This comic about a team of orphans assembled and trained to be a superspy outfit is a mash up of influences and execution styles. The set-up is simple, at its heart, and yet nuanced intricacies are woven through it. The art is easy and yet a whole bag of fun. The story is just the start but there are nuggets of more if you’re open to seeing them. This is a decent debut issue that bodes well for the book's future.
None of these characters are established, so Wiebe does one of the smartest things he can to help us: he names his characters lots in this issue. The namedropping never feels forced, which is the best part. By the final page, you’ve got a firm understanding of who these people are and what roles they fill. Each of them is distinctly different to the others. When assembling a team there’s always the trap of running the cliché tropes; This comic toes that line effectively.
The action in this issue is pretty wild. There’s a retro-pulpy, and yet thin, science that keeps the pages turning with glee and ease. This comic reads simply and that familiarity makes you instantly settle in to enjoy the show. This isn’t an exact reference of any other spy fiction because the little things are blended with others to create something new, even though it feels familiar. It’s not quite Bond and not quite the “Umbrella Academy” and yet it operates in that sphere of the world somewhere around or above those examples.
The best part of this issue is some of the stuff you don’t really see. The premise is that a man, Dante, is saving all of these recruits. The first one, Crystal, only wanted to feel special, but that is diluted with each addition to the roster. By the way she speaks, it seems she barely tolerates her white knight now and the tension is sizzling and surely going to flow over. When that happens, you get the feeling this whole status quo is going to be shot.
The art combination from Scott Kowalchuk and Justin Scott makes this comic feel like a childhood treat. You’ve got cybernetic bears alongside jetpack killer girls and Harvard nerds with massive grudges. It’s quirky and cool and yet still primarily working on telling the story. The page of Crystal versus the bear is not only perfectly simple and great storytelling but it is a bad ass moment. There are shades of “Casanova” in the simplicity and use of white space to tell you what’s not there. Scott colors the scenes to help guide you through timelines and it’s completely effective.
“The Intrepids” might not be a perfect comic but it’s got the making to be one of your favourites. Pulpy spy-fu action that feels timeless will suck you in and the Death Baboon Squad at the end will solidify your interest. This comic will delight with the sort of ideas meant to melt your smiling face, but it will also break your heart as it descends into a superspy crucible of personal drama and emotion. This is a sheer delight full of deep characterization, explosive action, and all the kinds of things only comics do best.