Then another invasion of Earth threatens. German intellectuals would now probably write an open letter advising Heath to let murder, looting and mistreatment do nothing, so that the bloodthirsty aliens can quickly reach their goals and a dictated peace can be quickly established.

But keeping still is not Heath Huston’s thing, and so he shoots, stabs and beats his way through various types of aliens, even traveling through time to save his son (and mankind with him) after all. And these are just the first ten issues of the US series “Fear Agent”, which originally contained 31 issues.

Author Rick Remender created the series in 2005 with the two artists Tony Moore and Jerome Opena, who took turns drawing chapters. His stated goal was to create a science fiction story like in the 1950s, when the Cold War was raging and humanity feared invasion and nuclear attack.

Today we are facing similar international upheavals: we are again observing a battle between social systems and the fear of a nuclear attack is more real than it has been for a long time. “Fear Agent” is the comic of the moment.

The Ludwigsburg publishing house Cross Cult shows a good feeling for relevant genre material at the right time and has published the complete series in three stylish hardcover editions as a German licensed edition.

Now the encore appears: In the booklets of the US original edition, short bonus stories were printed in the back part, with which various other comic creators got the opportunity to draw their interpretation of the Fear Agent. These “Tales of the Fear Agent” have now been brought together in all their diversity in the fourth volume.

The 50’s show up in “Fear Agent” not only in the plot, but also in the retro-futuristic designs. You can see in every space suit and every rocket that the creators have studied their Wally Wood, this grand master of classic science fiction comics, extensively.

This is particularly evident in Tales of the Fear Agent, as the short stories add a pulpy quality that was deferred in the main story in favor of the world and time spanning plot.

Heath has to deal with all kinds of giant worms on his jobs, with slimy monster cockroaches, bloodthirsty giant ticks, flesh-eating maggots. And although he’s mainly chasing the fastest possible money (and the next redeeming high), he still does the right thing every now and then.

For example, in one of the stories, Heath chooses not to kill monster spider eggs in his body, instead allowing the eight-legged brood to hatch at the risk of his own life. They may be gross, but they’re kids!

In “A Dirty Job” he is supposed to kill the murderer of a mine owner, but finds out on site that the alien miners have to slave under slave-like conditions and instead joins their anti-capitalist freedom struggle.

The different drawing styles of the volume are also wonderfully diverse. Here, various talents of American indie comics come together.

The aforementioned Spider story was drawn by Italian-born and later naturalized Francesco Francavilla early in his US career in 2006. He’s now one of the most prolific horror artists in the States (e.g. he set zombies on the venerable character Archie in ‘Afterlife with Archie’), and it’s a pleasure to rediscover some of his early work.

“A Dirty Job”, on the other hand, was created by Steve Mannion, who is largely unknown in this country and who has repeatedly inspired me with his super-pulpy “Fearless Dawn” US magazines (most recently even in a crossover with Hellboy).

This densely and pointedly drawn seven-page miniature is his first comic that was also published in Germany. it was about time! This is where the great advantages of the episodic comic come into play: diverse in content, crisp in form.

“Fear Agent” manages the balancing act between humor and thoughtfulness in an exemplary manner and even has cathartic potential for readers who are looking for a temporary distraction from world events.