Life is an adventure as they say, so what better way to enjoy it than with a high adventure story? Image Comics has a new adventure series on their hands, set in the year 1938. Comparatively speaking, it’s a similar series to IDW’s Half Past Danger, partly because of the adventure but also because the protagonists are a team of folks riding around in a submarine. There’s far less Nazis in this new series, though. Is it good?
The Mercenary Sea #1 (Image Comics)
This series is about American mercenaries who have themselves a slick submarine to float around the Pacific looking for work. They all have varying backgrounds, but they have one thing in common: they’re all running away from something. This issue sets up the characters and their general outlook on life and remains rather light. All ages can enjoy this, as there’s an Indiana Jones feel to it all. Sure, they’re dealing with cannibals, but these cannibals love the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup, for instance. The ante is upped in the wonderment category when one of the characters decides to seek out a magical island of dinosaurs and monsters, and a major amount of money to make. This is all with the Chinese and Japanese at each other’s throats mind you, so it’s no cakewalk for this team even when they aren’t on a mission. That all goes a long way in creating some compelling dynamics with adequate amount of pressure on our heroes.
All of that is rendered pointless however, at least when you first open the book, because the art is so polarizing and different you’ll be more concerned with that than with the story. I loved it personally, but it may not be your cup of tea. Artist Mathew Reynolds utilizes a digital style that’s obviously rendered in a computer. This is somewhat obvious when you take a look at how the figures, background and even the gun in the protagonists’ holsters all look to be created separately and dropped in. Reynolds also uses a lot of fuzzy focus to bring attention to certain aspects which gives the book a filmmaker quality. It goes a long way to imbue the pages with a sense of otherworldliness.
An animated look.
Reynolds also uses color incredibly well, with each sequence colored differently to set them apart. The night time jungle is colored in a light blue, moonlit look, while the local club/whore house uses a lot of reds. This all creates a sense of mood and atmosphere that’s always changing which in part increases the value of the book. Every scene feels different and worthy of your time.
Dig the focus!
Is It Good?
This is a great read and an even greater introduction to the premise and characters. You’ll slowly be dragged in with the dialogue and character dynamics and then coldcocked by the uniquely striking art.