Overview

Fear Agent #1

Review

Share this review

  • Button Delicious
  • Bttn Digg
  • Bttn Facebook
  • Bttn Ff
  • Bttn Myspace
  • Bttn Stumble
  • Bttn Twitter
  • Bttn Reddit

Fear Agent #1

Credits

  • Words: Rick Remender
  • Art: Tony Moore
  • Inks: Sean Parsons
  • Colors: Lee Loughridge
  • Story Title: Fear Agent, Part 1
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Oct 26, 2005

Alien worlds, ray-guns, giant space brains, and a swashbuckling anti-hero kicking ass for bucks and booze. Out of the golden age of pulp sci-fi comes Fear Agent.

Heath Huston is the last of a dying breed, a small band of alien ass-stompers called the Fear Agents. They saved the Earth in the past from three different alien races, but are no more, and these days Huston has to take freelance jobs as an alien exterminator to keep fuel (read: booze) in his tank. Good thing he’s around, because something’s brewing on the alien world Frazterga, where the Neanderthal-like Zlasfons have been raiding the planetary pilgrims for high technology. When Huston arrives to exterminate them, he realizes that brutes who don’t even have a language couldn’t have been behind the heists. Penetrating into their lair, he finds a fully constructed rocket ship and a giant brain-jacking jelly brain running the show. Piling up even more Zlasfons is the easy part. The hard part will be keeping his head about him while dealing with a brain that’s light-years smarter than his.

When one age begins, another always ends. As the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises rose to dominance, and then cyberpunk captured the culture’s imagination with such classics as Neuromancer and Blade Runner, the pulp sci-fi story that reached its zenith in the 1950s fell out of favor, seeming quaint and one-dimensional by comparison. But just because genre dominance ends doesn’t mean that the genre itself ever dies. In comics, since the 70s old-school sci-fi has thrived in the British weekly anthology 2000 AD. And if Fear Agent #1 is any indication, action-packed space adventure may have found its way back into American comics.

For the most part, Rick Remender’s script satisfies the pulp sci-fi fan on nearly every front by keeping everything simple. Once past the first three pages the plot is straightforward—essentially one extended scene broken into three acts that develop naturally. Remender keeps the pacing crisp by alternating action scenes with well-rendered turning points that up the ante and keep the reader turning pages. But Heath Huston is the main attraction of Fear Agent. Essentially a cowboy archetype in a space suit, he’s part Flash Gordon, part western anti-hero. Though Remender weaves hardly a discernible theme into the first issue of Fear Agent, and Huston would rather have a shot of whiskey than a moment of soul-searching, the writer’s dynamic use of first-person narration gives his character a distinctive voice and makes him compelling.

The only hitch in Remender’s story is the opening sequence—three pages depicting an alien space trucker arriving at a station, finding it empty, then getting devoured by a many-tentacled monster. Interesting enough, if it grabs the reader and has something to do with the rest of the narrative. But while it certainly achieves the former, as far as the latter, there’s not even a hint in the rest of the issue to suggest that the opening sequence has some relevance. This arc is to last five issues, and I imagine that this opening scene will be revisited again. But if it has nothing to do with issue #1, then it should’ve been pushed back to later issues. Still, because Huston makes a real impression on the reader and his part of the tale is a rip-roaring and violent romp, the first three pages don’t detract from the strength of Fear Agent #1.

However strong a story is, art makes or breaks a first issue. In the case of Fear Agent #1, the team of Tony Moore on pencils, Sean Parsons on inks, and Lee Loughridge on colors have turned in such impressive comic art that I’ll be back for issue #2. Loughridge is the only member of this trio with whose work I’m familiar. The emotional tones he paints with secondary colors in The Losers are there in Fear Agent #1. The complex array of shades, tones, and hues he brings to bear are a treat for the eyes, particularly the chilly pale blues played off vibrant rust reds when Huston breaches the rocket lair. The colors vivify Tony Moore’s sharp, angular lines and Sean Parsons’ clean, edgy inks. Parson reminds us that the inker is like a rhythm guitarist in a rock band. When he’s doing his job, you barely notice while enjoying the art; but when he’s not, the absence is glaring because nothing clicks. And every one of Moore’s panels has an energy that the reader feels as it drives his prodigious storytelling skills. While he has other strengths—particularly where anatomy, staging figures, and framing shots are concerned—they all come down to his ability to tell a story.

Lots of action and compelling characterization makes Fear Agent a great tribute to old-school sci-fi and a welcome change to what’s currently found on the shelves of your local comics shop.

Related content

Related Headlines

Related Lowdowns

Related Reviews

Related Columns

Comments

There are no comments yet.

In order to post a comment you have to be logged in. Don't have a profile yet? Register now!

Latest headlines

READ ALL HEADLINES

Latest comments
Comics Discussion
Broken Frontier on Facebook