Probably the best part of this series it that it looks like a kick-ass cartoon. The series has successfully captured the pre-World War II era, a time ripe with danger and mystery. Our hodge-podge crew has taken a job they’d prefer not to have as it involves them in the war that is beginning, but they have no choice if they want to maintain their submarine. Their British Intelligence Agent has joined them as they head for their rendezvous to pick up his agent, but they run into trouble as they encounter a Japanese ship. What’s worse is that it’s a ship that they are very familiar with. Wulf even pays the Captain of the ship a compliment by saying that he’s “very good.” That is the charm of this story and the world that it’s set in. Honor and respect are something that people have even for their enemy. The rival captain is even referred to as “Honorable” when his name is given.
Of course they get out of the situation because that would be a crappy issue to just drop the plot line there, but what’s interesting is Jack’s comments. Everything seems to be too easy or too cleared out making him wonder about the mission. What’s worse is that once they arrive to the extraction point… the agent is nowhere to be found.
How can anyone not like this world? It’s like the pinnacle of classic war and adventure stories that were once a staple of the comic industry. This issue is very plot focused so there isn’t any character development per say, but that didn’t make it less thrilling to read. The cat and mouse game between the battleship and sub battle was intense, but not in an overplayed way. The concept is obviously nothing new, but Kel Symons avoids making it typical of the genre. As someone who doesn’t like any story involving a submarine, that’s saying something when I liked the scene.
As interesting as the world is and well-plotted the story, the art is the lynchpin that makes everything spectacular. Mathew Reynolds continues with his dynamic style that looks like a golden era movie poster and a cross with Archer or the many styles that inspired Archer. I really could just gaze upon Reynolds art and be happy. As I said in the beginning it’s like an animation that’s been transferred into a comic book it’s that incredible and detailed looking.
Now that we’ve established that the art is wonderful let’s talk about how brilliant the coloring is. Really it’s the coloring that makes Reynolds art so powerful, but without his solid foundation and distinct pencils the coloring wouldn’t pop as much. The color hues are gorgeous and bring the different scenes and settings alive.
This continues to be a series that you shouldn’t miss. The charm of Image Comics is that everyone has their top books at the company. Frankly I’m kind of tired of them always hogging the spotlight so I hope that people pay attention to The Mercenary Sea, because it deserves the attention.
Writer: Kel Symons Artist/Colorist: Mathew Reynolds Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 4/16/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital