Essential Comic Works of Rick Remender (according to me, not like, an expert or anything.)
Fear Agent (2005-2011)
With: Tony Moore, Jerome Opena, and others
I didn't get to Fear Agent until it was over. In December 2012 Dark Horse released the first half of the series in a large hardcover edition, at that time I was working for an oil and gas company that I wont name, anyways, I worked 10pm-5am, it was an interesting time to be me. Before work one night (after some Indian food for my breakfast), I went to Chapters with a friend of mine to kill some time before I had to go to work, I had been curious about Fear Agent, I was not a big fan of the Remender books I had read up until then. I think at that point I read some of his Punisher books, but was totally turned off when he made the punisher into a Frankenstein. I think I heard about fear agent on some comics podcast a few years earlier, and I recall seeing a lot of noise about the new hardcover editions on twitter.
I hauled the book with me to work, and spent at least half the night reading. I burned through it pretty quick and probably should have been fired for not actually working. Thanks for not firing me. Soon after I tracked the other half of the series down, the rest is history.
Fear Agent is the story of the last 'fear agent' Heath Huston, a space exterminator of sorts who ends up being the only thing standing between humanity and genocidal aliens. The book spoke to me, as someone who is chronically screwing up. The more I read about Heath, and all the ways he has failed, or sabotaged himself, the more the book broke my heart. Fear Agent was a real roller coaster of emotions for me, mostly lows, but the highs are well earned.
The art on the book is primarily by Tony Moore, who you might be familiar with as the co-creator and initial artist on The Walking Dead, which I'm told is very popular with the millennials, and Jerome Opena, who has collaborated with Remender on another book on this list, spoiler alert.
Uncanny X-Force (2010-2012)
With: Jerome Opena and others
I mentioned that I wasn't a fan of Remenders Marvel work, Uncanny X-Force is the exception. Packed with beautiful art by some of my favorite artists in comics including Phil Noto, Esad Ribic, and Jerome Opena and strikingly coloured by Dean White who made the book look like nothing else on the planet. At times it looked as if the neon lights of some cyberpunk future came to life as buff dudes with swords on their fists. Colourful and bright, dark and grimey when it had to be, Dean White is the secret MVP of this book. Just between us girls, I wasn't in love with Opena's work in Fear Agent, or the other stuff I had seen from him, like his 6 issues of Vengeance of the Moon Knight (with Gregg Hurwitz), I wasn't offended by it and at times I even liked it, but after seeing the work he did in Uncanny X-Force, with Dean White's colours he became one of my favorite artists working.
The basic premise of Uncanny X-Force is that this is a team of X-Men that have taken it upon themselves to secretly hunt down and kill threats to their species before they manifest themselves. The first story arc has the team on a mission to assassinate Apocalypse, traditionally one of the X-Men's most dangerous foes. The catch here is that he has been reincarnated and is now a young boy. They are then forced to decide if they are to kill someone for acts they haven't committed yet, but have the potential to. I'm not going to tell you what happens, you should check it out for yourself either digitally, paperbacks or the really big omnibus that is probably really expensive and out of print which you should get me for my birthday or something. I dunno.
Deadly Class (2014-ongoing)
With: Wes Craig
The first of two books I'm going to mention that are still ongoing, this is another comic with an artist I'm nuts about. This guy just attracts good artists. This time is a Canadian cartoonist called Wes Craig, who I first saw in the pages of Dan Abnett and Danny Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy, and they were by far the coolest looking issues of that book. I was kinda bummed he seemed to lay low for a while after that. I was pretty stoked to see he had a new book he was drawing monthly and I was coming around to Remender after Fear Agent and Uncanny X-Force. This book so far hasn't disappointed me. If you like moody teen rapscallions learning the deadly arts and beautiful cartooning you should probably check it out. Just look at that cover.
The book begins with Marcus Lopez, a young man who's been crapped on by life, living on the streets and getting his shoes stolen. He's soon recruited by a shadowy league of assassins to apprentice under them with other promising teens. Like a Harry Potter for moody 80's teens, but instead of magic they learn how to kill people. I'm not too deep into it, I've only read the first volume, but the second one is on my bed right now (the third is out in October, or you can pick up the individual issues, digitally or at your local comics shop, do whatever you want, I'm not your dad). So if you like teen drama and violence, and I can't imagine you don't, this book is likely for you.
With: Greg Tocchini
I finally read the first volume, 'The Delirium of Hope' last Friday, and holy cats you guys.I haven't felt this strongly about a new comic since reading the first volume of Ales Kot's Zero. Low was immediately my favorite new comic that I read this year even though technically its from 2014, the first volume was collected in April of this year. Illustrated by Old Media is Dead hall of famer Greg Tocchini, who previously worked with Remender on a book called The Last Days of American Crime.
In the far future the sun has expanded to the point where the surface of our planet is no longer habitable, so humanity has moved to domed underwater cities and sent probes out into space hoping to locate a habitable planet. The story in Low takes places many years after the probes are sent out. The underwater metropolises are crumbling, most believed to be destroyed. Salus, possibly the last city, is doomed. The air in the city has been recycled so many times it will soon be unbreathable. The protagonist of the book, Stel Caine is described by Remender in the forward to volume 1 as the first optimistic protagonist he has written, a sharp contrast to Heath Huston.
Like Heath Huston, and Marcus Lopez above, she is constantly being crapped on by the universe, unlike them though, she remains fully optimistic, she truly believes that she will find a way to save humanity in the face of overwhelming odds and almost certain doom. I don't want to give anymore away, you should go out tomorrow and get yourself a copy.