by Ed Brisson, Brian Level & Jordan Boyd
The comic genre is saturated with stories about superheroes and supervillians. Caped heroes are what made comics what they are today. Now with many companies putting out an assortment of genres, comics has moved beyond being pigeon-holed as stories only about superheroes. However, many writers have their own twist on telling a different kind of story used super powered characters to tell their own kind of tale. The Mantle, which debuts from Image this week, is one of those series where creators try to put a spin on super powers in the modern world and how people cope with that revelation.
Robbie and Jen are just a regular couple walking home after a concert when Rob is hit with colorful lighting. Even though he is high on mushrooms, this lighting is no hallucination to Rob. Now it seems like Rob has been gifted with superpowers, but he hardly gets any time to enjoy them. Now carrying the abilities of a hero called The Mantle, Robbie has also adopted The Mantle’s nemesis, The Plague, who has been chasing down and murdering every version of The Mantle that is manifested. Ed Brisson tells a strong first issue with The Mantle that gets right into the action but isn’t rushed. Brisson was mostly known as a letterer but his foray into writing has been very successful. The Mantle continues Brisson’s streak with this strong first issue. Even though the concept of twisting the superhero genre has been done numerous times, there is something refreshing about reading The Mantle. By the time you get to the final page of this issue, you’ll know whether or not you’re on board for the long haul or not.
There are a lot of various art styles that could have been used to tell The Mantle‘s story. Yet, Brian Level’s work on this issue takes you by surprise. Being a relatively new name in comics, Level delivers a gorgeous and cinematic looking debut issue of The Mantle. Using such a realistic style of art to tell The Mantle‘s outlandish tale of super powers, brings a weight to this series. Not to say all of The Mantle looks over serious, Level also salutes the cape genre with his designs of the super powered characters and their abilities. This is also thanks to Jordan Boyd’s wonderful use of color in The Mantle. Boyd balances dark and gritty colors with very bright and vibrant effects that heighten Level’s art. Just the scene of Robbie receiving the Mantle’s powers alone was amazing enough to make The Mantle‘s art stick out.
If you love stories that like to twist the idea of a superhero story, then The Mantle is the perfect series for you. Even if you don’t normally dive into the superpowered genre, The Mantle is still very accessible for a novice reader. This was an excellent first issue that didn’t feel like a first issue. The story unravels naturally and doesn’t feel like forced exposition. Everything reads very fluidly and every page looks striking. If the goal was to immediately intriguing story that gets readers wanting more, than The Mantle won.