that's classified" explanation from Father Time) it's terribly, terribly lame.

The Verdict

It's hard to review this series without comparing it to HELLBOY, and I believe DC's counting on that when it markets the title. They're essentially the same formula: big monster guy fights with other monster guys as part of a paranormal organization that deals with threats of a weird nature.

However, the charm of HELLBOY doesn't seem to carry over here, despite the heavy advertisement of Lemire's "dark humour." Frank ping-pongs between talking and quipping in a relatively modern tongue to just sounding downright mouldy, and it isn't a smooth transition.

The story is paced where a big threat is dealt with with very minimal fanfare and effort, so I don't feel rewarded for the excitement that builds up; there's little that makes me want to buy next month's book, as I get the feeling that the hype will be dealt with in a page or two.

All in all, I'd like the book to slow down a little, and give readers credit by rewarding them with a little exposition and explanation.

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