Overview

Fear Agent #3

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Fear Agent #3

Credits

  • Words: Rick Remender
  • Art: Tony Moore
  • Inks: Mike Manley
  • Colors: Lee Loughridge
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 1, 2006

Rick Remender believes sci-fi has "lost its stones." Well, hold on to yer helmets, space cowboys, ‘cuz there’s enough stones here to make a friggin’ rockslide!

With a free-spirited nod to the spaghetti western, Fear Agent kicked off with a raucous, all-action inaugural issue that introduced its protagonist, Heath Huston, in a scattershot of B-movie sci-fi eccentricity. Heath is purported to be the last Fear Agent, a once populous group of outer space desperadoes who allegedly saw their final days in an event known as The Annubius Conflict. Heath is now a borracho – a boozer – who can barely keep one foot in front of the other without a drop of the ol’ doch-and-dorrach coursing through his veins (and brains). His alcoholism is hinted to be due to an ill-fated event of his past, when he lost a girl named Char, the one, true love of his life. Now…faced with a conspiracy to destroy the planet Earth by a band of anti-human aliens known as Dressites, can Heath – with only his personal, sentient shuttle named Annie and an irascible tag-along named Mara – make it back to Earth before this dastardly plot can come to fruition?

If that all sounds like it belongs in a 1930’s black-and-white serial, that’s because it’s definitely derived from one: the aliens come in two flavors – bizarre and humanoid, the settings reject every known law of physics, and the cliffhangers are nerve-shattering shockers. Mix in a meaty spoonful of down and dirty western modernism and you’ll need a bib that provides wide coverage because the final result is a smorgasbord of juicy, lip-smacking, genre-fiction sloppiness!

Co-creator/writer Rick Remender is becoming a small deity of the independent playing field with hit after hit such as Sea of Red, Strange Girl, and now Fear Agent. All of these series are written with a solid sense of story structure and each and every one is being drawn by some of the biggest fish in the artistic ocean. While Sea is Rick’s densest tale, and Strange Girl his most character-driven, Fear Agent is where he gets to open the floodgates and bring out everything still buried within his childhood sandbox. Every wild, loony, nonsense piece of creative hoo-hah action is jammed between the covers of each and every issue; from Flash Gordon pulp passion to They Saved Hitler’s Brain odd-ball horror – it’s all here in a mere 22 pages.

The artist for this first story arc, Tony Moore, is widely known for his run on the glacial paced horror-drama The Walking Dead, but his first major industry splash was made in the madcap pages of Battle Pope (a title precisely as irreverent as it sounds). In Fear Agent, Moore combines the two styles to bring about a masterful marriage of dramatic density and crazy calamity. With inker extraordinaire Mike Manley in tow (the great Darkhawk artist of yore!), and colorist Lee Loughridge providing perfect palates, the visuals are cinematic comic-book grandeur.

For anyone who has ever watched Clint Eastwood mosey down the sand-strewn streets of the Old West, calmly absorbed with revenge; or read Stephen King’s Roland, the last gunslinger, bemoaning his past as he staggers forth to find his Dark Tower, the similarities will be naturally drawn. There’s a somber undercurrent powering the crop of sci-fi zaniness (Remender’s "stones," if you will), and with each progressive issue the results snowball into bigger and bigger monuments of pure aesthetic verve. The whole package is cliché-ridden, yes, but with a self-aware tenor that acknowledges, embraces and moves beyond the very clichés employed.

A little wild west, a little hard sci-fi, a little soft-in-the-head sci-fi, and a cargo hold full of funny-book mayhem; Fear Agent is a concrete story without limits, and that makes it one of the best books being offered today.

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