Written by Alexander Grecian
Art by Riley Rossmo
Collects Proof #6-9
Proof continues with an excellent second volume that somehow managed to be stronger than the first. Although the first Proof trade was a fantastic collection, The Company of Men manages to out do it, despite the few minor quibbles I had with this volume.
One of Proof's strengths is its well developed characters and they are front and center in this volume. Alexander Grecian did a wonderful job of introducing the various cast members in the first volume and continues to further develop them here.
In addition to putting some focus on the supporting characters that were passed over in the previous volume, Grecian manages to focus more on how the characters act towards and deal with each other. In addition to finishing up the basic introductions and characterizations for the cast, he also gives some further insights into the various characters as well.
As for the story, Grecian uses it to introduce a perfect villain for Proof - a cryptid poacher named Werner Dachshund as a foil for Proof. It seems like an obvious idea and Grecian doesn't really do anything new or original with the idea but I do like how it was executed. He is a good character and I would say he is a necessity for the title.
The story itself was very interesting. The Lodge decides to intervene in one of Dachshund hunts, which goes wrong, and there are a couple of surprises along the way to keep things interesting. It was also a more action oriented story than the first volume.
The fourth and final issue in the trade was something of an epilogue issue to everything that had happened in the series so far in addition to setting up some of the future plot points that will probably be picked up in the next arc or soon thereafter.
The art by Rossmo improves over his work in the first volume as well. His art is less muddled this time around, which makes it easier to read, but, at the same time, it doesn't take away what made the art work for the book in the first place. Rossmo's layouts are a lot more visible this time around and he really does know how to make a page look dynamic. Finally, the Cryptoids are a little better this time around, but still need some work and I'm undecided on how much they actually aid my enjoyment of the book.
Verdict - Must Read. The Company of Men continues to demonstrate on all accounts just what makes Proof a great comic while improving on the first volume at the same time. Proof is a comic that may be relatively simple at times, but that doesn't stop it from telling great stories with fantastic characters.
FEAR AGENT VOL 1: RE-IGNITION
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Tony Moore
Collects Fear Agent #1-4
Fear Agent is a retro looking sci-fi book. It chronicles the adventures of the last Fear Agent, Heath Huston. Rick Remender and Tony Moore, of The Walking Dead fame, do a solid job establishing the series in this trade.
Remender takes a somewhat old school approach with Fear Agent. There isn't the kind of techno babble and over thinking of concepts that can be found in typical sci-fi stories and Remender just sticks with the basics when it comes to a lot of things. He wisely never gets into the details of the sci-fi aspects and just tells us what happens and why, making the story a lot more enjoyable.
The story, itself, jumps around a lot during the four issues with each one dealing with something seemingly separate yet, in the end, connected. The first issue sets up the basics on the series, focusing primarily on Huston, but the last three are a series of connected events that get progressively worse for Huston. Remender does a good job stringing the events together and they flow reasonably well. There are some nice twists and turns as well which keeps the story interesting. As for the characters, Huston is practically the only character around for most of the book. Remender does a good job with Huston and he's a fairly entertaining character who manages to carry most of the book by himself.
About halfway through the story Huston runs into a scientist named Mara and she stays around for the rest of the story. As mentioned earlier, Huston is a pretty strong character and he's fleshed out pretty well but some of his motivations are not fully developed at times which shows towards the end of the book. The story does end on an unsatisfying cliffhanger though but its the only real problem I have with the story.
The art by Moore is perfectly fine but it doesn't really stand out. His designs for the book are pretty good and he does manage to capture that retro sci-fi look quite well. His action scenes are fine, but it does look like a panel or two got left out here or there.
Verdict - Check It. A solid sci-fi adventure book that anyone can enjoy.
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