Reading The Interman it’s easy to see how Jeff Parker would progress to writing mainstream comics. He turns out an impeccably plotted spy thriller wistfully recalling the classic newspaper adventure strips in their pomp while nodding to Jonny Quest, both of which scattered their thrillers across the globe.

The roots of the story are in the 1960s and a CIA funded project to create a soldier capable of surviving a nuclear war. It involved genetically manipulating a fetus, theoretically enabling it to assume animal characteristics discarded during the normal gestation period. After a single experiment the work was terminated. Twenty years later the man who initiated the project begins to clear up loose ends, and adventurer Van Meach finds himself the target of assassination attempts.

Meach is a likeable lead character, if not the innocent abroad, then certainly the adaptable everyman rather than the confident superspy, and Parker excels in ensuring that hardly any member of supporting cast is introduced lacking a purpose. An indication of his well-conceived plotting is the incident that sparks much of what follows. A likeable accountant is charged with reducing military budgets. Diligent in his task, he follows paper trails never committed to computer files, then delivers his findings.

Parker also draws the story, and while acceptable, his art doesn’t match his writing. Doug Wildey is a clear influence, but Parker’s people often resemble those drawn by Paul Pope, and that’s an awkward combination. Artistically, Parker doesn’t approach the skill of his influences. His storytelling is excellent, though, and that’s what counts here. The Interman was set up for sequels, but the way Parker’s career progressed they never arrived.