With this latest strip (On a Steel Horse They Ride), I've realized what my problem is with Brent. While I like the strip and think it's amusing, Brent fell flat for me.
It's the glasses. With his permanently-affixed opaque sunglasses, we get no visual confirmation as to what Brent is looking at, and we miss out on visual clues that could more completely convey his emotions.
There are plenty of other cues, so it's not like Kurtz isn't getting his point across, but it could be stronger. I think I can make my point by taking a look at Brent in panel 3, sans mouth:
It doesn't really live up to the words coming out of his mouth; he could be doing anything really. The flat eyebrows work in the fourth panel, when the edge is off his anger, but in the third panel he should really be at extremes with much more angle to the brows, and perhaps even more in the guy's face. Again, I offer another crappy photoshop job to make my point:
Let's compare the full panels:
It's still hampered by the glasses, but it makes a stronger statement, I think.
Update: I just realized I forgot to make the point that ties in with the title of my post -- my other peeve with the glasses is that it makes it hard to portray Brent in a way that makes it absolutely clear that he isn't staring at the guy's forehead. Another reason to put Brent more in the guy's face.