Review – Simon N. Kirby, The Agent #4 (G-Man Comics)

Alan Faria

Publisher: G-Man Comics
Writer: Rik Offenberger
Artist: Alan Faria
Letters: Eric N. Bennett

Initially presenting itself as a sort of ‘buddy cop’ comic book, courtesy of some tongue-in-cheek humour as the overly familiar Sergeant Flag convinces Agent Kirby to go on a fishing trip with him, this twenty-page periodical probably wrong-footed a fair few of its audience when writer Rik Offenberger suddenly ramped up its seriousness a third of the way through his narrative. Indeed, the moment its titular character is shot through the side with a particularly medieval-looking crossbow bolt the entire mood of this tale palpably changes to an enthrallingly grave and tense battle to save Simon’s fast-fading life; “G-Men are on the way for extraction. I just need to keep you alive ‘til they get here.”

Of course, that isn’t to say that most bibliophiles won’t enjoy this yarn’s preamble, where – alongside a drunk Rob McFarlane’s shocking shenanigans inside his best friend’s home, and an insane battle against a Tyrannosaurus Rex at Logan International Airport – the American author also pens an absorbing backstory to the cold-hearted Canadian criminal Metis. However, once the murderous “private caped security” arrives at Northern Pike and start blazing away at their targets with a boat-busting bazooka, it soon becomes clear that this comic’s central protagonists are genuinely in deadly danger.

This almost palpable sense of menace is furthered by Offenberger’s ability to quickly add another couple of extra layers to Flag, swiftly moving the gun-toting, smart-mouthed stereotype into a tactically aware combatant, who not only cares for his comrade-in-arms, but also has a history with the maniac trying to blow them to itsy-bitsy pieces. The notion that Dark Warrior personally wants to end McFarlane makes their woodland-based conflict even edgier, especially when its revealed that the masked killer will probably walk free from whatever happens anyway on account of him having a Central Intelligence Agency contract.

Similarly as scintillating as this book’s plot is Alan Faria’s artwork, which does a terrific job in depicting both the physical humour of its aforementioned opening sequences and its subsequent pulse-pounding action. The Brazilian appears particularly prodigious at pencilling the persistent agony etched across Kirby’s face as he bravely soldiers on despite his side wound causing him excruciating pain, and certainly takes centre-stage with his large panels portraying the likes of Bandolier, Critter Queen, Martial, Sidereal, Woolgatherer and Wukong – The Monkey Prince arriving en mass.

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Steven Butler

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