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Comic Review: Fear Agent, Vol. 6: Out of Step
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Fear Agent Vol. 6: Out of StepFear Agent, Vol. 6: Out of Step
Story by Rick Remender
Pencils by Mike Hawthorne and Tony Moore
Inks by John Lucas
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Rus Wooton
Covers by Tony Moore
Trade Cover by Jerome Opena and Matt Wilson
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 18, 2012
Cover Price: $16.99

Rick Remender‘s redneck space opera Fear Agent has drawn to a close, all that’s left to do now is read the obituary, close the casket, toss the flowers into the grave and call it a day.

Remender (X-Force, Punisher) has been teaming with an array of comic book talents, most notably artist Terry Moore (Walking Dead) since 2007 on this colorful ode to rocketships and ray guns. Heath Huston, formally from Ennis, Texas, is now roaming the galaxies seeking adventure, excitement, and a handle of whiskey…

[Minor spoilers begin] at least on the surface. What he’s actually searching for is a place in the universe. He’s the last of the Fear Agents, a battalion that unsuccessfully fought an alien occupation of Earth that wiped out most of the population, including much of his family. [Minor spoilers end]

The series was largely a loving homage to 1950s EC comics, with its retro-fun and old school terror, but it could sometimes be too smart for its own good. The pastiche that mades up Fear Agent was always more then just western characters in Flash Gordon-esque sci-fi scenarios. There was plenty of Noir-style intrigue and it was never shy about getting all ‘War Is Hell’ for the proper storyline. Unfortunately, sometimes the story was tripping over itself trying to fit all those elements in – characters who seemed important would be blown away unceremoniously; the lines between what were supposed to be funny and sad would be very gray; time travel and cloning were concepts that were thrown around freely, etc. The tone moved from fun to sad to devastatingly, sadistically sad. While I always found a reason to stick with Fear Agent (it was consistently one of the best drawn and colored books on the shelves), sometimes it was hard because I didn’t always know how seriously I was supposed to take it.

At the beginning of Fear Agent Volume 6: Out of Step loose ends get quickly wrapped up and we move a few years into the future where an older, Samuel Clemens-resembling Heath is plotting the take down of the masterminds behind most of his woes over the years. While I haven’t been 100% on-board with every direction the book has moved, this final volume tied everything up very well, as if it was going there all along. In fact, it managed to pull off an ending that was stunningly moving. In short, it was everything you’d want in the final act of a story.

I think I’m going to really miss Heath Huston. After reading the trades for a couple of years, he’s started to feel like a semi-regular at your local bar. Sometimes he’d come in just wanting to have a good time and sometimes he’d come in wanting to drink off family problems. He could at turns break your heart or be the life of the party. He could definitely get on my nerves at times, but now that he’s gone I wish I’d gotten to know him better. We parted on a really great note, one that I think many of you will appreciate.

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