Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I Reads You Review: NO MERCY #1

IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

WRITER: Alex de Campi – @alexdecampi
ARTIST: Carla Speed McNeil – @CSpeedMcNeil
COLORS: Jenn Manley Lee – @jemale
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (April 2015)

Rated T+ / Teen Plus

No Mercy is a new comic book series from writer Alex de Campi and artist Carla Speed McNeil (Finder).  The series focuses on a group of stranded American teenagers who must navigate the hostile landscape of a foreign country if they are to survive.

In No Mercy #1, it all begins with an arrival at an airport in the Latin American country of Mataguey.  A group of incoming freshmen at Princeton have traveled to the country to build schools in a Central American village.  Princeton Summer Service is a trip before college that allows some of the students to get to know other freshmen, while doing something good.  Then tragedy strikes, and because help is unlikely to come, these privileged students will have to help themselves.

The one thing that immediately stands out about No Mercy is Carla Speed McNeil's art.  When I first met her in college – ages ago, I thought she had a bright future in front of her.  That has come to pass, as she has even won an Eisner for her work on Finder, a long-running comic book and sometimes webcomic that I heartily recommend.  She always seems to find a way to draw each character as a unique individual creation – not just in appearance, but also in visible personality.  This gives her work an earthy and inviting quality.

In No Mercy, McNeil's art is combined with the gorgeous coloring of Jenn Manley Lee, with whom I am unfamiliar.  Lee's striking hues and McNeil's compositions remind me of the color comics of the late and legendary Moebius.  Since I loved me some Moebius, I want more of this McNeil-Lee joint.

It is obvious from the beginning that Alex de Campi is composing a merciless story in which merciless people and a pitiless environment will torment a band of clueless kids.  The biggest difficulty that many of this young adults have faced is probably typical family drama and conflict.  Now, they are in a country where the obligation to observe their privilege does not exist.  Personally, I'd like to see this story work through the eyes of one particular character.  While I do have my favorite, there are some others that have the potential to carry the readers through this land of No Mercy.

Granted that I am partial to McNeil, I think this is a comic book worth following.

[This comic book contains a preview of “Mythic #1 by Phil Hester and John McCrea.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux on Patreon.

The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.

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