Panelology is a weekly podcast about comics. We talk about current books, what we're looking forward to, and how to get into reading comics in the first place.

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.: “This Is What They Want” (Marvel Comics, 2006; #1-6)

What if Warren Ellis wrote a super-funny comic that bordered on self-parody?

Trick question.  He already has, and it is called Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

Nextwave follows a team of very popular* characters (including Elsa Bloodstone, Machine Man, Monica Rambeau, Boom-Boom, and The Captain) as they rebel against the Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort and their new backers, a group of corporate terrorists. They fight The Giant Underpants Lizard**, crooked car-eating cops, and a veritable menagerie of weaponized animals. It’s a strange and wonderful book.

As for the self-parody bit—there are elements of this book that feel like Warren Ellis’s Wildstorm comics. It starts you out in the middle of things. Characters like General Dirk Anger, the Commander of H.A.T.E. and The Captain get no introduction to speak of, as though they were long-established characters. A rag-tag group of rebellious heroes steals a super-advanced airship travels from large-scale fight sequence to large-scale fight sequence. Of course, Angela Spica probably never called her non-robotic companions, “Fleshy One,” as a form of address. But this is much funnier than Wildstorm books I have read.

The Nextwave art team kills it. Immonen and Von Grabadger’s lines are detailed and stylized. The bigger and more over-the-top a moment is, the more fun they have. And their fight scenes are smooth and joyful—there is no question that the weirdos on the Nextwave team absolutely love stabbing, shooting, and exploding things. McCaig and Mounts’s colors are bright and cartoony, helping keep the excessiveness of the book squarely in the comedy column.

I adore this book. Nextwave may be the funniest Marvel title I have ever read. Each issue continues to out-bonkers the last, and I’m only halfway through the series. If you have ever enjoyed a superhero comedy book, you should pick Nextwave up.

*I am being lovingly facetious.

**A.K.A. Fin Fang Foom, but c’mon...Giant Underpants Lizard.

Collected in

  • Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E., Vol. 1: This Is What They Want (#1-6)
  • Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.: The Complete Collection (#1-12)


Writer: Warren Ellis | Artist: Stuart Immonen | Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger | Colorists: Dave McCaig with Paul Mounts | Letterers: Chris Eliopoulos & VC’s Joe Caramagna | Assistant Editor: Sean Ryan | Consulting Editor: Make Marts | Editor: Nick Lowe

Birthright: Call to Adventure (Image Comics, 2014; #6-10)

Batman (DC Comics, 1940; #582-586)