The New 52: Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and Resurrection Man

From the “The Dark” group of DC’s New 52:

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

Frankenstein’s monster is a staple in literature, and has been used by DC many times in the past. DC is counting on Frank to help kick off a new series that reminds me a lot of Hellboy. This summer, writer Jeff Lemire had a very interesting Flashpoint mini-series called Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown that saw Frank and his Creature Commandos fighting Nazis in World War II, being put in suspended animation, and then thawed out and participating in the alternate reality Atlantean/Amazon war. This new book looks to be even more audaciously fun.

S.H.A.D.E. stands for Super Human Advanced Defense Executive and its headquarters is the “Ant Farm,” a mobile, 3-inch indestructible globe that is flying 2,000 miles above Manhattan. Access to the Ant Farm is by a hybrid of teleportation and shrink technology designed by Ray Palmer (AKA The Atom). We’re only on Page 4, and I’m totally into this! But it gets better! Frank is under the direction of Father Time, a shape-shifter who currently has the body of a small girl, looking a lot like Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass (sans purple hair).

Father Time and Frank go to help quell an army of monsters that is attacking a small town in Washington, but just before Frank joins the fight Father Time introduces him to his new team: Dr. Nina Mazursky, an amphibian/human hybrid, Warren Griffith, a werewolf, Vincent Velcoro, a vampiric crossbreed, and Khalis, a mummy of unknown origin (not to be confused with Kahless, the first Klingon emperor). And, oh yes, Frank’s four-armed wife is already battling the monsters, and has gone missing in action.

The artwork by Alberto Ponticelli is just right for this book. The science-fictional hardware looks suitably futuristic, and the character designs and fight sequences look suitably organic. The whole package is a delightful blend of action, excitement, horror, and humor that I’m looking forward to reading more of.

Resurrection Man

In the late 1990s, the writing duo of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning created Mitch Shelley, AKA Resurrection Man, a character who kept coming back to life, but with a new superpower each time. Kind of like Croyd Crenson, AKA The Sleeper, created by Roger Zelazny for George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards series. Now, Abnett and Lanning are resurrecting Resurrection Man as part of DC’s “Dark” group of the New 52.

The first issue drops the reader into the middle of a fast-paced chase that culminates in an exciting plane crash. Competing agents of heaven and hell are trying desperately to capture Shelley by any means possible. Fernando Dagnino’s art renders the chaotic story in a clear, unpretentious way. While not a true origin story, new readers will have no trouble following what’s going on; it’s an introduction that hints at thrilling supernatural exploits to come.

One response to “The New 52: Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and Resurrection Man

  1. Don’t agree with you on R-Man. He seems more like a Wonder Twin. Just not doing it for me. Do agree with you about Frankenstein. A great book, full of neat ideas.

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