"Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E." #7 delivers a wild romp through all of the crazy concepts Jeff Lemire has brought to this title. S.H.A.D.E. City, the microscopic floating headquarters of the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive (S.H.A.D.E.) has been overthrown by the Humanids, mindless synthetic worker drones that powered the city and kept it fully functional. Beyond making for a sweet J.G. Jones cover, the story itself gives Frankenstein and his Creature Commandos a chance to truly unleash on a foe.
Lemire has taken the microcosm of S.H.A.D.E. City and filled it with wild concepts like the Zoo, a prison for scientific experiments gone horribly wrong and the Pit, a manufacturing facility for the aforementioned Humanids. The city and support staff, including U.N. liaison Ray Palmer, have become as much a critical piece of this series as any of the characters who follow Frankenstein into battle. Lemire's second-to-last issue, gives the writer a chance to play with all of those toys one last time and to remind readers just how amusing these concepts can be. There have been plenty of subplots and promised story ideas floating around since this series began and Lemire addresses a couple of those in this comic.
Through it all, Lemire writes some of the most divergent personalities of any comic currently being published. None of these characters are typecast, which is quite enlightening. Faced with snarling menaces, Lady Frankenstein and Nina Mazursky each react differently and set the tone for the wonderful Justice League-type pairings that continue through this entire comic book. By breaking the group down into couplings, Lemire is able to highlight and showcase personalities to great effect.
When I took a peek inside the cover, prior to settling in for my review, I noticed that the art in this issue is dramatically different than it has been in the series so far. It's worth noting for this chapter Alberto Ponticelli is joined by inker Walden Wong, Ponticelli's style is heavy and sketchy, well matched to a book that features Frankenstein and all manner of other beasties. Wong's inking overtop Ponticelli gives this book a vastly different complexion. It's not all bad, mind you, especially for an issue packed to the staples with crazy action and chaotic adventure. It looks more like a "traditional" comic than any issue of "Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E." has to this point.
Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli have kept this series on edge and the characters on the go. There's a surprise in every issue, including this one. Not only does one of the characters find himself on the business end of a beheading, but the cliffhanger final page is certain to leave fans of Frankenstein counting down the days until the next issue.