Orlok, Agent of East-Meg One (pkgd. w/ JD Meg #420) – Arthur Wyatt

4 out of 5

Again a reminder of why rereadings can be worthwhile: when I first experienced these two pre-Apocalypse Day Orlok tales – in which Arthur Wyatt and Jake Lynch have the infamous East Meg agent be a total, awesome bastard in two different deep-cover, double- / triple-crossing operations – I enjoyed them but wasn’t too overly impressed, enjoying the second story (The Rasputin Caper) over the first (Eurozoned).  This time, I very much felt the reverse: Jake Lynch’s heavy, noir-shadowed art on Eurozoned are fantastic, and the way Wyatt piles on twist after twist – as Orlok susses out a traitor – works really well when read altogether, but I completely get why reading it month to month was a stretch.  Meanwhile, the jokier tone of Rasputin ends up feeling out of place after the terse nature of the first story, and Wyatt lightens up his art to match, bringing to mind some Cam Kennedy.  Still, once it’s pretty damn clear that Rasputin is comedy over action, the piling up of Australian nonsense – Tank Girl, Mad Max – is amusing, as is the overall gag of a male Black Widow.

This collection actually make me want to revisit some other Arthur Wyatt stuff – I’ve generally enjoyed his stuff, but not been outright wowed, and Agent of East-Meg One makes me think he might be a writer better experienced in a collected form.