Written by Dwight L. MacPherson and Bruce Brown and Drawn by Valerio Giangiordano
Published by Chimaerea Studios
One type of comic I’ve been waiting for is classic, golden age styled heroes featured in a Watchmen-esque capacity. You know, a sort of modern morality tale with 1940s era superheroes. Well, the wait is over. Interagents is here and boy is it just what the Dark Gods ordered.
The Interagents are superheroes who live in the time of what would be called World War II. The story kicks off with the intrigue immediately, with the immersion into the setting made easy by Giangiordano’s classic looking art work. We are not presented with a time of innocence, and nor are we given the illusion of caped do-gooders crusading for truth, justice, and the American way. What we are handed are a group of heroes, flaws and all, and a backdrop of the USA’s entrance into WWII. Through flashbacks and other bits we are shown that there is more to what’s going on than our heroes think, and it’s up to them to figure it out or most probably get killed, along with the world’s hopes and dreams no doubt.
One thing I appreciate about MacPherson’s vision is that he throws standard comic book caped conventions out the proverbial window in favour of permanent character death and much-needed pathos. In fact, one of the heroes is murdered as soon as she’s introduced in issue #1, and not much time at all is used to show us how the group gets together. Anything regarding their origins or place on the team is explored with the excellent and superbly crafted dialogue. The same goes with the character relations, as each member expressed their personality through their actions and words. Another thing that should be noted is the pacing, which runs from panel-to-panel like a bullet. I finished reading this comic quickly not because it’s short and “decompressed”, but because I was pulled in immediately and not let go until the last page, which made me want to read issue #3. I suppose that’s my only real complaint— I’m left wanting more of the story. It’s THAT good.
As for issue #2 itself, the events introduced in #1 continue on track as the mystery deepens. There’s more death and more haunting imagery as the story marches forward. And, most importantly, we are allowed to peer into these characters that were so abruptly thrust on us in the last issue. See, the background and setting was the primary character of the premiere issue, with much focus given on events, FDR and how the US entered the War; then the story steamrolls ahead with this issue giving us more depth and character development. There’s action, make no mistake. And there’s at least one of the heroes who’s the classic “Superman” archetype. Hmmm… I wonder what his secrets are.
Overall, this is a tale of deep complexity in a supposed simple and straight-forward age. MacPherson hasn’t been shy about saying that this title is influenced a bit by Watchmen, if not story-wise then certainly attitude-wise. This is not Watchmen Part 2 or anything… But the influence is obvious and quite welcome. If you are looking for something deviating from the norm while throwing off the shackles of conventional superhero-story “wisdom” then you are in for a grim and gritty treat with Interagents.
For those of you wanting to jump on board, you had best start with Interagents #1, which can be read at wowio.com in Director’s Cut form. This comes highly recommended to even those who’ve already read the first issue because Mr. MacPherson has commentary for each and every page and that commentary is both illuminating and very entertaining.
I’m going to sit here and wait for #3 to be released. I may get a little hungry, but I think it will be totally worth it.