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It’s no secret the The Specialists has taken its sweet time getting to the action, but that is not a criticism that can be leveled at Protege, the spy thriller comic from writer Terence Anthony and artist Juan Romera. Someone gets shot right on the first page, and firefights break out with satisfying regularity throughout.
Protege is the story of Coltrane “Trane” Wallace, a veteran agent working for a private intelligence firm. When his partner is killed by the mysterious assassin Allumette, Trane begins an investigation that uncovers an elaborate conspiracy. To say much more would spoil some of the story’s twists, which are genuinely surprising.
Anthony’s writing employs sparse dialogue, reminiscent of hard-boiled detective stories. He lets his characters’ actions speak for themselves. The world-weary action hero who is “too old for this shit” is nothing new, but Anthony avoids cliche by having Trane grapple with real-world consequences of aging.
Romera’s black-and-white artwork is gritty and stark, evoking a world full of shadows and shadowy characters. It suits the mood of the story perfectly and never detracts or distracts from the storytelling.
Protege is violent, with enough head shots, immolations, and compound fractures to earn an “R” rating, and if that didn’t do it, the F-bombs would. But if you’re okay with blood and profanity, give it a look! There are about 120 pages so far, and it updates on Wednesdays.
Also, check out their Kickstarter campaign. Besides the printed version of the comic itself, they’ve got some really cool reward options!