By Alex de Campi, Tony Parker, and Blond
Russian spies infiltrating the US and driving the FBI crazy; no it’s not the latest newspaper headline, it’s the new trade paperback Mayday from Image. This book makes being a KGB and GRU operative sexy and fun, even though we maybe should be rooting for the FBI. Anyways, this book is a raucous romp through 70’s heightened red scare state of the union, with lots of groovy hippies among plenty of suits. Each picturesque scene of the Eastern coast is captioned perfectly with a song, giving the readers a ready-made soundtrack to accompany this trade. This story from de Campi is a nice groovy, sexy, seductive spy drama that enthralls readers from the initials pages and leaves you begging for more.
After reading Mayday you really feel completely seduced and enticed by the book as a whole. There is something about the complete package of the story from de Campi featuring the two disposable and initially unlikeable Russian agents of Rose and Felix. The two agents wind up in an impossible situation where they assassinate a Russian informant and, while on the run, wind up in a hippie drug/sex fest (as one does in the ’70s) and get robbed by the same hippies. They then have to evade capture from the FBI while also getting to know one another a little, and maybe even start to care about one another. Meanwhile, we have Jack the young, eager FBI agent who is working the case alongside his mentor, Virgil, who is the quintessential “getting too old for this shit” FBI agent.
Maybe it’s just the hippie, drug fueled psychedelic scene we get after Felix and Rose take some vodka laced with hallucinogenics, but this book is trippy. Art from Parker, with colors from Blond, and letters from di Campi, is balls to the walls from start to finish, completely keeping pace with the story. The outrageous escapades of these heartless Russian mercenaries looks like a teenage rom-com mixed with bullets and blood as Felix and Rose run away from the FBI to gorgeous landscapes and beautiful panel layouts. The art is so intimate throughout this book; there are many moments through the use of perspective and color that really make this book give you more feels than you thought possible.
The best thing about the Mayday trade may be that this book takes the readers through the first arc (the first five issues) and it tells a complete story. One thing that really stands out from this trade is that the Russian mercenaries, Rose and Felix, begin the first few issues as not very sympathetic and by the last few pages the readers are completely rooting for them. Whether or not this was intentional or just where the story led the writer, it is remarkable that the artistic and story telling shift the book takes as we learn more about Felix and Rose, understand what is at stake, if they fail in any way, Russia will kill their family. Given the current political landscape with Russia once again all up in America’s business, this title may seem risky, but that is also the appeal of this. It hits close to home, and gives the sympathetic hero role to the unlikely Russian agents.
Good books are hard to come by, but Mayday is a must-read for anyone who appreciates spy dramas, romance, and good old-fashioned ’70s red scare stories. Behind all that is a great story that unfolds in ways that will leave even seasoned comic readers surprised. The true beauty of this book lies in the characters, everything from their look, design, dialogue, and story is utterly charming and takes the reader to places uncharted. This sleek, sexy spa drama takes would-be bad guys and turns them into a totally ship-worthy couple. This trade is really good, like forget about binge watching the latest Netflix show and spend an hour reading it good. The art and story have a nice flow throughout the book that leaves the reader through a really complex story that dives deeper than good guys and bad guys and gives us real characters.