Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > CR Reviews

DNAgents Industrial Strength Edition
posted January 6, 2009

imageCreators: Mark Evanier, Will Meugniot, Al Gordon, Willie Blyberg, Dan Spiegle, Mike Royer, Steve Mitchell, Gerald Forton
Publishing Information: Image Comics, softcover, 452 pages, 2008, $24.99
Ordering Numbers: 1582409692 (ISBN10), 9781582409696 (ISBN13)

This is one of those books where I'm more curious about it as a publishing project than I am for the content between the covers. Surely one can find color copies of the original comics for $1.50 or less a copy if the title or its concepts interest you. It's also being published at a time when the comics it most obviously influenced -- the Image comics like Gen 13 that combined teen superhero narratives with a more "adult," cheesecake-driven approach to art and a teen movie take on the sexuality of its characters -- seem on the relative outs right now with the reading public. The content is above average 1980s superhero work, clever but not groundbreaking, featuring reasonably solid figure drawing in service of a specific kind of pre-Internet type staring at half-clothed fantasy good girls. I find the storytelling to be frequently cluttered, and the plots never rise above a kind of broad-shouldered, sturdy serviceability. In the onslaught of superhero titles in which it was initially published, picking up DNAgents was sort of like getting a peanut butter and banana sandwich when 90 percent of what was available was straight-up peanut butter. A far cry from a Reuben, but still: bananas! Now, as a potential library book and on the shelves with a much greater variety of material in a landscape that favors trades that have to convince you they're worth a big purchase over serial storytelling publications that only have to trick you into little ones, the modesty of the non-modest work in this Industrial Strength Edition seems to be hoping enough people out there have an honest predilection for peanut butter.