Fear Agent #17

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
"Hatchet Job #1 of 5"

Fear Agent is always a great comic. Rick Remender has a great recipe for what makes this comic successful, and he does it so well that he makes creating this comic look easy.

Start the recipe with some amazing space action. This issue has that in spades. Readers get some fascinating space creatures - floating space fish thingies, bizarre four-armed mutant creatures, and gigantic, man-eating flowers. The creatures are all enough to make any sci-fi comics fan excited. Add to the creatures a crazy, bizarre alien world that includes a weird and wild city on a cliff and you have a completely unique comic series.

Next, keep the action flowing. Once the characters get to the planet, keep the story moving forward so the reader never really has a chance to catch his or her breath. Remender has delivered this energy in most every issue of the series so far, and he has it down to an art form here. From the moment that the main characters set foot on the alien planet, the story moves forward with an intensity.

The next ingredient is humor, of course. Readers know by now that lead character Heath Huston is a smart-ass, screw-up slovenly drunkard. We kind of love Heath for that, and his ability to spout off silly and often inappropriate one-liners as events tumble out of control all around him. Readers know from past experience with Heath that his humor comes from a deep-seated self-hatred, so all of the humor leads to the next ingredient.

That ingredient is a healthy dose of characterization. Heath has a strained relationship with his ex-wife Charlotte due to horrific events that happened in the previous issue, and readers see those strains play out as the pair gathers before their next mission. We also see what happens when Charlotte's second husband Keith is teamed up with him on a mission. Keith is horrified by the way that Heath lives his life and the condition of his spaceship, but something tells me that Heath will earn more respect from Keith after Heath saves Keith's life.

The final key ingredient is spectacular artwork, and Jerome Opena delivers that as well. Opena's art is plain gorgeous. His alien creatures are especially cool because they seem just slightly real, and his tableau of the alien city on the last page is amazing. At the same time, Opena never loses track of the fact that this comic is focused on characters. Opena does a great job with Heath's expressions throughout the comic. It's funny that Heath is a real jerk, but he has these deep, soulful eyes that you can really imagine a woman falling hard for Heath.

This is yet another terrific issue of Fear Agent. Rick Remender and Jerome Opena are really cooking now.

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