Generally speaking, tie-ins to big Events fall into two different camps. The first, and more common, follows a character central to the series in an important story. This can be hard to do: what, after all, is the line between important enough to warrant a tie-in and what is TOO important to leave out of the main title? The second involves a character peripheral to the action of the main series who just… lives in the created world. His adventures reference the main action, but don’t matter to the story. Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #1 is the latter sort of story.
Opening in World War II, Frankenstein is unearthed in a conflict between American and German forces in, and he almost immediately dismembers the Nazis with a hearty, “And still there’s so much… evil. And where evil walks… Frankenstein lives!” With that, we’re off – the team gets together, kills Hitler, gets betrayed, and wakes up in Flashpoint Metropolis – tellingly, with a incredibly thick broken metal door bearing the Superman ‘S’ in the same lab that created the Creatures of the Unknown.
In a way, this issue serves as a test run for Lemire, who will be writing the Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE ongoing for DC starting this September, and thankfully Lemire does a solid job – he largely gets Frankenstein’s disjointed, literate mode of speech down – though it’s a conceit he largely abandons in the back-half of the book, unfortunately giving the character much more typical, much less lyrical dialogue. Hopefully, Lemire will pick up Frankenstein’s unique voice soon, but he does a fair job, at least, at shading in his cast of monsters.
Still, the book is has action and atmosphere. It has Nazis and monster hunters. It has J.A.K.E. the G.I. Robot set up as Frankenstein’s nemesis, another inhuman creation, but this one hard and soulless. If this is the kind of story we’ll be getting in Lemire’s main run, I’ll be pleased: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #1 is ridiculous pulp adventure played straight. With a stronger sense of characters and a slightly more relaxed pace, the rest of this mini, and the series to follow, could be a joy to read. As is, it remains a fun exploration of Flashpoint‘s alternate timeline, well-illustrated by Ibraim Roberson, who captures Frankenstein’s imposing stature, Griffith’s quick, feral rage and Nina’s shy, reluctant attitud. It doesn’t answer any big questions, but it does have Frankenstein’s monster beheading Hitler with the sword of the Archangel Michael, and with some books, you really can’t ask for much more than that.
– Cal Cleary