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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Badass Panels Volume 10: Agent X #5

Back before she was writing the witty, fast-paced adventures of deadly super-villains with hilariously skewed interpersonal relationships in the pages of DC's Secret Six, Gail Simone was... uh...

Well, as it turns out, she was writing the witty, fast-paced adventures of deadly super-villiains with hilariously skewed interpersonal relationships in the pages of Marvel's Agent X.

See, in 2002, Marvel briefly came to their senses and decided to thoroughly divorce themselves from any Rob Liefeld creations they still had laying around, leading to the cancellation of three series and their relaunch under new titles, and as far as Deadpool was concerned, that was a long time coming.

Following the departure of Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness, the series had taken a massive nose-dive in quality, including runs by Christopher Priest, wherein the sharp action and humor from his run on Black Panther was nowhere to be found, followed up by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, who were in turn followed by Frank Tieri. To say the least, it was a rough couple of years.

Fortunately, it was worth the wait when Gail Simone, springboarding from her CBR humor column, You'll All Be Sorry, arrived on the book and proved what every ISB reader already knows: People who write jokes about comics on the internet always know what's awesome.

Take, for example, this scene from Agent X #1, wherein Our Hero (who is, for all intents and purposes, Deadpool with Amnesia) goes out to find clients on his first night as a mercenary, after a lengthy training session that mostly consisted of being stabbed by the Taskmaster:

And then he fights a tiger.

And the whole run's full of great moments like that, including an issue where Agent X and the super-powered great-granddaughter of the Outlaw Kid try to steal the Punisher's guns. But nowhere in the entire series--not even in Evan Dorkin's Fight Man issues--is it nearly as badass as in Agent X #5, wherein the last surviving member of a group of gangsters assassinated by Deadpool finally makes the connection and sends a metric ton of hitmen after them.

It's fantastic. And not just because it opens with Arcade showing up for a meeting to discuss the rennovation of Agent X's abandoned amusement park headquarters and performing an emergency trachaeotomy on him, or even because of a scene where the Taskmaster--pictured here in his UDON-designed costume that I am apparently the only human being alive that actually liked--shows why having the ability to copy everything you see is an incredibly useful super-power to have:

No, although that's one of my favorite moments in Simone's entire run, it's topped a few pages after that, when Agent X shows up to rescue his business manager and love interest Sandi Brandenberg, and finds himself cornered and unarmed in her bathroom, facing a team of highly trained assassins.

So of course, he does what any total badass would do, and beats them to death...

...Wait for it...


Trust me on this one: That's one of the single greatest acts of violence in the history of the Marvel Universe. And the sound effect just makes it better

Don't Apologize! Just Read the Badass Panels Archive!

| Volume One: Captain America #194 |
| Volume Two: Ode to Punching |
| Volume Three: The Question #2 |
| Volume Four: Impulse #3 |
| Volume Five: Batman Adventures #3 |
| Volume Six: Iron Man #200 |
| Volume Seven: Daredevil #276 |
| Volume Eight: Ghost Rider #63 and #67 |
| Volume Nine: Fantastic Four #55 |


Blogger Mike Haseloff said...

If there's a single great travesty in the pages of the new Moon Knight series, it's that Taskmaster isn't wearing his UDON outfit.

Somebody really dropped the ball on that one.

Still, you can see how buccaneer boots and a white cape and cowl would be more popular than UDON's design...

... Sssshyeah.

9/07/2006 1:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has nothing to with the post, and I'll probably get flamed, but in reply to your recent post at Dave's Long Box Mr. Sims, M.A.S.K. is sooo not better than Transformers!

9/07/2006 2:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The main thing I notice - besides someone getting kludded with a toilet - is the masterful use of sound effects in every panel there.

Every time I see DONGG! I just start laughing again. It's unstoppable.

9/07/2006 3:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agent X is great stuff. It is certainly not overrated like say, the Transformers. They were barely better than Gobots nevermind being better than M.A.S.K.

Brad Turner > Optimus Prime

9/07/2006 3:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My faveriot moment in the latest Cable/Deadpool series is an agent X appearence where Wade rips his intestines out and makes a message for Weasle.

Just about anything with Deadpool is going to get my money eventually.

9/07/2006 3:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Udon Taskmaster costume, and the Udon Taskmaster miniseries.

I assume you've read that, 'cos it's relentlessly badass.

9/07/2006 4:18 AM

Blogger Brandon Bragg said...

I try to avert my eyes whenever I see DONGG!, but I never, ever laugh.

