Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Fear Agent, Volume 1: Re-Ignition Review (Rick Remender, Tony Moore)


Set in the pulpy future, Heath Huston is an alien exterminator, the last member of a group calling themselves the “Fear Agents”, who gets paid to carry out genocide on “pests” - even though these pests are usually humanoid-like life-forms and makes Heath look like a one-man Nazi brigade! He discovers some evil aliens are planning on blowing up Earth and promptly sets off on a side-quest to fight some robot with a brain in a jar. 

Fear Agent came out in 2006, about the peak time for cool retro stuff to appear, and the series is certainly all about being retro-cool. Heath’s an outlaw drunk but it’s not cliche because it’s meant to be cliche. This is the hammy future of 1930s pulps but it’s not lame, it’s supposed to be lame so its cool, right? Robots, ray guns, rocket packs, it’s all there with a wink to the reader - we’re being retro and cool! Yeah, you’re not but I don’t really care. 

I’m not really a Rick Remender fan - Deadly Class is good and some of Black Science but the rest of it is pretty terrible - and Fear Agent is more of his same brand of shallow writing. Heath’s basically yet another Han Solo ripoff but at least he has a character unlike everyone else in the book. There’s the semblance of a plot - Earth is being threatened! - but there really isn’t a main villain and that plot is ignored, at least in this book. 

Instead this first volume is made up of ironic space adventures where Heath saves a buxom lady with his rocket pack and fights some robots with his ray gun. Ho hum. I guess if you’re into the cheese Remender’s serving, you’ll gobble it all up but I’m so past this b-movie retro crap at this point, I would really rather he, or anyone, tried making something original instead. 

For a Remender comic, it wasn’t bad. It was all over the shop but Tony Moore’s art was good and Heath was a likeable anti-hero. I wasn’t about to rush out and grab the next book in the series but I might’ve picked it up at some point. 

That is until the last issue in this trade when we meet green Vikings and their lengthy exposition about how glibglob and farbar came in the blimblam and begat the dooda with the whatsit made me completely lose patience with the series. It’s one of Remender’s flaws as a writer that he frequently has characters standing around telling you their life stories, usually when they’ve just been introduced. Their stories often being boring and cliched and totally irrelevant to the overall plot. 

That tipped it over from being an ok comic to a crap one and ensured me giving up on the series for good. 

Will Heath Huston save Earth from the feeders or whoever? I couldn’t give a damn.

Fear Agent, Volume 1: Re-Ignition

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