By Casey Brazeal
“Romantic times call for unromantic people.” -Robert Heinlein
Rick Remender writes a hard drinking, white trash, space epic.It sounds too high-concept to work, but the story isn’t built on cute contrivances or impossibly complex sci-fi ideas. It has those things,but the adventures and settings in Fear Agent are held together by a real and relatable hero.
Heath Houston lives in a world of time travel,deadly drugs from other planets, and super intelligent telepathic aliens. But he doesn’t spend his time marveling at the wonder of it all; he has more simple problems to solve. Heath wants to get home, get drunk, and get back to his wife, in whatever order is most convenient.
He’s not a coward or a jerk. He struggles mightily. He wants things. But he doesn’t talk about how cool the world around him is; the visuals and the story do that for him.
On the art side,the series is drawn by co-creator of Fear Agent and the Walking Dead, Tony Moore.The character designs are fantastic. There is nothing slick or sleek about Heath Houston’s orange and blue exterminator jumpsuit. His jet pack looks like a 1950s vacuum cleaner. Houston has the standard issue, anti-hero, Wolverine wannabe haircut and stubble, but the look is continually undercut by his ultra-expressive face. Credit the artists with creating a character who is continually mugging but still looks like a real person. The expressions convey Heath’s broad emotions without devolving into mime or self-parody.
The second trade paperback in the Fear Agent series is drawn by Jerome Opeñaand is probably a better book than the first. The story becomes more sure-footed once it abandons Heath Houston’s adventures as a space exterminator and gets into the business of saving the world from certain destruction. The first trade is certainly enjoyable, but in the second trade the story really hits its stride. As far as the art style,Opeña is able to keep the look of all the characters while adding a richer,creamier look to the pages.
Still, I would recommend that anyone interested in Fear Agent get both. Because, while any individual issue would probably be enjoyable on its own,the building and continually accelerating pace of the Fear Agent story is best seen in its entirety.
About the author
You can visit the very busy Casey Brazeal at his blog, North and Clark.