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Fear Agent #19

Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

Rick Remender
Jerome Opena, Michelle Madsen (c)
Dark Horse Comics
"Hatchet Job" (part 3)

This is the first issue of Fear Agent I’ve ever read and honestly had no idea who was who, what was going on, but loved it nonetheless. Rick Remender and Jerome Opena offer up an amazing sci-fi action adventure that is both fresh and frightening.

Fear Agent tells the story of Heath Huston, a rugged two-fisted spaceman escaping from one dangerous alien world to another. Although Heath isn’t present in the majority of this issue, his brave and fearless character is felt.

Issue #19 itself revolves around Mara, who is stranded on the strange alien world of Neavsivia. After leading into her teammates on a selfish revenge crusade that leads to their subsequent deaths, Mara searches the planet with the survivors to find a way home. The moody atmosphere really accelerates the drama. As soul-sucking aliens chase the survivors, they run past giant stain-glass windows that illuminate the dark scene. As they run underneath the complex illuminated shapes, Mara exclaims, “I had no idea what was down here.”

Remender concocts a thrilling sci-fi plot that has all the classic metaphors of proper science fiction like Ben Bova and Harlan Ellison. Without giving too much away, the commentary on religious fervor intermingled with the power of government was poignant and agreeable. Yet, Remender also does this with such swift pacing that you’re immediately engaged in the plight of these characters. In a manner of pages, Remender takes Mara from sorrowful to hysterical to resolute out of desperation.

Furthermore, Remender adds a great deal of suspense. Despite not knowing any of the references to people and places, I was enthralled by the drama between Mara and Charlotte. These women have a great deal to fight about given the circumstance, and its interesting to watch Charlotte’s pigheadedness one up Mara’s self-centeredness.

Finally, Opena’s gritty art is vibrant and layered. He hides the creepy soul-sucking alien in shadows so that you’ll only catch them on your second read. Also, his realistic characters convey the gamut of emotions that Rememder runs through at incredible speed.

Overall, Fear Agent: Hatchet Job # 3 of 5 is a fun sci-fi excursion.



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