Gateway to Comics

Gateway to Comics: Fear Agent, Vol. 1: Re-ignition

Fear Agent is a science fiction action adventure comic written by Rick Remender and with art by Tony Moore. Alien exterminator and former Earth freedom fighter, Heath Houston, is hired to find out why all communication has stopped from a fuel and trading outpost. He arrives to find the station deserted but there’s something scary scuttling around in the shadows and Heath is going to be its next meal. What follows is a rollercoaster action adventure across space and time where all bets are off and anything can happen. Hold onto your rocket pack, Fear Agent is here.

Fear Agent is a modern science fiction pulp comic book series with rocket ships, lots of weird alien races, time travel, cyborgs, and a hundred other ideas thrown into the mix. It’s jam packed with over the top action and is a really entertaining science fiction comic where the focus is on fun rather than hard science. The main character, Heath Houston, is a drunk Texan and former Fear Agent, a group of humans who became infamous freedom fighters when Earth was invaded by hostile aliens. The invasion of Earth and what happened to the human race is explored in later volumes, but briefly, humans are just one of many spacefaring races and there are not many of them left. We’re also not a powerful player in the galaxy and there is no intergalactic Federation trying to spread the message of peace.

Life in space is hard for Heath and we see how different it is from the clean and seemingly effortless science fiction shows Heath watched as a boy. There’s no machine to whip up any food he desires and his fuel supply isn’t endless. His rocket ship gets shot and damaged and isn’t repaired automatically.

This colorful comic is wild and full of weird aliens, but it’s not without a certain level of realism. There isn’t a get out of jail free card or a last minute save when Heath gets into trouble. He gets shot, stabbed, drowned, harpooned, and beat up plenty throughout the whole series and you’re never completely sure if he will survive. How he managed to escape some of the situations he stumbled into is down to panic and blind luck. Heath is a survivor, it’s what he’s good at because he doesn’t quit and stubbornly fights against odds that would make more sober men quiver in fear.

Heath is a tragic character who drinks to forget everything that was taken from him. He’s a divorcee who lost his family in the invasion of Earth, and the only “person” he has for company is the artificial intelligence that controls his rocket ship. When we meet him he’s been roaming the stars for the last ten years, offering his services to any bidder.

After a fairly unsuccessful mission he’s called in to investigate a communications blackout at a trading post. What he discovers are several unstoppable flesh-eating creatures that have devoured whole worlds in the past. He also stumbles into an alien plot to send these Feeders to Earth to wipe out the rest of humanity. This is only the beginning of a wild story in which Heath must battle several alien races and help another overthrow a race of violent robots.

The story is incredibly unpredictable and full of plot twists you won’t see coming. Anything can happen to Heath and quite often does, which makes for an exciting and energetic read. The artwork is unashamedly bright and colourful with lots of gory detail, explosions and weird alien landscapes making it feel like an old pulp magazine.

Re-ignition is the first of five volumes about the adventures of Heath Houston and if you like the sound of Fear Agent there are a couple of other standalone science fiction comic series I can recommend.

Drafted, published by Devil’s Due is about an intergalactic threat which is coming to Earth. Whole planets and civilisations have been wiped out and now it’s our turn. Every man, woman and child is drafted into the army by visiting aliens and every human being is told they have to fight for survival. No one gets to sit on the sidelines because we’re all in this together. It’s fight or die. There are no more national borders or boundaries. Racial, social, religious and political divisions don’t mean anything anymore, in theory that is. The friendly aliens have the technology and the ships, they just need soldiers and we’re it. The entire world has been united by one purpose, but when everything is at stake, can we all pull together?

Several tie-in SF comics connected to movies and TV shows are also available if you want further adventures in a familiar universe such as Total Recall, Robocop, and Planet of the Apes.

Stephen Aryan is a lifelong fan of comics, science fiction and fantasy. He co-hosts the Comic Book Outsiders podcast and writes fantasy and comic book reviews at Walker of Worlds.


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