Fear Agent: Remender’s Masterpiece
by: J.D. Cook
Imagine Ash from Army of Darkness in Space fighting Aliens and you have a good idea of what you will be getting into if you start this series. Although you are hooked by the ridiculous antics of cosmic cowboy Heath Houston you ultimately stay for his gripping characterization. He never ceases to stop being a real character despite his larger than life nature. He constantly teeters between being psychotically overconfident and a depressed alcoholic lost in space. Into this space serial comes various supporting character’s but none seem as important as his ship Annie which bares the consciousness of his, mostly estranged, wife Charlotte.
The art of the series intentionally harkens back to a classic era of pulp science fiction. It specifically pays homage to Wally Wood’s work. I don’t think it would be unfair to call Fear Agent, Flash Gordon on Acid, and believe me that’s not a bad thing. The art is gorgeous throughout and Tony Moore does an amazing job using vibrant colors to actually make the creepiest of the creepy crawlers somehow more revolting then they have any right being in a comic book. There is no better example of this then Huston’s enemies the Dressites, green amoebas in space suits that kill you by engulfing you…if their laser gun doesn’t get you first of course.
The Dressites are more than just spooky though. They are reflections of the modern United States schizophrenia when it comes to war. By that I mean in the story the Dressites are peacekeepers sent to Earth to protect humanity but their home world is disdainful of them resulting in their force feeling quite hostile for having to leave their planet to defend others far away. You could definitely tell the story came about in the midst of some of the most heated moments of the Iraq War. Many of the other enemies are equally terrifying but not quite as close to home as the Dressites. The Teteldian Empire are another huge enemy who really put the pulp in pulp science fiction. They are basically brains with giant robotic bodies. Although my favorite villains of the story are probably the super creepy race of aliens who decided to transcend to their god in a black hole only for some of their souls to be trapped on the perpetual outskirts of the hole devouring those who pass by their world.
Rick Remender really runs Huston through a gauntlet over the course of the story. As anyone who has read his work knows he is not afraid to kill characters or hit you with unexpected twists. If someone created a list of all the times things went horribly wrong for ole’ Heath Huston it would probably outnumber the actual pages of the two massive tomes I read Fear Agent in. Along with that the story has a lot of fun circular moments where things that happened early on in the comic book end up becoming immensely important later on. I think the entire series needs to be read at least twice to catch all of the twists and turns throughout the tale.
I can’t say enough for the series and I’d urge any Remender fan’s out there to invest in the collected works. I had been eying them online for ages but when I found them both at Midtown Comics in Manhattan I knew the time to buy them had come. Not only can you grab Fear Agent for a pretty penny but over in Marvel Comics he just wrapped up a huge story arc in grandiose fashion with the Uncanny Avengers and the newest issue of Black Science was astoundingly good.