The Agency #2 Review
More and more, people are turning to digital comics to get the variety they want in their reading. This week, The Agency #2 is available mostly through comixology.com, which is where you can also get the first issue!
I first discovered this excellent title at Florida SuperCon in Miami Beach recently. The book’s creators had a booth there, and they did a great job getting the word out about it, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since!
Previously in THE AGENCY: “The United States has created the International Agency of Magic (IAM) to control the use of magic and stop magical related crimes across the globe. IAM operatives respond to a terrorist attack in London as Riley begins his training at the IAM Headquarters.”
DIVERSITY IS MAGIC
I know that “friendship is magic” is the motto for My Little Pony fans, but one of the things that makes this title stand out so much is the diversity among the characters in The Agency.
In the IAM, agents have a wide variety of backgrounds and abilities, which keeps things interesting as the reader gets to know them. We meet agents from around the world as well as characters who aren’t part of the IAM yet still play important roles in the story.
Of course, the person much of the story revolves around is Riley, a fifteen-year-old teen who discovers he has magic powers when he finds himself in a dangerous situation and instinctively brings them to bear. He’s very much your typical teen, so telling him what you don’t want him to do will very likely encourage him to do exactly the opposite!
I also have to say how much I enjoy the way magic is employed in The Agency. There’s a logical (and often real) basis for what’s going on in the comic, and magic is not some “woo-woo” device that becomes something it’s not just to get the writers out of a corner. Instead, it makes sense, which I dearly love! I can’t take any more magic that suddenly can do something that was never even hinted at before!
Another important aspect of The Agency that means a lot to me is the fact that the vibrant characters actually have interesting and engaging things to do and have interesting places to go! Yes, there are occasionally breaks in the action that are effectively used to tell us what we need to know moving forward, but the drama is powerfully spaced between adventure (I love that word!) and action that keeps us turning the pages. I just have to know what’s going to happen next!
I also like how the police and other leaders react to the IAM. They don’t understand it, they don’t like it and they only do what they have to in relation to it. That very much reminds me of other government agencies I’ve dealt with, so I like that aspect of the comic a lot.
PROFESSIONAL ART WORKS WITH THE SCRIPT
The Agency is a new world to discover, and what also helps pull the reader in is the dynamic, professional art.
Eric Koda’s artwork effectively displays what’s happening on the page in terms of action as well as portraying emotions the characters feel as well as what they’re thinking. I like the fact that I never have to puzzle over what’s going on. Instead, I’m getting yanked forward into the next sequence, which is where I truly want to be! Comics are a visual experience, and Mr. Koda takes full advantage of that!
In this issue, a lot of the story takes place in London, which I found portrayed very well. I’m glad things actually happen outside of New York City in The Agency, and am looking forward to seeing more of the world that lives in this universe.
In the first issue, I was blown away from Ross Hughes’ ability to add color to Koda’s art. On the very first page, I loved his use of color in Egypt, for instance. In this second issue, he’s not letting up a bit as he makes the magical/mystical elements dark and foreboding, just what we need to lose ourselves in the story.
BOTTOM LINE: ‘THE AGENCY’ IS WORTH A TRIP TO THE DIGITAL COMICS SHOP
Look, I’m a proofreader by trade, as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, so punctuation means something to me. My biggest recommendation for future issues is to be careful when it comes to commas. “Focus Riley” means something different than “Focus, Riley.” The first might be a procedure named for Riley while the second is a command or order. This isn’t the first book I’ve encountered this in, and it won’t be the last, I’m sure. I just worry that anything that becomes a roadblock to understanding needs to be dealt with so readers can move as smoothly as possible through the story.
I’m hoping that we’ll see print issues and a trade paperback in comics shops across the country in the near future, but until then, seeing the story told in a digital format is fine by me! My iPad is an ideal place to read The Agency, so I do encourage folks to get to comixology and check out this great book!