December 11, 2012

A Near-Perfect Pulp Comic: MASKS # 1

I have been wanting to read this book - quite honestly - since it was first announced at San Diego Comic Con. I was also fortunate to help interview Chris Roberson for Zone 4. So I eagerly awaited this book's release, and was fortunate enough to read Dynamite's Masks # 1.

In short, this is as close to pulp comic perfection as we're going to get, ladies and gentlemen.

Chris Roberson does a really good job not just setting the scene, but also moving things forward at a great clip. He takes some cues from a multi-part Spider story, but does a great job in not only turning this into a multi-character crossover, but gives each character his "time" in the story. (Without spoiling, I like how Roberson "hints" at the modus operandi of the new Zorro). It's the kind of book that warrants rereading, and really hits the right emotional tone for a story like this.

And the art? Alex Ross nails it dead-on; unlike most of his recent work, there is a great liveliness in how he portrays characters in action. (Sadly, he's only doing interiors for issue one). He's given the book a great atmosphere, and hopefully, Dynamite will find an artist who can not only take this book further, but maintain the high standards that Ross has established.

In short, this book is not only enjoyable, but is the kind of work that really hits the tone of classic pulp literature. (And I should know - I periodically proofread Radio Archives' e-books before release, so I can't help but be steeped in the genre).

There's only one thing that keeps it from perfection - we have to wait a month before the next installment.

One of the best comics you'll read all year.

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