Pullbox Review/Indie Publisher Spotlight on Simon N. Kirby: the Agent #5, from G-Man Comics

Simon N. Kirby: The Agent

Agent Kirby tries to break away from his dependants on technologies developed by Henry Rothländer. As the FBI begins to develop their own tech for Agent Kirby, they quickly discover that it isn’t as easy as they may have hoped to separate the agency from Rothländer Industries. Enter Aktion, the Rothländer Industries insider who will stop at nothing to stop Agent Kirby’s ambitions, and if that weren’t enough Tigerstrike returns from the page of G-Men United!

Bonus Story: Atomik Bombshell

  • Written by Rik Offenberger
  • Illustrated by Dean Juliette
  • Letters by Eric N. Bennett

It’s Atomik Bombshell’s 21st birthday and Agent Kirby arranges for a party with all her “friends”. Only to have the festivities broken up by an alien invasion.

Got a hankerin’ for some good old fashioned superhero/supervillain hijinks? Have you been jonesing to see people of unlikely physiques, wearing bold costumes, tearing up city streets, just like in the good ol’ days? My friends, breathe easy because I’m here to say that all the action that made the Bronze Age of comics so much fun to read is alive & well in G-Man Comics.

Coming into this fifth issue of ongoing series, Simon N. Kirby: The Agent, I wondered how easy it would be to fall into the story. Writer Rik Offenberger does a decent job with the info-dumps, taking enough time for dialogue to fill us in on the important backstory. We’re given a little bit of filler on the opening page, a nice nod to comics of the 70’s that generally included a title page with some kind of recap from the previous issue. We know that superheroes are registered, on call when their country needs them, and that it’s Agent Simon Kirby who’s in charge. That said, it isn’t really the backstory that sold this issue for me. I was here for the super beatdown & was not disappointed. I am curious to see where an ongoing narrative could go from here, as the moral ambiguity of registered superheroes as indentured servants to the US government isn’t really addressed. So far, everyone seems pretty happy with their arrangements, so it could very well be that being a hero is its own reward in the G-Man Universe.

With the majority of this issue taken up in a series of ongoing battles, first against obvious bad guy Aktion (the guy takes a timeout to pain Nazi symbols on his super-suit before stealing it) and then by hired muscle Tigerstrike, Alan Faria was put to the test. The character designs are gloriously bombastic, as over the top as you could possibly hope for in this kind of throwback comic. Faria puts everyone through their paces on the page, showing a great eye for the kind of dynamic action some feel are lacking in modern titles. There’s one sequence that really stood out for me… Not quite a full page spread, but laid out in overlapping panels that carried the eye through a great hand-to-hand fight, one move leading into the next.

Another cool feature of the comic, and one that I hadn’t really realized I’d been missing, is the bio page at the end of the issue. It’s just a full page dedicated to introducing readers to the various characters they’re going to be reading about. It includes a picture of the character, their history, group affiliations, and a breakdown of their powers/abilities. It might seem silly, but as a kid I always loved those little addons, and spent almost as much time pouring over them as I did some of the comics themselves.

As a stand-alone thing, The Agent worked well. As an ongoing narrative, I’d have to get a look at earlier issues, to see how they’re handling some of the finer character points. Which does bring us to one hitch: Availability. They have just finished up a Kickstarter campaign that launched a series of new titles for the line, and it looks like that’s going to be their approach going forward. In an email, writer/creator Rik Offenberger let me know that with each campaign, all books will be made available, and that the next launch with be between August 1st & September 1st. I recognize that distribution is one of the indie creator’s least favorite things, so hopefully this Kickstarter-exclusive approach works for the folks at G-Man. I suppose if I think about it, it wasn’t all that easy to get back issues in the 70’s either… so, nostalgia!

For the reader who just wants to see stuff blowed up. Maybe for those of you who agreed with Tony & thought Cap was a jerk for not signing the Accords. Definitely for anyone who wishes things were a little simpler, the bad guys were a little badder, and the good guys didn’t have to ponder the deeper meaning of kicking the tar out of them. The creative minds at G-Man Comics might have the cure for what ails you. It’s a solid entry into the team superhero genre of comics, with what I thought was really spectacular art. If you’re interested, head over to their website where you can sign up for notifications on impending Kickstarter campaigns

Final Score: 10/13

Kind of a gap in security… gonna have to tighten things up a little, maybe limit cell phone use
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