Shadowline/Image Comics 2015
Created, Written & Lettered by Ed Brisson
Created & Illustrated by Brian Level
Coloured by Jordan Boyd
I do like the originality of this book a great deal. The Mantle is more than a name here its a legacy and one that doesn’t end well for the one who has it. Can Jen stop the vicious cycle that’s been happening even after watching her boyfriend die and being extremely scared by it all? That’s the big question really will Jen be the Mantle for some time to come or will she succumb to the Plague like so many before her?
Ed and Brian have created this wonderful concept here though we have explored a bit of the Mantle’s past we still aren’t sure just what it is or why it came to Earth and gave the first person this immense power. Learning that the Mantle did attract the Plague and that for some reason they are consistently at odds and the Plague killing each person possessing the Mantle will need further exploration but for now this story really is one where Jen has to come to terms with her life, all that’s happened and accepting the responsibility that comes along with the Mantle. That character growth is being handled extremely well as this issue takes a huge focus on that.
Jen’s left the group trying to protect her and has gone home once again trying to live a normal life but it’s very quick that this isn’t going to happen. Her friends while sorry about Robbie really want answers and explanations about what went down and Jen just wants to try to put it all behind her. What she does next fits right into what we saw in the first issue though this isn’t for recreational purposes but to escape everything that she’s been through for at least a bit.
Jen’s leaving has dealt a blow to those who rescued her and the Plague has found them has delivered an even larger blow as CCTV pays the ultimate price. This tears the team apart as one decides she can’t handle this anymore and the remaining two go off after Jen in the hopes of convincing her to join them.
Jen however thanks the Mushrooms she purchased has something of an epiphany herself while under their influence. I like this encounter really because it’s cute, serious and all kinds of her own fears talking to herself laying everything out on the line for her. Ed really manages to get to the heart of how she feels and what her current situation really is and that fear while healthy has to be put aside and she needs to rise up to the challenge.
The way this issue ends sets up the big fight for next issue between the Plague and Jen for the future of the Mantle and what comes next in this world.
Brian and Jordan bring this to life beautifully. I mean from the normal everyday people that are Jen’s friends to the heroes that have banded together to that wild encounter with her own subconscious the demonstrate this delightful range of work that really is impressive. There’s so much life and emotion coming off the pages that it really helps tell more of the story than just the words alone and that makes this a truly better than average read.