With the release of Rick Remender’s “Black Science” earlier this week, Bloody-Disgusting thought it time to revisit “Fear Agent.”
The series is the spiritual prequel to “Black Science” featuring alcoholic Texan roughneck Heath Houston as the last remaining Fear Agent. The series is notable for its emphasis on balls to the wall action, insane creatures, and complete disregard for actual science. It was designed to be a tribute to the medium, break all the rules, and even make a few of its own.
It’s a tremendously fun read that rockets through a quick bout of world building while continually throwing Heath into the deep end of the galaxy pool. Throughout these hellish ordeals Heath provides ample amounts of laughs with his infinite charisma and haphazard problem solving skills.
Tony Moore brings the entire thing to life. Razor sharp lines an incredible attention to detail permeate every page. The rougher edges of the space are depicted with a certain Moore sheen that makes them feel weathered and decrepit. This is a galaxy that has seen some shit.
If you’re a fan of excellent, fun science fiction, or you’ve just read “Black Science” and are eager for more then “Fear Agent” is the book for you. Plus it serves as a fantastic gateway drug to Remender’s body of work.
Fear Agent starts with a fantastic depiction of the larger universe at play. We’re treated to overweight alien man stopping at a deserted truck stop. Naturally he’s upset that nobody is around but is more concerned if the chili shack is still open. He’s devoured by page four. A disgusting tentacle creature makes short work of him.
From here Remender introduces us to Heath. He uses an internal monologue to treat the reader to the details about the universe Huston is privy to. In the opening pages we learn just what a Fear Agent is, the hierarchy of intelligence in the known galaxy, and the things Heath is allowed to kill. It sells him as a rough and tumble spacefarer who succeeds mostly by luck and quick thinking.
From here Moore steps in and commands the page. Heath encounters some primates who hope to bash his skull into dust. The resulting battle is a fast paced frenzy that feels clumsy and exciting.
Which is almost the mantra of the book. Clumsy excitement. Remender and Moore hard for the action. Things never feel disorienting. The pacing takes over and the internal monologue puts the reader in a place of vulnerability. Often the narrative is lost in the shuffle, you’re left to marvel at Heath’s stupidity and ingenuity.
For the first half of the trade Heath is left to his own devices. Once he encounters the disgusting Feeders he gains an ally. Although this alliance is formed quickly the character beats are fantastic. Heath is a loner, and there is a clear reason for it.
Without spoiling the details of the plot this first trade contains a literal smorgasbord of genre tropes. Each of them is so naturally fluid within the story that nothing feels forced. In fact the world is so alive with energy that you’ll stop worrying if it makes sense.
You’ve got tentacle cannibal creatures, time travel, primitive monkey men, sub-space anomalies, earth invasions, and so much more. These elements amount to an adventure that threatens to change everything in the known universe and serve as redemption for Heath’s past mistakes.
“Fear Agent” is what comics are all about. It doesn’t concern itself with the boring details, and it will never stop entertaining the reader. An alcoholic spaceman should be enough to sell any series, but Remender pushes all the buttons in the science fiction elevator and you best be prepared to stop on every floor. It’s a rollicking fun romp through space that is sure to keep you warm until “Black Science” # 2 drops on December 18th.