In Review: Red Agent: The Human Order #8

A decent action issue is raised by strong visuals.

The covers: A lucky seven for you to find for the penultimate issue of this series. The first cover is the A by Sean Chen and Ivan Nunes. Set before Tower Bridge in London, Britney, Silk, and Avril have their weapons held ready as they stand upon a police car. Smoke and debris can be seen behind them and the vehicle, so something major must have occurred. Good heroic poses for all, with the colors nice, and the eye instantly drawn to Britney’s reds. The B by Netho Diaz and Sanju Nivangune has Britney in the foreground blazing bullets at an unseen foe, while Avril is running up behind her, holding a sword in her right hand as her left lets loose with a blast of violet energy. I can’t recall when Avril ever used a sword, but I’m willing to roll with it. The background is just a miasma of dead colors. This is a cover that’s too dark; brighter colors would have made it stand out much more. Next up is the contribution from Alfredo Reyes and Jesse Heagy, the C cover. This is a terrific image of Britney on a white background. I liked this so much, I had to use it as the image used with this review. I love the attitude she’s projecting, and the the reflective colors on her outfit. The D is a good companion piece to the C, as it features a similar image from Renato Rei and Wes Hartman. This shows Avril from the back, looking up at her as she turns to face the reader. She looks great, especially with her hair moving as she turns and magic starting to emanate from her right hand. This, too, is a good cover. The Awesome Comic Con Exclusive cover (limited to 350 copies) is by Jamie Tyndall and Sun Khamunaki. This features Cinderella kneeling, wearing a tiara, a slim, snug blue bikini top, and white stockings with blue shoes. She’s turned to her right, shown from almost a three quarters view. She holds a sword downwards and behind her is a gold heart with some ornamentation on it. Tyndall never disappoints in his covers and this is outstanding. The colors by Khamunaki are also well done, with the fabric that’s barely covering her being extremely sleek. There’s a Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by Jamie Tyndall and Ula Mos, but I couldn’t find an image of it anywhere online. Good luck finding that one! The final variant is the Heroes Con Exclusive (limited to 250 copies) by Ale Garza and Ula Mos featuring Skye Mathers. She’s wearing a light blue top she’s giving a tug on, exposing the lower part of herself, with matching shorts. Her top is sporting a logo of something, but I couldn’t identify it. She’s gorgeous and the colors outstanding. Overall grades: A A, B C+, C A+, D A, Awesome Comic Con Exlusive A, and Heroes Con Exclusive A

The story: This is the first part of “New World Order,” conceived by Joe Brusha and Lou Iovino, with words by Iovino. The story begins in the Tunisian Desert with three people riding camels in a dust storm. The individual in the front spies a structure and the trio dismount to look on a dilapidated fort. They enter, and once safe from the tumult, they disrobe their desert gear, revealing themselves to be Britney, Avril, and Silk. They are at this location because Ditto came across some “trace heat signatures consistent with the data from Alpha’s attack on the Algerian embassy.” They go down some stairs that lead to a large chamber where they find a giant made of sand spouting Latin. It swings its massive spear at the heroes, who evade the attack, though Silk does get smashed against a wall from a sandblast. The attack goes on for a few more pages, with the heroes eventually going deeper into the structure. They encounter three individuals, with one of them being very familiar to Silk. There’s a good fight here as well. Something occurs during this battle that has Britney concerned and only one person can answer her question. She and Avril confront this person, who has something surprising happen to her. The two heroines are given a one word clue where to go for answers, and this will be where the series concludes next month. This was a fairly self-contained issue, where a new reader could jump in and not be lost, and long time readers will enjoy the action and how it moves the players closer to the conclusion. Good action throughout, but nothing stellar. Overall grade: B

The art: I would really like to see Eduardo Garcia on a monthly series — I really like his art on this issue. The first page looks like a lost scene from Lawrence of Arabia, with Garcia wonderfully creating a setting. Page 2 has him focusing on the beaten down fort, beginning outside and then going within. The scale of this structure is massive as shown by the fourth and fifth panels, with Garcia pulling back to show its size to the characters. The firth panel is tilted as the heroes walk down some stairs, signaling that they are entering a place that is not normal. The full-page splash of 3 introduces the sand giant excellently, allowing each character to be shown at different places in the room and leaving enough space for the story’s title and the book’s credits. The fight with the creature is easy to follow, after Silk goes down: it is a bit difficult to make out what he did and what happens to him. With her abilities, Britney is leaping about trying to bring the thing down and Garcia moves the point of view around well to show her speed. The double-page splash of 10 and 11 has the heroes looking good, but the villains are too far from the reader. Some cheating (placing the antagonists closer to the reader) would have been better. The verbal confrontation that follows is cool, with some solid emotions coming off the characters to communicate how they’re feeling. The fight that follows goes for several pages and has every character looking terrific. There’s an explosion that starts at the top of 17 that’s really well done — I’ve not seen this done before and I really liked it. Pages 20 and 21 is a conversation at a table and Garcia makes it visually interesting, with the older character emoting well. Garcia needs to take up permanent residency on a Zenescope book. Overall grade: A

The colors: The colors on the first page instantly create a desert setting, with every shade of tan and brown in use. Daniel Rosa Duran and Maxflan Araujo continue their outstanding contributions, as the trio descend into the structure. Avril’s magic lights their way and creates an outstanding violet glow. Colors are used to show the proximity of the protagonists to the sand creature on 3, with those furthest away darkly colored. Each of the heroes has a color that stands out when they battle the beast, with Silk’s electricity being particularly strong. When the monster speaks, its dialogue balloon and the text within it have their own unique colors, further separating it from the humans. There are some devices that are used after this battle that have a beautiful green. Page 11 introduces the main baddies of the book, but their colors are so dark that they blend in too easily with the background. As with the art, some cheating (lightening) could have been done on this page. When the characters fight, the villains are much more easily seen. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios continues to show why he’s one of the best in the business with his scene settings, yells, sounds, dialogue, story title, book credits, sand creature speak, a villain’s unique speech on the last page, and the tease for next issue. The variety of fonts that Esposito uses is always impressive and each visually looks like the sound it represents; for example, look at the howl on the first page — the letter w bleeds into the next, making it look like a sound that won’t end. My absolute favorite sound of the issue — of the month — is in the final panel on fourth page. A sound is used to represent something penetrating the sand creature, and Esposito has set it up so that the thing going through the creature also shoots through the first o in THOOF. That’s just a little thing, but it makes the visual just so much more badass. Esposito is excellent. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A decent action issue is raised by strong visuals. I was really impressed by artist Garcia and want him to do much, much more for Zenescope. 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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