Shadowline/Image Comics 2015
Created, Written & Lettered by Ed Brisson
Created & Illustrated by Brian Level
Coloured by Jordan Boyd
Last issue the Mantle passed onto Robbie and a group came to whisk him away to prepare him for the battle that lay ahead. Instead in an attempt the save the girl he loves he went up against the Plague without any training and was killed for his efforts, rather brutally at that. The Mantle didn’t have far to go however to find a new host in Jen, Robbie’s girlfriend.
I’m really digging the concept here, so long as the Plague exists so does the Mantle and as any mantle would be it’s passed on from person to person though there is apparently no rhyme or reason as to gets it next. However the power of the Mantle is the only thing that can defeat the Plague and he’s getting stronger with the death of each person to have that power. It’s a race against time to keep Jen alive while she learns about the past of the Mantle and what it means to have this power.
I have to say that the writing here is really very impressive as Jen freaks out not only because she saw her boyfriend beheaded before her eyes and then receiving the power of the Mantle and without thinking taking Robbie’s headless corpse to a hospital using those powers solely on instinct. Then what happens next blew me away and finally with the band of heroes on the Mantle’s trail to keep now her safe has been done in such a spectacular way. The characterization is surprisingly good and effective with all characters involved and the added humor we get which is unexpected just adds another dimension to the storytelling.
Much to her credit Jen is handling things pretty well she isn’t exactly happy with her current situation but she’s seen and been through enough to know it isn’t a dream or nightmare as the case may be. So here we are with these four oddball heroes on their underground headquarters trying to shield Jen from the Plague and teach her about the responsibility that’s now hers. To say this is intriguing is an understatement because i’ve not seen a hero and their origin done this way before and the cast of meaning well but clearly ineffective heroes trying to help just adds to that. There’s so much promise here and it’s exciting to see it come to life.
Brian and Jordan do some impressive work on the interiors as well. I appreciate the fact that this very much comic book styled art with attention to detail in the characters, Kabrah’s infected arm is a perfect example of that. The fight scene at the hospital was done beautifully and really demonstrated how dangerous the Plague is while keeping it a bloody encounter but not a gory one. The art goes a long way in helping with the characterization as well and that’s really nice to see. This work really helps draw the reader in and keep them involved in the story.
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