Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Review - Red Agent: The Human Order #1 (@Zenescope)


"Be ready! I'm coming in hot."

Britney Waters is one of the big players in the Zenescope universe and it's only fitting that she get the chance to play a grand role in maintaining order in said universe. Red Agent: The Human Order #1 from Zenescope is another one of those chances. The issue is written by Lou Iovino, illustrated by Wilson Santos and Marc Rosete, colored by Hedwin Zaldivar, Ceci de la Cruz and Grostieta and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

The world has become a dangerous place. Highborns and monsters from the Realms of Power hide in plain sight. Now the world’s leaders are looking to exploit their powers for their own gain, using them as spies and assassins for covert missions. But the Highborn Initiative is there to balance the scales with their own group of super-powered spies. Led by Britney Waters, better known now as the Red Agent, the team travels the world battling the forces of evil that lurk in the shadowy world of espionage and secret intelligence.

Red Agent: The Human Order #1 opens up pretty frenetically as Iovino takes the opportunity to remind readers just who Red Agent is and what she's capable of. From there, the story progresses pretty nicely, offering a character in Ditto who serves as the catalyst for the issue to unfold. Iovino paces the issue very well in this regard, slowly building up towards the ending while giving the reader a primer on Ditto's backstory. What's nice is that the backstory for Ditto also serves as the backstory for the series as well and offers a lesson in morality for beings messing with things they may not fully understand. Iovino also ensures that the issue ends with an appropriate level of mystery as it appears Britney is in for a larger battle than she probably thought initially.

The artwork in Red Agent: The Human Order #1 is fairly consistent throughout. Santos and Rosete present Britney and other characters with very strong, concise linework that cuts against the backdrops. Britney is rendered with a physique that's probably a bit too exaggerated in some spots though and there are some points where the artwork makes strange transitions. For instance, there's a panel at the end of a page where Santos and Rosete have a general placing his hand on Britney's shoulder as if to stop her to talk, then the next panel on the next page has the same shot only in a completely different area. It's a little jarring. The color work by Zaldivar, de la Cruz and Grostieta is strong, as Britney's red suit always stands out and reminds the reader that the book is about the Red Agent.

Red Agent: The Human Order #1 strays (somewhat) away from the rest of the universe, giving Britney Waters a chance to investigate some of the more mundane happenings in the world. Those happenings don't stay mundane for long though as things quickly escalate and a target is painted on her back. Iovino's script is effective in that it gives the reader a backstory on one of the main characters that also doubles as a backstory for the series at large. The artwork by Santos and Rosete is very clean and does a great job of following the action (save for a few instances where there are some artwork continuity things). Red Agent: The Human Order #1 is a series that chronicles a day in the life of an individual tasked with keeping the order between gods and mortals.

Red Agent: The Human Order #1 is available December 7.

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