Tuesday, August 8, 2023

#IReadsYou Review: THE AMBASSADORS #1


STORY: Mark Millar
ART: Frank Quitely
COLORS: Frank Quitely with Vincent Deighan
LETTERS: Clem Robins
EDITORIAL: Sarah Unwin
COVER: Frank Quitely
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Gigi Cavenago; Pepe Larraz with Giovanna Niro
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (March 2023)

Rated M / Mature

The Ambassadors created by Mark Millar at Netflix

The Ambassadors is a new comic book miniseries written and created by Mark Millar.  The series focuses on the six people out of eight billion humans who will received super-powers.  Each issue of The Ambassadors will be drawn by a different superstar comic book artist.  The first issue is drawn and colored by Frank Quitely and lettered by Clem Robins.

The Ambassadors #1 opens in Mexico, 1986.  Here, we meet Jamie, a strange fellow with strange powers.  But the real action is in Korea.

There, Doctor Choon-He Chung is imprisoned in Cheongju Women's Correctional Institution.  However, that has not stopped her or her company, “Chung Solutions” (the world's leading authority on bio-engineering and artificial intelligence), from developing a data bank of super-powers.

Now, she is launching her latest venture.  Imagine you could gift super-powers to six people.  In a world of eight billion, whom do you choose?  “Codename Korea” will choose, and ordinary people from around the world will explain why it should be them – why they should be an “Ambassador,” representing their respective countries as superheroes.

THE LOWDOWN:  Thanks to a review copy provided by the Mark Millar division of Netflix, I got to read The Ambassadors #1 early.  It is a treat for which I have been awaiting since the announcement of the series last year.

When writer Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely dropped New X-Men #114 (cover dated: July 2001) on readers, it was like no X-Men comic book anyone had ever seen.  Quitely captured the oddness Morrison's concepts and also conveyed its disruptive nature, relative to prior X-Men comic books.  Quitely also did something that few modern comic book artists do, and that is convey the sense of wonder, of mystery, of discovery, and of super-science fiction the way superhero comic books of the early 1960s did.

Quitely brings wonder, mystery, discovery, and super-sci-fi to The Ambassadors #1.  This entire first issue in a puzzle box of competing interests and subplots, and Quitely lures the readers in with some of his best art.  And now, he also colors his own illustrations, making every panel look like a painting executed in sensuous brushstrokes.

Mark Millar wrote The Ultimates, the definitive Marvel Comics superhero team book of the 21st century.  In The Ambassadors #1, Millar offers something equally ambitious.  Honestly, neither my summary of this first issue nor the one Image Comics provides can convey the wide range of characters, backgrounds, settings, plots, intrigues, etc. The Ambassadors #1 presents.

The promotional material suggests that The Ambassadors is the most ambitious comic book of all time.  If so, I would like to see it become an ongoing series in a way similar to that of core Marvel and DC Comics titles, if for no other reason than that this first issue suggests this series has a deep pre-history.

So, yes, The Ambassadors #1 is fantastic.  And yes, The Ambassadors has potential out the ying-yang.  If The Ultimates, written by Millar and drawn by the great Bryan Hitch, could become the blueprint for a massive cinematic franchise, The Ambassadors #1 certainly has the potential to launch another.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Mark Millar and of big concept superhero comic books will want to read The Ambassadors.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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