Review: The DNAgents #1

The DNAgents #1 cover
Cover by Will Meugniot and Al Gordon

The DNAgents #1
Published by Eclipse and © Mark Evanier and Will Meugniot, March 1983

Title: “Born Orphans”
Synopsis: Five artificial teens with superpowers are created as corporate assets – but may prove to have minds of their own!

Writer: Mark Evanier
Penciler: Will Meugniot
Inker: Al Gordon

Review: DNAgents #1 offers echoes of Bronze Age Kirby, which makes sense given co-creator Mark Evanier’s history as an assistant to that legendary creator. But Evanier’s tale isn’t blessed with the King’s prescient futurism or cosmic-scaled concepts. Without such next-level vision, this series debut has a hard time transcending its occasionally clunky dialogue and less-than-subtle characterization. It also gets little lift from artist Will Meugniot; his work is serviceable but lacks both power and grace. The DNAgents may eventually grow into a contender, but this first issue is forgettable fare.

Grade: C+

Second opinion: “DNAgents #1 has a lot going against it. … (But) this issue has one all-important thing in its favor: it is charged with a raw, pervading enthusiasm that cannot be denied.” – Kevin McConnell, Amazing Heroes #26, July 1 1983

Cool factor: Creator-owned superhero from a growing indie publisher …
Not-so-cool factor: … that could be mistaken for a middle-of-the-pack book from the Big Two.

Notable: First appearance of the DNAgents.

Character quotable: “We’re a whole lot better than human and we’ve got to remember that!” – Surge, who claims overconfidence isn’t a problem
A word from the co-creator/writer: “I write loads of comic books and cartoon shows and TV programs. But of all the things I do, this comic may well be the most rewarding.” – Mark Evanier, talking about The DNAgents, in introductory essay in this issue

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Sequential Reaction (Vol. 1) on Jan. 15, 2016.

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