In Review: Red Agent: The Human Order #6

Red Agent does not disappoint.

The covers: A sextet to find if you want to own every cover of this issue. Ediano Silva and Ivan Nunes are the creators of the A cover. This has Britney is a different setting: the snow. She’s tooling down a mountainside wearing her usual red working outfit, but she’s also got a matching red, fur lined, jacket. If the jacket had a hood, it’s not on because her hair is billowing behind her. She’s got a pistol in her left hand that she’s firing at the reader. This is a good cover. The B is by Riveiro and Grostieta and has Britney fighting white clad baddies who are wielding some serious firepower. Her sword is out and she’s making short work of them. Joining her on this cover is Silk, who’s just behind her with a pistol in each hand. This is also well done, with the art being very detailed and the colors making everything pop. Nice. Standing in the snow, with her backside to the reader, Britney turns slightly to look at the reader. This C cover by Keith Garvey is the one I chose to accompany this review. Her red fighting togs really draw attention to her on this snowy background. The D by Ario Murti and Jesse Heagy is the final regular cover to track down. With an ice ax in each hand, Britney is ascending a cliff covered in winter. The point of view is looking up at her as if the reader is trailing her. She’s looking down at the reader, as if amazed she’s gotten so high up. The first hard-to-find cover is the Comicpalooza Exclusive (limited to 500) by Elias Chatzoudis. I’m a fan of Chatzoudis’s work, but I couldn’t find an image of it anywhere online. Additionally, I couldn’t find the Spring ZenBox Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by Paul Green and Ula Mos. As with Chatzoudis, I love Green and Mos’s work and wish I could have found a copy to review. Overall grades: A A-, B A, C A+, and D A- 

The story: This is a good entry point issue for those who haven’t tried this series. Joe Brusha and Lou Iovino conceived this story, with Iovino writing the issue, and it starts like an action movie. Lukas Zimic is working on an equation while his wife and daughter play cards. All is well in this lone cabin in the Codrii Natural Reserve in Moldovia, until two armed men burst in through the front door. They’re there to take Zimic back to Zero Vector, even though he protests that his arrangement with them was that he could work away from the group. He’s given a punch to the face to shut him up and he and his family are taken outside where a helicopter is coming in for a landing. This was an exciting beginning. “Extraction” continues the tension in London with Britney, Avril, and Silk in a warehouse trying to take down three black clad men who have rifles. Britney is using her claws, Silk his guns, and Avril her magic to take them down. All seems to be going their way until the newest member of the team makes a fatal mistake. Once this sequence has ended their mission is given to them: extract Zimic, who’s considered one of the “world’s leading experts on number theory and biological applications” and was a founding member of Zero Vector. Avirl stays behind because she has to assist Ditto with something that’s left to be revealed in a future issue. Avril and Silk head out to rescue the Zimics. There’s some good action with this rescue mission, and things don’t go as planned for anyone. The villain revealed is neat and I’m sure that there will be more of him to be seen in this series. The last page has a scream worthy ending that showed something I was not expecting. If readers have thought that the heroes had been put through the ringer in previous issues, this finale promises much more angst and action to come. Overall grade: A

The art: There are three different artists on this issue: Daniel Dahl, Salvatore Cuffari, and Renato Rei. Usually when more than one artist is on an issue the change in artists is very jarring. That’s not the case in this comic. Yes, one can identify when the next artist takes over, but all three do such a good job, it’s very easy to roll with the switching. Helping the story keep its heavy action is the layout of the opening three pages. The first panel looks like lost Thomas Kinkade art with the glowing cabin in the woods. This is followed by a close-up of the two men who are next to the dwelling. The next panel shows the family within, which is then followed by the men breaking through the front door. The second panel on Page 2 makes the threat to Zimic concrete for the reader. The final panel on 3 is very well done, and though there are no sounds on the page, it’s impossible not to hear the one generated by the vehicle in the air. The action sequence in London is well done. I was particularly appreciative that the point of view was pulled back from the characters so that the reader could see where each was in relation to the other. The expression on the character’s face in the fourth panel on 5 is terrific: the character isn’t speaking, but the reader can easily understand what that individual is thinking. The setting on Page 8 is very much in the James Bond mold and looks good. There’s some really nice work done with the rocks in this locale, and, yes, I do look at the rocks. The reveal of the villain on 10 is good and the confidence he exudes is perfect. 13 is my favorite page of the book, showing the heroes making their way to Zero Vector’s location, while also showing what the villain is doing. It’s beautiful and creepy at the same time. The confrontation with the villain is particularly strong, with the baddie looking extra badass. The pulling back on 21 is nice and makes the moment even more dramatic. All three artists make this book fun to look at. Overall grade: A

The colors: There are also three colorists on this book: Hedwin Zaldivar, Maxflan Araujo, and Grostieta. And like the artists, they all do a great job. The coloring of the first panel of the book evokes Thomas Kinkade sensationally, setting a comforting tone. Bright colors make the action explode on Pages 2 and 3, and the glare coming from the light on the chopper is really well done. I’m continually in love with the violets that Avril employs when she uses magic. In addition to a different font and dialogue balloon, a pale blue is used for Ditto’s speech, making his mechanical persona complete. The blues used for Zero Vector’s location is excellent; it connotes technology, which is amply evident, and it reminds the reader of the cool exterior. The flashback sequence for Silk is tinted to remind one that what’s being seen is set in the past. The snowy mountains on 12 and 13 are beautiful in no small part due to the sensational coloring. The closing action sequences are really nice, with the top panel on 18 is great. I love the white highlights on the colors to show highlights. Every page is colored well. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios creates scene settings, dialogue, yells, screams, the story’s title, the book’s credits, Ditto’s dialogue, sounds, an individual’s slurred speech, an individual’s final words, and the tease for next issue. I am continually impressed with all that Esposito brings to a book. Characters never scream or yell in the same font; Esposito uses so many different styles of fonts that it’s easy for a reader to distinguish the severity with which a character wails. I also love that Ditto had his own unique speech. The sounds are stellar, and the dying character’s final words are done so that one can hear the person drifting off. Always a cut above the rest is Esposito. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Red Agent does not disappoint. Action, technology, and magic combine to make an exciting adventure. Great introductory issue for new readers. Overall grade: A 

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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