Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Archaia

Reviewed by Marc Mason

Digging into the massive pile of Archaia books I brought home from SDCC. I’ll be sending their P.R. chief Mel Caylo my massage therapist bill…

Have you noticed the recent brouhaha about DC almost entirely shutting out female characters and creators in their new 52? Do you wonder if there’s anything, excepting manga, for a younger female reader on the shelves? How about comics that feature non-white leads aimed at those young girl readers? Then look no farther- MIRANDA MERCURY is here to rescue you from the “no girls allowed in the treehouse” feeling you get from the bigger comics companies. Young miss Mercury is labeled as a “science hero”, and she most certainly is- she’s smart, using her intelligence to outwit her foes. But she’s also an action hero, dashing across the universe to battle nasty aliens, terrorists, and other assorted bad guys. She does so in an extremely cool spaceship and with the help of her best friend and sidekick Jack. Writer Brandon Thomas and artist Lee Ferguson have come together to create a marvelous heroine in Miranda, one that readers can identify with and emulate. She’s brave, honest, and moral, yet she has her own flaws that keep her from being perfect. The world she inhabits is colorful and interesting. The stories are fun and present their own unique challenges for both the character and the reader. In short: I was head over heels for this book. Can’t wait to put it in the hands of a fifteen-year old girl.

I had mixed reactions to BLEEDOUT, which sets up the backstory to the MMPO game. Writer Mike Kennedy works with a ton of terrific artists to present chapters focused on the major players in the game’s universe. Howard Chaykin, Glenn Fabry, Ben Templesmith… the quality of artistic talent here is first rate, and the book looks spectacular. And to Kennedy’s credit, his work in creating a vivid backdrop to the greater tale is strong. The basic idea is that the world oil reserve dries up in the span of less than a year, creating anarchy and new societal rules and structures. It makes for a good horror story, that much is certain. The characters now in charge are quite intriguing, and I can see why it would entice people to play the game. Now for the problem- this book, while extremely attractive and reasonably full of ideas and concepts that capture your eye, really has no story. In fact, there are interstitials about a character named Pilot (as well as his wife) that aren’t addressed at all. This may be something you are supposed to figure out by playing the game, but that adds to the feeling that this is really just a classy advertisement. I’d have liked to see a more complete narrative here so that it felt a bit more like a genuine graphic novel. Your mileage may vary.


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