That's just rude.

9/07/2006 7:03 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Gail Simone is the Matt Trakker of comics.

9/07/2006 9:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agent X was just about the best series Marvel was putting out in the early naughts. The recap pages written as Alex's diary were terrific, and included one of the best lines ever after his foot had been cut off and then grew back:

"Way to go, foot!"

Also, the Udon Taskmaster costume, like pretty much Udon everything, was awesome.

9/07/2006 10:57 AM

Blogger Jeff Rients said...

I hadn't seen that Taskmaster costume before. Looks pretty badass, with a bit of a salute to Skeletor. I like the original but there ain't nothing wrong with this one.

9/07/2006 12:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite (of many) Agent X moments was when the Taskmaster confronts the daughters of Batroc the Leaper and the Tarantula. Luckily, it's preserved for us on Scans Daily

Great scene, including one of the greatest lines ever.

9/07/2006 12:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Agent X is great stuff. It is certainly not overrated like say, the Transformers. They were barely better than Gobots nevermind being better than M.A.S.K.

Brad Turner > Optimus Prime"

Wow! That is the lamest attempt at offending a fanboy I've ever seen.

Pfft. Matt Turner never had the Matrix, now did he?

9/07/2006 12:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly awesome. Still no one can explain WHY Agent X is still all Agent X-y in Cable/Deadpool given the conclusion of the series.
And Tasky is simply staying current with fashions, as pirates came back in force after PotC.

9/07/2006 1:36 PM

Blogger Jon said...

Simone's run on Deadpool into Agent X is one of my favorite things ever. And the two issues by Evan Dorkin and (I think) Juan Bobillo are really, really good, too. But the other two issues of Agent X - the Dorkin/Simone-less ones - are torment beyond words and I blame them irrationally for the series' cancellation.

9/07/2006 2:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, the official cartoon heros rank is:

1) Optimus Prime
2) Duke
3) Matt Trakker
4) Lion-O
5) Leonardo from Ninja Turtles

And Transformers is better than MASK because Transformers had Dinobots.

9/07/2006 7:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I have no idea why we're talking about this in a post about agent X, but yeah Transformers was better than MASK. The cartoon was much better, and do you really expect some cars with a few hidden missiles to hold a candle to jets and military vehicles and semi-trucks and mechanical dinosaurs that can turn into giant alien robots?

Plus, I've never seen Matt Trakker strap on a jet pack and try to shoot down a huge fucking spaceship by himself or come back from the dead twice just to fight, and Prime did both those. Even the cartoon was better!

Now that that's settled, Agent X was cool!

9/07/2006 7:51 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

You Transformers fans and your little robots. That, my friends, is merely ONE gimmick (robots that are also cars). MASK had like EIGHT gimmicks (cars that were other things, masks that did stuff, toymakers with secret identities, an R2D2 ripoff [that was also a scooter]...)

Anyway: Don't get me wrong, I love the George Perez original Taskmaster costume--it's one of the few mini-busts I actually have, and pretty much anything with corsair boots is fine by me--but I just really like the UDON one as well. It's got... flava.

9/07/2006 10:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You Transformers fans and your little robots. That, my friends, is merely ONE gimmick (robots that are also cars). MASK had like EIGHT gimmicks (cars that were other things, masks that did stuff, toymakers with secret identities, an R2D2 ripoff [that was also a scooter]...)"

Wow! Now that you've said that...it still sounds inferior! Transformers were robots from space who fell into hibernation for millions of years. Toy makers with secret identities, bah!

How long did M.A.S.K. keep those secret identities secret from V.E.N.O.M.? Oh that's right, until the second season when the show was retooled because people started to realize what a ripoff of Transformers and GI Joe it was!

Even if you ignore the fact that M.A.S.K. totally riped off the disguise thing from Transformers, they still don't take the cake when it comes to gimmicks.

Don't forget Transformers also had Dinobots, Triple Changers, teams of robots that combined into one big robot, Unicron, Target Masters, Action Masters, Power Masters, Head Masters...

An R2D2 ripoff! Give me a break! The Autobots kept humans as pets!

And that isn't even taking int account the sheer superiority of the comics and cartoon!

Why don't you go back to reading Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane like the 12-year-old girl you are and let the boys play with the real toys.

M.A.S.K. just got served!

9/08/2006 12:12 AM

Blogger Jeff Rients said...

"And Transformers is better than MASK because Transformers had Dinobots."

Even Spock can't serve up logic this flawless.

9/08/2006 9:20 AM


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