It's somewhere between From Russia With Love and Goldfinger that the Bond films begin to deviate from their basic super-spy roots to over-the-top camp. That's not a bad thing, per se. Both Goldfinger and Thunderball are fine movies in their own right, but they drove the franchise to a slippery slope that it never quite recovered from. Then again, they've since made countless sequels that keep packing 'em in at the box office, so what do I know.
I bring this up because it's what was on my mind when I was reading Jeff Parker's THE INTERMAN. It's a super-spy story that features a real super-spy – a genetically enhanced agent that has the ability to physically adapt to his environment. Despite the fact that he's empowered, though, it has the same feel as those early Bond films. It's drenched in character, dressed in exotic locales, and submerged in the machinations of the spy trade; the perfect ingredients for any super-spy story worth its salt.
The Interman in question is a freelancer by the name of Van Meach who was created at the height of the Cold War by a five-country commission to combat the growing Soviet threat. It's now decades later, the Cold War has ended, and Meach has grown to manhood where he rents his services out to wealthy and corporate clients. During a routine audit, Meach's existence is discovered by the CIA and they gather their old international allies together with the goal of eliminating Meach under the belief that he's a threat to world security, putting in motion an adventure that spans fives continents.
Like the original Bond films, what makes THE INTERMAN really click is the charisma of the feature characters, which goes a long way towards Parker's skills as a storyteller. However, unlike Bond, we're dealing with a younger protagonist who is much more akin to Jason Bourne (more so the movie, then the book), which adds a welcome humanist side to the classic spy adventure story. THE INTERMAN is a very, very dense graphic novel – far more then its 128 pages would suggest – and in full color, making it one of the more exciting productions among today's new breed of independent comics.
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.