I really can’t say enough to convince readers to pick up The Mercenary Sea. I’m definitely repeating myself here, but this new “high-adventure” series from Image Comics is one of the most satisfyingly awesome comic series currently being released! Due to the near perfect pairing of Symons' engaging scripts and Reynolds’ immensely impactful art, each new issue continues to be even better than the last.
Symons uses Issue #3 to continue building the mythology of Jack Harper, the crew he has assembled, and the deadly world they live in. Several excellent scenes (including a wonderfully tense sub scene involving the previously mentioned depth charges) help to continue fleshing out character personalities, establish “old” villains, and introduce our lead character’s obsession with “The Legend of Koji Ra.” (We only hear part of the legend, but I think we can count on this being a major plot point further into our voyage.) Symons' writing is as fresh as ever, easily navigating the actions of his ensemble of characters, bringing humor and charm to the story while still pushing the dramatic action further by introducing challenges to the crew’s moral code.
Mathew Reynolds' work on this series is unbelievably good. The power behind Reynolds’ visuals is beyond description and creates an atmosphere and emotional presence to the book that I’ve truly never felt before from another series. Reynolds’ B-movie-influenced cover images are stunning in their own right, but it is really the interior pages (where he dazzles in his depictions of the exotic, exterior settings, the faces and emotions of the characters, and the lighting and color choices he makes) that set Reynolds apart from every other artist in the industry today. I loved every page and panel of art in The Mercenary Sea #3, from the beautiful beams of sunlight cutting through the underwater depths on the first page, to the brilliantly detailed addition of the beads of water on Harper’s periscope viewer, to the dread-inducing haze of the blood red jungle dawn in the final pages of the issue. This book is worth buying for the amazing art alone.
Finally, The Mercenary Sea now has a letter column (complete with contact info for the creative team), sobe sure send them your transmissions immediately. I appreciated hearing that other readers are feeling the Firefly vibe present in The Mercenary Sea, and Symons also provides a character breakdown of the crew with a brief description of their personality, which part of the world they are from, and their position on the boat.
FINAL VERDICT: This book is so pull-list worthy that it probably should just be added by anyone picking up any other Image book at all. If you dig clever writing, great characters, exciting adventures, and stunningly unique artwork, then you have no excuse, my friend! This is one series you simply must pick up!
For more info on The Mercenary Sea, visit the official Image Comics website.
Also, be sure to check out my reviews of the previously released issues of The Mercenary Sea. (Spoiler: They’re just as good!)
‘The Mercenary Sea #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review (You Can’t Take 1938 from Me)
‘The Mercenary Sea #2:’ Advance Comic Book Review (Rough Waters Ahead . . . )
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers! Time to crash dive. Forward planes down 40 degrees.
Sorry . . . Captain’s orders.
’Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer