REVIEW: Agents of P.A.C.T #1

Did you know that Canada had a superhero team other than Alpha Flight? Nope, me neither.  Still, the timing of this new team book from Chapterhouse is somewhat fortuitous being as the Flight are now space station bound, with their focus on the dangers within and without our piece of the universe.

P.A.C.T is a group that is led by the directorship of the heroine who used to be know a Fleur De Lys, now in her civilian identity of Manon Deschamps.  Her goal is to hand select a bunch of costumes to protect the world from superhuman and extra-terrestrial breaches that are seemingly on the rise.  Of course, this wouldn’t even be an issue if Captain Canuck hadn’t decided to walkaway and leave Canada unprotected.  In this first issues we are introduced to a number of the recurring characters as well as some of the angst and secrets that along within the dark hidden dangers, lie await for the fledgling team.

Written by Kalman Andrasofszky and Blake Northcott, the pair seem to be aiming for  some cross between Avengers and X-Men.  Unfortunately, on this occasion their targeting needs some practice.  For the most part its basic by the numbers stuff.  First issues can be daunting, especially with lesser known characters.  Still the hook needs to be there to get us the reader involved.  With a pair of writers its hard to say who does what, yet this books feels dramatically different to Northcott’s excellent Fathom book from a couple of weeks back.  The story does look to educate the reader as to the goings on, yet somehow it just doesn’t gel.  In fact, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that secrets that are hinted at are pretty obvious.

Federica Manfredi provides pencils and her own inks, which always get a thumbs up from me.  Manfredi’s art is easy going, not too high brow, not to dynamic, it’s just so……average.  Manfredi tries hard, panel structure for instance, is given a bit of a refresh with odd shaped panels adding to the action pieces.  But other than that, I’m sorry to say, its just there.  What I mean is that the art doesn’t seem connected to the story, as if the characters themselves aren’t part of the goings on.  A couple of times, Manfredi has them looking straight at the reader, with an almost looking down the camera faux par you would expect from bad daytime soap opera  TV.  As such, its a distraction that manages to unhinge the art from the words.  The colors by Caroline Nolasco are as you would expect, although like the art, Nolasco tries to add variance throughout.  The cover by Sonya Anwar is the highlight of the book.

I am not sure what to make of this book.  Team books may well be back in vogue thanks to the Big Two movies franchises that seem intent on throwing more heroes at the screen, than the hero count in a multi-issue crossover storyline.  Looking at the ads in the book, it seems that Chapterhouse have some cool ideas.  I just had hoped for better execution.

Writing – 2.5 Stars
Art – 2.5 Stars
Colors -3 Stars
Cover – 3 Stars

(W) Kalman Andrasofszky, Blake Northcott (A) Federica Manfredi (CA) Sanya Anwar
Publisher: Chapterhouse

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