Review – The Mercenary Sea #5 (Image Comics)

TheMercenarySea_05-1Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kel Symons
Artist: Mathew Reynolds
Release Date: 25th June 2014

And we’re back, with another cracking issue featuring everyone’s favourite pacific mercenaries.

This month, we pick up after the words ‘tally ho’, which is always a great start, with Cap’n Harper and his crew hot on the tail of some Japanese soldiers who have taken the local female population along with them as ‘comfort women’ – another case of Symons not only maintaining a pleasing (though distinctly dark) level of historical accuracy, but doing so in a rather deft manner. Feeling marginally responsible for this – and sharing this feeling with new mainstay Evelyn – our mercenaries are scheming to enact a daring assault on said soldiers as soon as they can.

In terms of art, y’all should know the score by now – and if you don’t, it means you’ve not been reading, which raises the question of why, exactly, you’re reading a review of an issue that’s slap bang in the middle of a story arc? Gorgeous contrasts, silhouettes, and a wry sense of humour make up the best moments of this issue – with Reynolds also showcasing a newfound talent for incidental lightning that is really rather lovely.

After the last issue’s minor script hiccups, this issue regains Symon’s distinctively sharp dialogue, and as always, his careful story pacing keeps you on tenterhooks – keeping resolutions coming, whilst throwing up new twists and turns that can’t help but bode well as the series progresses. Given how this issue ends – and Image’s penchant for 6-issue arcs – I can’t help but feel we’re coming to some kind of glorious denouement, and the 25th of July simply can’t come quickly enough. I’d also gladly be proven wrong on that count – if a story of this calibre just keeps going, arcs be damned, I will simply not complain.

I wish, in the interests of sounding balanced, that I could come up with a downside, but having gone over the issue several times, each with an increasingly critical eye, I’m really stumped. Page after page, this book delivers, and the only criticism I can come up with is that there’s just not enough of it – which is barely a criticism at all when you consider that there’s four issues of precisely the same quality to make up for that.

The series as a whole continues to go from strength to strength, with great characters, terrific dialogue and absolutely gorgeous art. There’s nothing I don’t love about The Mercenary Sea, and if you’re a fan of Indy, Firefly, or World War II dramas, you’ll do the same. Get this series on your pull list, immediately.

Rating: 5/5.

The writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24

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