Review – Simon N. Kirby, The Agent #1 (G-Man Comics)

Gilbert Monsanto

Publisher: G-Man Comics
Writer: Rik Offenberger
Artist: Gilbert Monsato
Letters: Eric N. Bennett

Clearly “a comic lovingly produced for comics fans by long-time comics fans”, Rik Offenberger’s narrative for the first issue Simon N. Kirby, The Agent definitely smacks of the straightforward storytelling seen in Stan Lee’s formative years at Marvel Comics when he was co-creating such fictional luminaries as The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Iron Man and spectacular Spider-Man. In fact, such is the scintillating pace of this twenty-page periodical’s plot that within the space of just a handful of panels Offenberger has already established the somewhat complex background to the FBI’s leading special agent, and thrown his audience right into the deep end with Sergeant Flag’s hair-raising extraction of a missing covert operative following an unsuccessful weapons deal.

Happily however, such an unrelenting briskness in no way stops “In The Beginning…” from holding its readers’ attention. This is mainly due to the California-born writer cramming in as much exposition as to the motives of this book’s sizeable cast as he does super-powered punches, hails of deadly bullets, and impressively large explosions. In addition, this publication contains a truly awe-inspiring finale featuring a plethora of colourfully costumed protagonists fighting against an army of killer robots for the future of Fort Knox. This action sequence is particularly enjoyable due to the climatic battle featuring the original creations of five Kickstarter backers whose financial support helped make the comic a physical reality in the first place; “American Eagle. Couldn’t you just rip these things apart?!”

Perhaps this book’s biggest draw though is the way Offenberger quickly establishes both the highly disagreeable Aryan Alliance as the G-Men’s most dangerous opponents, and the sheer scale of the heavily-armed bigots’ organisation. Arguably a combination of Baron Strucker’s paramilitary terrorist cult Hydra and Ian Fleming’s Auric Goldfinger, these sickening “hand-me-down Hitlers” genuinely seem to be a threat to the welfare of democracy, especially when accompanied by the finest Vanguard automatons in unmanned ground warfare, and resultantly provide a truly satisfying ‘punch-bag’ for the super-heroes to batter in the name of liberty.

Likewise, Gilbert Monsato must also take some considerable credit for helping imbue this comic with its distinctive Silver Age ambience. The Filipino illustrator really manages to capture a lot of Jack “King” Kirby’s energy with the pencilling of his figures, and this ability to emulate one of the medium’s major innovators works wonders once the narrative ends up hurling multiple caped crusaders against legions of swastika-wearing white supremacists in some dynamically-drawn, mouth-wateringly good splash pages.

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The writer of this piece was: Simon Moore
Simon Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag