Agon #1 – (Zenescope – Burn / Roper / Studio Cirque / Campbell)
When Earth receives a broadcast from an extremely advanced alien species in the form of a mysterious and frightening blood-red rain storm humanity is offered a simple choice: compete in an ancient interplanetary combat ritual or watch as Earth is methodically destroyed. Ten human warriors must now be chosen to fight in a battle that pits highly evolved species from various worlds against one another. This ancient and deadly tournament will ultimately decide the fate of our planet as well as three others. It is time to fight for humanity, it is time for AGON!
Since the first press sheet I sauce on Agon, I knew I would like it. When you set a stage with a Revelation-ish “raining blood” scene, you are asking the audience to have high expectations. And with seeming ease, writer Scott Burn and artist Paul Roper meet and exceed the expectations.
Very recently I got to interview Scott (HERE), review is below.
From the first page, Scott Burn pulls the reader in with the onset of an alien invasion. The vibe of the book starts off feeling like a conspiracy-driven thriller with an ostracized scientist who knew this was coming, a secret government cabal who didn’t believe him and an immediate military approach to the alien threat. Once Burn has set the stage and introduced the characters, he transitions Agon from a suspense-thriller into an action-thriller. The alien “threat” is actually an organization (the Hierarchy) of civilizations who believe that Earth is ready to join them. But to do so, we must prove we are worthy and compete against other “newbie” cultures to get into the Hierarchy’s ranks. The Earth is “invited” to send it’s ten greatest warriors to battle the champions of other planets to gain entry into the the Hierarchy. The invite is more or less a mandate – if we choose to not participate, the aliens will destroy life-giving species on our planets (in the first issue, they kill every cow on the planet instantaneously), as a Wisconsin native I was personally touched by this and can tell you I felt this emotionally got me caught up in the conflict. 🙂 The governments of the world are not going to take this lying down, one of the ten champions we are sending is actually the original conspiracy-driven scientist disguised so that he can try to undo the Hierarchy from within. If this were a screenplay, it would have “Summer Blockbuster” all over it!
Burn does an outstanding freshmen job of creating a book that you can’t help but cheer for. And artist Roper does a good job of framing and fleshing out the story. Roper’s heavy lined style that changes it’s perspective in virtually every frame differs from what readers have traditionally seen from Zenescope, not necessarily in a bad way just in a very non-Zenescope way. And please don’t take that like I am down on Roper here, he does a great job. It’s just his style is so far afield from the normal “eye-candy” approach that Zenescope has, that without the publisher’s mark on the cover, no one would have guessed it was a Zenebook. Kudos to Brusha and Tedesco for recognizing that they can be very good at what they do and branch out at the same time!
Bottom Line: Awesome Action Story – Grade A