The Mercenary Sea’s opening issue was a pretty enjoyable slice of pulpy adventure, with guns, broads, booze and some punching too boot, decked out in a terrifically bold art style from artist Reynolds. Issue 2 ain’t no different.
Picking up from precisely where we left off – Chinese military, guns, some pointing of said guns also – this issue sees Symons able to get a running start on the story threads that he’s got planned, what with the introduction of the characters out the way.
There’s also a lovely sense of foreboding in one sub-plot in particular, wherein Cap’n Harper and his crew are asked to steal some plans for an ‘aerial torpedo design’ from the Japanese. If historically accurate fiction is your bag, this has got it in spades – some obvious creative license notwithstanding, of course. Then there’s the whole ragtag group of mercenaries on the run from the authorities thing, which appeals to this Firefly fan no end.
The art maintains its established strengths – sharp, bold colours, with linework mostly forgone in favour of contrast and shading, it’s like Quentin Tarantino made a Saturday morning cartoon. The best moments are those crafted in silhouette, which gives the action sequences an almost mythic quality, like it’s being told you by someone who’s remembering it, rather than witnessing it first-hand.
All-in-all, this book looks set to nestle itself into Image’s spate of recent close to essential titles – the art is great, the writing exciting and intelligent, managing to simultaneously keep just enough held back, whilst surging forward at the same time. Let’s hope the upcoming issues live up to this promise.
The writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney