Designed to capitalize on this week’s premiere of “Marvel’s Agent Carter” on ABC, Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis’ “Operation S.I.N.” #1 follows the continuing adventures of Peggy Carter through the Cold War and positions her as another proactive female protagonist in Marvel’s rapidly expanding roster of such titles. It’s a well-designed debut full of great art and stylish dialogue, but it doesn’t do much to distinguish itself outside of being a period piece.
Immonen writes Carter as a take-no-guff woman of action, a presence that commands a room when she enters. The back-and-forths between her and a cocksure Howard Stark are a highlight of the book. There is a real chemistry between these two, their personalities bouncing off and complementing one another with ease. Immonen’s dialogue is light and wry, like a great action film. Even the cliffhanger of the issue, which introduces the larger threat that’s likely to drive the remainder of the series, is addressed with a bit of levity.
The story is fine, but the book doesn’t do a whole lot to establish itself as anything more than a fun adventure. That’s not to say this is a bad thing, but there isn’t a wholly unique take on the situation other than a few familiar characters working together in the past. The final scene of the issue could lead it down a completely different path and these words could very well be served back to me on a platter, but the opening issue does a better job of establishing the tone and characters than it does in creating a compelling plot.
Ellis is a great fit for the title, delivering characters that look well-styled and appropriate to the era in which the story takes place. Like his Periscope Studios partner Steve Lieber, Ellis knows how to show a character’s mindset through visuals. His Peggy has recognizable shifts in posture between scenes, her stance more at ease when she is alone and stalk-straight when it’s time to take charge of a situation. Stark’s facial reactions are also a fun highlight, ranging from smug to curious to self-surprising. The page layouts are straightforward but easy to read, and highlight the appropriate action as needed. Jordan Boyd uses the 1950s as the inspiration for his color palette, delivering a combination of earthy tones and bright, bold hues. He especially does a lot of heavy lifting in the final scene, which approaches distraction but doesn’t detract from the visual experience.
This is a fun debut by a solid team that works well together. If Immonen and company can deliver a plot that is as entertaining as the characters, this miniseries will be a very fun ride.