Agent Elvis Review: Finally a Cool Elvis

Elvis, acting as a vigilante, kicks down the door

I’m halfway through “Agent Elvis” on Netflix, and, dang, the pop culture figure I’d most like to have a conversation with is Priscilla Presley.

Priscilla is listed as a co-creator and executive producer on Agent Elvis, and it’s a really fascinating way to memorialize your dead ex-husband. As the series opens, Elvis is bored with his life making mediocre musical comedies, and he and his psychotic monkey pal are working as vigilantes against early 1970s drug runners.

Elvis is then recruited for a top-secret spy agency run by a deranged Don Cheadle and assisted by a perfectly cast Kaitlin Olsen. The snark and ultra-violence are turned all the way up, kind of like a B-tier Adult Swim show. The closest comparison would be Venture Bros (before it became a hangout show) or Archer (before it also became a hangout show).

It’s classed up by the voice cast and some nice mid-century pop culture references. Elvis’ disdain for Robert Goulet is a nice touch. Elvis vs. Charles Manson is the smackdown you didn’t know you needed.

The show’s best trick is scoring fight scenes to real Elvis songs. My favorite so far is a fight scene set to “Change of Habit,” the theme song to a corny movie where he romances a nun.

It’s not a hagiography – Elvis is impulsive, macho, slightly out of touch – but they leave out the big flaws. We never see him doing prescription drugs, and while he doesn’t spend much time with Lisa Marie, he’s not depicted as the absent father he is in the Elvis movie. He supports Richard Nixon and the war in Vietnam, which is accurate, but he’s willing to change his mind when given new information.   

What’s really notable about “Agent Elvis’” how cool Elvis is. Matthew McConaughey turns in an understated performance, somehow getting a smoldering gaze with just his voice. Elvis is usually a still presence among the chaos of the show. Elvis is off his pop culture prime, but he’s still cooler than the other side of the pillow. He’s dead sexy. And he’s super-good at karate.

This Elvis is funny and flawed, but he’s not a joke. That’s the difference.

Which brings us back to Priscilla. She made a show about a man who charmed her as a teen, married her and broke her heart – then set her up for life. A man who’s been dead nearly 50 years. Is this how she remembers him? We should all be so lucky.


Aw, man. Today I’m mourning the passage of one of the all-time greats, Norm Breyfogle.

(All my comics are in storage right now, so I’m doing this from memory. But here’s the impression BREYFOGLE made on me.)

‘Tec 607, my introduction to BREYFOGLE

This here is the first Batman comic I bought when I got into comix: Detective Comics 607, dated October 1989. It’s the fourth issue of an arc, so I came in at the tail end, but I was still hooked.

My comix habit started with three series: Batman (Aparo), Detective Comics, and the Shadow Strikes! (Eduardo Barretto – also RIP). Barretto struck me as the best artist – Aparo seemed a little square, and I wouldn’t really appreciate him until later. But ‘Tec, with Alan Grant writing and BREYFOGLE on art, was this little pocket of weirdness in the Batverse.

BREYFOGLE’S Batman didn’t have the confident athleticism of Garcia-Lopez, who I always associate with Batman consumer products, and he wasn’t as abstract Image-inspired artists like Jim Lee. He knew his anatomy, but he wasn’t a draftsman quite like Aparo.

BREYFOGLE’S art was fluid. BREYFOGLE’S Batman twisted around gargoyles or stood as imposing as a monolith. Sometimes he was abstract – just the outline of his white eyes, bat-ears and bat-eyebrows, and a scowl.

Other times, BREYFOGLE’S Batman was all too solid, folding over a kick or knocked halfway across the page by some lucky punk with a lead pipe. His Batman was truly grief-stricken whenever an innocent was hurt. BREYFOGLE’S Batman suffered.

I don’t think anyone did body language as well as he did. When I try to draw a dynamic pose, BREYFOGLE is who I try to channel. Here’s Tim Drake in the vest and booties, getting ready to do some business:

Tim Drake is mad

And no one, ever, did a better look of shock than BREYFOGLE.




Tony vs. Star Wars 9

OK, OK, they’re not going to call me to write Star Wars 9. But if they do … I could not stop myself from doing an extended treatment for the next movie.

I’m tying up plot points from the trilogy while leaning heavily into the F&*K Yeah! moments. Read my treatment to see Rey develop the power of God, the funeral of Leia, Poe’s massive gun, The Knights of Ren bullying Gen. Hux, Finn among the troops and #WookieHugs. I’ll be tweeting my favorite moments over the next few days.

Read my Star Wars 9 Treatment (.pdf)

Here are my entry points for the story:

  1. Kylo Ren can conquer the galaxy, but he has no interest in actually running it. This opens him up to all kinds of grifters and con men.
  2. Rey wants to be a hero, but she’s afraid of becoming a monster. Kylo wants her to be a monster with him, and he’ll make her kill people until he turns her. There’s your personal conflict.
  3. The big questions, denouement-wise, are A) Whether Kylo gets a redemption and B) Whether Rey has to kill him herself. Stay tuned.
  4. Finn started out fleeing the First Order, but now he’s a committed soldier. He’s the avatar for every faceless Alliance fighter who died so Luke could finally have a heart-to-heart with his dad.
  5. Poe is trying to be the leader Leia saw in him while retaining his dashing fighter pilot vibe.

A few more assumptions:

  • The Last Jedi was an awesome movie.
  • Kylo wants Rey with him. It’s unhealthy but not necessarily sexual – he can’t articulate what he wants. His self-awareness is pretty limited. His strategy is to force her to kill a lot of people until she turns to the dark side.
  • Both the Resistance and the First Order are battered. The Resistance is depleted and never had the industrial base the Alliance had. The First Order is overextended and it does not have the manpower to run its massive ships or control systems.
  • The danger of Kylo isn’t that he’ll conquer the galaxy, but that he’ll burn it down. The galaxy is splitting from a peaceful order to a mess of competing systems. This is all background, though.
  • The Republic funded the Resistance as a proxy militia, but never intended to fight the First Order directly. As the show begins, the Republic is still in chaos and trying to keep systems from seceding and going to war with each other.
  • I’m basically punting on the ‘ships between Rey/Finn, Finn/Rose and Poe/*.

New characters

  • Ashenden – leader of the Resistance Commandos. He is an aristocratic type, dashing and daring. In any other movie, he’d be the hero.
  • Kear Alroy – a civilian leader for the First Order, a very effective administrator, but also corrupt and greedy. Picture an anti-Leia – she has Leia’s drive and sardonic wit, but none of her nobility.
  • The Commodore – one of the highest-ranking officers left in the Republic. An old friend of Poe’s, but there’s not much he can do to help the Resistance.

Read my Star Wars 9 Treatment (.pdf)