Monday, December 14, 2015

Review - Agent 1.22 #0

"Assimilating the human concept of parenting is a complex process...but I am learning."

One day our android overlords will enslave us. Until that day though, there's the potential for the androids for serve and protect. Those stories are pretty interesting in their own right and DMP Publishing has one in Agent 1.22 #0. The issue is written by Stephen Nilson and Drew Garber, illustrated by Douglas Shuler, layouts by Garber and Shuler and lettered by Charles Pritchett.

Cyborg operative Agent 1.22 is an emissary of T.E.R.R.A, cryogenically preserved in deep sleep between assignments. When external communication is lost with Fortress DX-B Biotech Facility, agent 1.22's MotherShip S.S. Mnemosyne proceeds to the third moon of Pandora 5 to discover the fate of the facility and its staff.

Agent 1.22 #0 does an exceptional job of setting up the atmosphere primarily through narrative dialogue only. Nilson and Garber tell the tale through narrative dialogue with a little bit of spoken dialogue mixed in for good measure. Despite the fantastic atmosphere, there's something of a vagueness in the story that makes it feel somewhat limited. Agent 1.22 is clearly good at her role, but her role is a little hazy. Nilson and Garber have her showing off a variety of combat skills against an array of enemies, yet her motivations for doing so seem to be nothing more than a training exercise of sorts. It's possible that Nilson and Garber are positioning Agent 1.22 #0 as a primer for the character, in which case future issues will give her more of a story.

Shuler does a marvelous job illustrating Agent 1.22 and the claustrophobic environment very well. Agent 1.22 has a photorealistic quality about her that gives her presence more weight on the pages and helps to liven up the combat scenes. The spaceship and explosions there-in are lifelike, with Shuler emphasizing the action with a variety of colors. The panel layouts eschew standard grids for more interactive layouts, where some pages have panels inset and others have extensive overlays. At times it can feel a little busy, but generally it adds to the overall frenetic pace of Agent 1.22 making her way through the ship.

Agent 1.22 #0 is an ambitious issue that introduces the reader to a new character in a completely isolated setting. It's not the first work of fiction to do so, but the issue does an exceptional job of setting up a very tense environment. Nilson and Gaber manage to make the story feel compelling even though it's essentially all stream of conscious on the part of Agent 1.22. Shuler's illustrations are very slick and feel realistic. Agent 1.22 #0 is a strong issue that fans of the isolation in Alien will want to check out, only without having to worry about anyone hearing them scream.

Agent 1.22 #0 is available now.


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