Monday, July 14, 2014

Not Really Off-Topic: Mercy Sparx Volume 1

One great thing about comic book conventions is you often find these lesser-known comic book publishers who have some good offerings. The sad truth is that MOST of this independent work is just awful, and only a few rise to the same level as the mainstream publishers. People can complain about mainstream all they want, but the truth of the matter is, is that most of the indy stuff never reaches the level of what passes as 'just okay' at Marvel and DC. But every once in a while, you get something that holds up to the big publishers' offerings. And even rarer is the book that exceeds most of what you get from the mainstream publishers.

Mercy Sparx is one of those rare gems that really delivers. The premise is something like the that old television show REAPER, which I rather liked. This demonid-type being, a female named Merx Sparx, is ostensibly hired by heaven to track down and capture angels who have fallen from the heavenly realms to earth. Since she is not technically a true denizen of hell, she is someone Heaven can actually use. But since her powers are demonic, she is an effective tool against these refugees from above.

People may be offended by books and stories like these because the profane and sacred are often confused, and there are places where the lines are crossed too much, and I get an uneasy feeling at those points. But generally speaking, the profane and sacred are not easily disentangled in the world, and books like this explore that fact more effectively than other comics where everything is kept far more nice and neat, like THE SPECTRE. I like that there is still a pretty clear distinction between Heaven and Hell here, and it is cool to see Heaven explored in such a way that it is not exactly what people expect. It isn't all harps and clouds, there is a coldness to it. Now, I don't think Heaven is really like that, but still, it is interesting to explore. I don't fear ideas I disagree with. I explore them out of interest and challenge them where necessary.

That Sparx is under Heaven's control is rather interesting, and it keeps this book from seeming too derivative. This isn't a book told from "hell's perspective", rather it is told from the perspective of a being who is neither truly hellish nor heavenly, though a little more of the former than the latter, and is caught in between the two extremes as they do battle. Anyone familiar with my penchant for apocalyptic thinking and imagery will be able to see why I liked the book. This book is not for children, though. An adult mind with a discerning attitude is needed to get anything thematically rich for the book. I would not recommend it for my youth, but I would recommend it for a friend like Kevin Tones (who has posted comments on this blog from time to time). It would appeal to Christians with a heavy metal personality. Which I guess I am.

Aesthetically this book has it going on. The pacing is superb and the dialogue is excellent and flows naturally. Far more naturally than, say, the indy book NIGHTMARE PRO WRESTLING, which I reviewed a few months ago, and which I liked, but not as much as this book. The storyline isn't totally original, though it takes some new twists and turns, and some of the fight scenes are a little repetitive, though I still have much to get through in the second volume. So far the book avoids a kind of 'villain of the week' approach which the story is vulnerable to, and I like the way it moves. All in all, I recommend this book for the right kind of reader.

My overall review is as follows:
Storyline: 3.5 Stars
Dialogue: 4 Stars
Pacing: 4 Stars
Art: 3.5 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

1 comment:

  1. Josh, when does the bible study start tonight? 6 or 6:30? Thanks!