Review: The Mercenary Sea #2

Ending an issue with a double cross is always good in my book. Why? Because it’s pretty impossible to not to come back for the next chapter and see the conclusion; in the last issue that’s exactly where Jack and crew were left as the job Jarreau found for them turned out to be a set up for the Chinese Admiral to get his hands on Jack. Here’s the thing though… Jack isn’t backing down or even doing the classic “we give up” but then they unleash their back up plan and pull out a victory. Nope, instead Jack let’s Friday (they’re dog) loose on the small ship of Chinese soldiers. They begin shooting chaotically (don’t worry the dog is fine) and this gives Jack the opportunity to open fire. Eventually Jack and the team win. Why? Because they’re experienced, well-trained and have nothing to lose. Jack has to win or he’s dead at the hands of the Admiral and that’s not going to fly with him.

Once again we see the type of man Jack is as he gives the Padre that was forced to set them up, back the money he paid them since most of the medical supplies were ruined in the gun fight. This pisses Jarreau off because that was his pay that was given away and now they’re ship is in need of expensive repairs and they need another job like yesterday.

MercenarySea_02They dock back at South Haven and wouldn’t you know it old one eye Mr. Taylor is waiting with open arms for them. Reluctantly Jack agrees to listen to their plans as he and Renner meet with him and his other spy guys. There’s a great scene with a character called Commander Graham as Renner corrects him on terminology which only makes them more suspicious of the job; in the end though they take it because their hands are tied.

This was another solid issue, but it excels in one area that the first issue didn’t have the opportunity to… character development. I like Jack, but I really like his crew and getting to spend more time with them and see their personalities was great. There’s a scene with Renner in this issue in which he’s pointing a gun at the Chinese soldiers that have given up and are floating in the water. Jack tells him that they’ve given up as if he knows that Renner isn’t afraid to just finish them off once and for all. Instead he kill shots two sharks that were going to attack the men.

Kel Symons continues to make this world realistic and interesting. There was a sense of fantasy in the first issue that isn’t present in this issue, but it’s still very strong without it. In a lot of ways it feels like commentary on the U.S.’s involvement in WWII as Jack and crew don’t want anything to do with it (at least from the point of view of the citizens), but are pulled in after their hands are tied. I could be wrong, but it works either way.

Mathew Reynolds artwork continues to be amazing in this issue. He doesn’t miss a beat with the second issue. Granted there weren’t as many opportunities for him to carry the story artistically this issue, but some of the panels he illustrated were fantastic. There’s a page in which Jack calls for Friday and she jumps off the ship. It’s so realistic and very cinematic the way that Reynolds presents it that a dog jumping into water is entertaining.

Something I didn’t to touch on in my first review was the coloring. The coloring really is the strongest factor in making the art look animated. I wish I knew a better way to describe it, but really the vibrant colors make it look like the American version of a Studio Ghilbi film. I love the colors used for everyone’s skin tones as it’s very realistic and isn’t just a paint by nationality style. There are slight differences for everyone which keeps each of the characters feeling realistic.

I’m impressed with this series. It’s quickly become one of my favorites and one of the first that I read upon its release. I don’t know what it is exactly about the story, but I’m definitely enjoying it and can’t wait for more adventures with Jack and the crew. The next chapter looks to be very different from this issue which is great since the first two are very different from each other in terms of set up and pacing. It makes for a great read and itches that need for classic action adventure stories.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Kel Symons Artist: Mathew Reynolds Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 2/12/14