cover image Codename Knockout Vol. 1: The Devil You Say

Codename Knockout Vol. 1: The Devil You Say

Robert Rodi, Louis Small, Jr., Mark Farmer, and Amanda Conner, Vertigo, $19.99 paper (164p) ISBN 9781401227982

When this daffy, cheesecake/beefcake-heavy spy parody (essentially James Bond via ”Modesty Blaise“ via ”Austin Powers“) was serialized in 2001, it didn’t attract much notice. So why reprint it in 2010? Perhaps because one chapter features early artwork by Conner—the only one of the four pencillers here who manages to make the series’ artwork look as whimsical as Rodi’s story. (Co-creator Small, in fact, draws it like a totally straightforward adventure story.) Both Angela Devlin, the lusty secret agent who’s the book’s title character, and her outrageously gay sidekick, Go-Go Fiasco, lose their clothes as often as the plot can arrange it. Well, ”plot,” that’s one way of putting it: Angela discovers that her parents are respectively the leaders of the secret agencies G.O.O.D. and E.V.I.L., and both want her on their side. There are ninjas; there is gunplay; there’s a flashback to how Angela’s parents met cute; there’s information extracted via a ”highly volatile tantric technique.” What there isn’t a lot of is consistency, and the book rarely lives up to the potential wittiness of its premise. (May)