Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Color Artists: Mike Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso
OK, so…yeah…I had no idea what to expect when this comic landed on my pull-list. It is not the storyline that I remember from the Secret Wars edition. But maybe that is ok. Because I completely forgot about it the moment I opened the issue and saw the artwork. Just drop-dead gorgeous. Maybe not for everyone. It’s one of those styles that you have to get your head wrapped around. It reminds me very much of the Esad Ribic stuff in the Mighty Thor run a few years ago. The most amazing thing is the focal diffusion, an effect that I have no idea how the artists managed to pull off in a comic. The effect makes some of the panels appear as if you are viewing them through a camera lens; things in really tight or really far are slightly out of focus, while things at the focal-point range of the lens are in focus. Just amazing.
In this issue the trio of heroes encounter one of the two primary combatant leaders in the Weird War; the queen who is the enemy of Morgan Le Fey. While initially not interested in supporting the trio, the queen eventually dispatches a loyal dog-soldier to accompany the trio over the mountains to get word to a possible ally as her Man-Thing army begins to fall to Le Fey’s lava-based warriors.
The story is good. Not amazing. It has a feel that is very similar to the Nightcrawler limited series of the late 80s. So much so that I almost expected to see a reference to a frumious bandersnitch (or bandersnatch) at any moment. What is certain is that the style has a very definite adventure comic feel to it, and it spares no horses in rendering thrills. Once the battle starts, the adrenaline is up every other panel, as huge monsters, plane crashes, and thrilling escapes pepper the plot all the way to the issue finale. Good stuff and welcome material for any fan of swashbuckling. Though this adventure also has a softer and more compassionate feel. The lines from the queen on war and its meaning and relevance to Weird World are some of the most poignant lines from a military leader and fighter for the sovereignty of a nation-state against an imperial evil that I have heard.
Del Mundo just kills it on art. It’s a bit Sienkiwicz. I need to look back and see if Del Mundo was on that last Elektra run, because it seems similar to that as well. Panel work is not supremely innovative, but with the amazing detail and colors in this work, I would not expect them to be. Not enough time, and crazy panels might just distract from the beauty of the art on display. A perfect kind of work to simply display in rectangular straight-up horizontal panels, which is the primary approach. If you are a lover of comic book art, sometime this year, you need to check out at least one issue of this work.
This book more than any other is likely to do this week left me sad that Charles Soule’s Star Wars: Poe Dameron took the last slot in my recurring pull-list roster last week. If you wanted blend of Alice in Wonderland + Elektra + New Mutants, this is it. A gorgeous book wrapped around a solid core story…there is not much more you could ask for. Sure, it’s off-path from primary Marvel continuity, but in an age where I could not define what “marvel Continuity” is, it is worth dropping off all the costumes and capes fare and making some room for this title. Bravo indeed.